Jan 23, 2013, 1:14 PM EDT
On Tuesday, Ryan Suter faced his former club, the Nashville Predators, for the first time since his blockbuster move to Minnesota.
While some were predicting the game to be a noteworthy affair, Suter said there wasn’t much too it.
“It wasn’t that big of a deal,” Suter told The Tennessean after Nashville’s 3-1 win. “Obviously the media makes it more than it is. I still have friends over there, but I still have friends on a lot of teams, and you have to go out and play hard against them.
“Unfortunately, they were the better team tonight.”
The talented blueliner spent the first eight years of his NHL career with the Predators, appearing in over 500 games while serving as an alternate captain.
His decision to leave the club affected a number of people, none more than GM David Poile, who was quite emotional in the days following Suter’s decision to leave.
“Ryan had said when we had a meeting in November with he and (agent) Neil Sheehy, he said at the time that he is not going anywhere else, he is signing with the Nashville Predators,” Poile explained at the time. “We did not get a chance to make a counter-offer or anything like that.
“He did not want that.”
Poile also scoffed at the idea Suter was leaving the Preds because they were in a non-traditional hockey market.
“Whether this franchise is in Timbuktu, the one point of not choosing to stay and play with Shea Weber, I will never, ever understand that,” Poile said in July.
Though Poile and Suter have since patched things up, it was still interesting to hear Suter say Tuesday’s game “wasn’t that big of a deal,” especially after what he told the Pioneer Press prior to the contest.
“It’ll be a tough game (after) being there for the last eight years. Lot of friendships over there,” he explained. “Looking forward to competing against them. Just looking forward for it to be over with. It’s tough to play against them, but it’s part of professional sports.
“You have to balance that.”
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