May 5, 2011, 7:40 PM EDT
During the highest points of his career, Steve Sullivan was a big fish in a sea of blue collar workers in Nashville. Injuries and increasing age lowered his rank in the Predators’ hierarchy, although to some extent, it’s a wonder that he managed to fight through some of his toughest ailments in the first place.
In a way, it’s almost an informal passing of the torch. The team is hoping for big things out of Wilson, the seventh overall pick of the 2008 NHL Entry Draft. He was solid during the 2010-11 season, producing 34 points and a +9 rating in 82 games played. Wilson played in last year’s first round series loss against the Chicago Blackhawks, but tonight’s Game 4 will mark his first 2011 playoff appearance.
Cooper reports that Predators coach Barry Trotz said Sullivan might not return during this series because of his lower-body injury. That’s not the big loss it once was, though, considering the fact that Sullivan was averaging less than 10 minutes of ice time per playoff game so far. In fact, it could be a blessing in disguise if Wilson gives Nashville’s offense a much-needed boost.
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