The Nashville Predators saw their promising playoff run end prematurely in 2012, with the management team assembling quite a veteran group that looked poised to be in contention for a long playoff drive.
To the surprise of many around the NHL, general manager David Poile invited Russian forward Alexander Radulov to come play for the Predators in the remaining few regular-season games, and allow him to burn off the final year of his entry-level contract with Nashville.
At that time, many teams were complaining about the fact that the NHL has agreed to let Radulov return without any re-entry waivers, but the Predators were excited to add him for the playoffs.
However, things quickly changed, because Radulov did not perform as well as people may have expected in the beginning. His eight-game playoff appearance only saw Radulov score one goal in the first round against the Red Wings.
Worse things happened in the second round where the Predators were facing the Phoenix Coyotes. When the Predators visited the city of Glendale for Game 3, Radulov and teammate Andrei Kostitsyn went to a local bar to enjoy themselves, and failed to comply with team rules about curfew.
As a result, controversy, team chemistry, and focus for Game 3 and 4 quickly turned away from on-ice preparations.
Radulov's teammates were all busy answering questions from the media about their irresponsible teammates missing curfew, and the team had to employ reserve forwards Jordin Tootoo and Matt Halischuk to replace the vacancies opened up after team-initiated suspensions.
Here is some quotes of what Shea Weber had to say on the topic. From teamradio.ca, in an interview with Bob Marjonavich of Team1040:
Obviously, it's a bit of a distraction. It's unfortunate that it happened, and we needed some things to go our way. I think we did a good job of rebounding from that. The guys that stepped in did a good job. It was unfortunate that a couple of guys that were important to us did that, so maybe it caused a bit of a distraction.
When asked about his thoughts personally, and whether he was pissed, he replied:
Yeah. It is what it is. I don't really have a lot to say about it, because there is a bunch of guys that played with him, wanted him back, and felt the same way. When it happened, you feel a little bit betrayed. I'm sure he feels bad about it now, and he looks back on it and wish it didn't happen, but he can't take things back, and we got to move forward.
With the uncertainty looming ahead for the Nashville Predators going into this offseason, Shea Weber had this to say:
The organization has proven that they want to be a cap team. They added a few pieces at the trade deadline, and I am sure they will do whatever it takes to re-sign players or add a few players in July. I obviously enjoy playing with Ryan Suter, and hopefully things work out for us.
For me, I am just trying to relax, and still a little bit shocked that the playoffs is over already. We will get to a point where we cross the bridge, and we'll deal with it when the time comes.
It sounds like Shea Weber was a little bit guarded when Marjanovich asked him about his future with the Predators. I would not be surprised if Shea Weber holds out this year, or demands something really hefty to force the team to re-sign him for one year to allow him to hit unrestricted free agency next July.
This is Joseph Trenton reporting on the Nashville Predators.
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