Game Day Notebook: Preds at Pittsburgh

Thursday, 03.22.2012 / 6:36 PM / Features
By Doug Brumley  - Nashville Predators

For the Predators, the return of Alexander Radulov is going swimmingly so far. The 25-year-old is stepping back into the Predators lineup tonight for the first time in almost four years, opting to play at his first opportunity despite a hectic few days that saw him fly from Russia and face a media swarm.

"I really left it up to him," Predators head coach Barry Trotz said about the decision to insert Radulov into the lineup in Pittsburgh. "It wasn't going to be my call. He's had a tremendous amount of things to do in the last four days. He's eight time zones away from where he was. How he's functioning, I have no idea."

Radulov has been all smiles, joking around with teammates and staff on the road trip. Even as early as Tuesday, Trotz has been buoyed by the positive effect that Radulov has had on team captain Shea Weber, alternate captain Ryan Suter and others.

"To me, that’s the most exciting thing," Trotz said Tuesday, "that he’s brought excitement to that core group, which is very good and that just hopefully makes us better."

Meanwhile, for Thursday night's game, Steve Sullivan, who was once a teammate of Radulov's in Nashville, praised the Russian scorer in a video interview shown on the video board inside Consol Energy Center. Sullivan reported that Radulov is a very skilled offensive player who is a particularly dangerous one-on-one threat.

Between the media publicity and Sullivan's knowledge of Radulov, there's no chance of the young Russian surprising the Penguins.


Pittsburgh ties: There's more to this road trip to Pittsburgh than the marquee matchup on the ice. The Nashville Predators have seen a lot of familiar faces in Consol Energy Center Thursday, as the two teams have quite a few ties. The Penguins' sixth-leading scorer is forward Steve Sullivan, who spent five-and-a-third seasons in a Predators uniform. Predators defenseman Hal Gill, meanwhile, won the Stanley Cup with Pittsburgh in 2009. Penguins general manager Ray Shero came to Pittsburgh from Nashville, where he was the Predators' assistant GM from 1998 to 2006. And next door to the Consol Energy Center is what's left of Civic Arena (currently being demolished), which according to Predators TV play-by-play man and hockey historian Pete Weber was the site of the first NHL goal for his broadcast partner, Terry Crisp, on Oct. 17, 1967.


Russian connection: Alexander Radulov was the subject of much media hubbub again today, given his return to game action with the Predators, but he was able to break away from the sizable media scrum to chat one-on-one with friend and fellow countryman Evgeni Malkin. According to Radulov, the two are close.

"He's a good friend of mine because we are the same age and we were playing against each other as kids," Radulov said. "So I've known him a long long time. We've got a good relationship. While he was playing here and I was playing there we just call each other sometimes. In the summer I saw him a lot.

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WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - ANA 82 54 20 8 266 209 116
2 y - COL 82 52 22 8 250 220 112
3 x - STL 82 52 23 7 248 191 111
4 x - SJS 82 51 22 9 249 200 111
5 x - CHI 82 46 21 15 267 220 107
6 x - LAK 82 46 28 8 206 174 100
7 x - MIN 82 43 27 12 207 206 98
8 x - DAL 82 40 31 11 235 228 91
9 PHX 82 37 30 15 216 231 89
10 NSH 82 38 32 12 216 242 88
11 WPG 82 37 35 10 227 237 84
12 VAN 82 36 35 11 196 223 83
13 CGY 82 35 40 7 209 241 77
14 EDM 82 29 44 9 203 270 67

STATS

2013-2014 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
S. Weber 79 23 33 -2 56
P. Hornqvist 76 22 31 1 53
C. Smith 79 24 28 16 52
M. Fisher 75 20 29 -4 49
R. Josi 72 13 27 -2 40
M. Cullen 77 10 29 4 39
C. Wilson 81 11 22 -1 33
N. Spaling 71 13 19 2 32
R. Ellis 80 6 21 9 27
G. Bourque 74 9 17 -5 26
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
C. Hutton 20 11 4 .910 2.62
D. Dubnyk 11 18 3 .891 3.43

 
 

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