May 1, 2012, 2:57 PM EDT
Say this about the Nashville Predators: They know how to present a united front.
Shortly after GM David Poile announced forwards Alex Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn would miss Game 3 of the Phoenix series for violating team rules — the pair were rumored to have broken curfew prior to Game 2 — Predators players and coaches vocally backed the decision.
The best example of that? Alternate captain Ryan Suter.
“It’s [Barry Trotz’s] decision, we’re going to stick behind him,” Suter told The Tennessean. “We’ve won all year with everyone and it’s going to take everyone to continue to win.
“We talked. As a leadership group we talked to Trotzy and said whatever you decide we’ll stand by you. We’re in the playoffs, we don’t need distractions.”
Captain Shea Weber didn’t speak as strongly, but conveyed a similar message.
“We’re going to move forward on this,” he said. “It’s management’s decision. They asked what we thought and we’re not in any position to choose. It’s up to them, and we’re just here to play and play a lot better than we have.”
There’s a sense Weber’s running the emotional gamut right now. He’s the undisputed leader of the team and, as ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun points out, lobbied hard to get Radulov back in the mix. Considering he was already carrying the magnitude of an 0-2 series deficit, there’s even more weight on his shoulders now.
That said, Poile made it clear he ran this decision by Weber and Nashville’s other key figures. He also confirmed that everybody was on board.
“We talked to the leadership group in terms of their knowledge of it and what have you,’’ said Poile. “Everybody was very much aware of the situation.
“We had to do the right thing.’’
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