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Barry Trotz ‘encouraged’ that Ryan Suter could play Thursday

Feb 21, 2011, 9:15 PM EDT

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The Nashville Predators have plenty of players who can be considered “underrated.” It’s almost difficult to overrate Shea Weber‘s manliness, for example. Goalie Pekka Rinne is far from a household name, but he’s gradually building a reputation as one of the league’s steadiest netminders. The team’s other great defenseman Ryan Suter might be their most underrated player, though.

After all, the team clearly struggles without a guy who’s been described as a player who “is to Nashville what Nicklas Lidstrom is to Detroit,” being that Nashville is 4-6-1 without Suter.

That 11-game stretch came when Suter suffered a knee injury, but the current concern regards an upper body injury caused by a Shane Doan hit during the second period of Nashville’s loss to the Phoenix Coyotes on Saturday. While Suter will probably miss the Predators’ match with the Columbus Blue Jackets tomorrow, Josh Cooper reports that coach Barry Trotz is “encouraged” by the fact that the American defenseman might play on Thursday against the Chicago Blackhawks.

This is great news for Nashville, as they are only two points ahead of the wacky five-team pile up that constitutes the Western Conference playoff bubble.

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