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Preds: We'll move on without Radulov // Nashville City Paper
By: Mark McGee, Sports Correspondent
Just how long will forward Alexander Radulov be missed by the Nashville Predators?
Veteran center Scott Nichol doesn’t think it will take very long to put Radulov behind the team and move on.
“This is professional sports,” said Nichol. “We will move on. We might miss him in training camp and during the first few weeks of the season, but out-of-sight, out-of-mind.
“If his heart of hearts isn’t here, we don’t want him. He has to be ready to buy into this team. And that is what this team is about. We don’t have any superstars. We just have a bunch of guys who work hard and know how to win. If he doesn’t want to be a part of that, so be it.”
Tuesday David Poile, president of hockey operations/general manager for the Predators, announced that Radulov had been suspended indefinitely without pay for the 2008-2009 season. He responded to the situation with prepared statements issued by the team.
“We are disappointed Alex will not be with the Predators at the start of this season,” said Poile. “He is a world class player who demonstrated last season that he is an emerging NHL talent. However, since he has not responded to our recent correspondence, we must move forward with our plans for the coming season.”
Last season Radulov scored 58 points, including 26 goals. Instead of returning to the Predators for the final year of a three-year entry contract, Radulov has chosen to sign with a team in the Russian Continental Hockey League (KHL).
Nichol wouldn’t say he was surprised at Radulov’s decision, but he does wonder why he would not want to stay in the NHL.
“This is the best league in the world,” Nichol said. “You would think that a hockey player would always want to play in this league.
“Look at the guys like Alex Ovechkin. He is one of those guys from Radulov’s native land that he should want to measure himself up to in the NHL. On the flip side it his hometown. He is closer to his mom and dad. He is making good money over there. You can’t fault him either way.”
The Predators gave Radulov until Sept. 1 to notify the Predators of his intention to return to the club in time for the 2008-09 season or face suspension. He did not respond.
“At some point, we hope Alex will have a desire to return to the NHL and compete in the best league in the world, with and against the best competition,” Poile said. “We will re-visit his status at that time.
“Until then, we are focused on the players who are representing the Predators and providing them the necessary support and guidance. We will not allow Alex’s situation to be a distraction and, as such, will have no further comment on Alex or his situation.”
Nichol thinks only time will tell whether or not Radulov made the right decision.
“He is the only one who can really answer that question in years to come,” Nichol said.