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|22 октября 2006
Debut of Radulov gets mixed reviews // Tennessean
When rating the NHL debut of rookie Alexander Radulov, Predators Coach Barry Trotz said the 20-year-old right wing played "OK."
Radulov, the Predators top prospect, was called up on Friday to help fill in for injured forwards, including Steve Sullivan (back spasms), Josef Vasicek (hip flexor) and Darcy Hordichuk (ribs) all who were scratched on Saturday against the Canucks.
Wearing No. 47, Radulov received a few excited cheers as he made some fancy moves with the puck five minutes into the game, but he didn't do much creating, collecting just 7:32 of ice time.
Radulov was moved around pairing with several lines, but Trotz said he avoided putting the rookie in against Vancouver's top players, such as center Henrik Sedin or left wing Markus Naslund.
"I didn't think that was fair in his first game," Trotz said.
Radulov said after the game: "I worked hard, but I didn't play my best. They gave me ice time, but it wasn't a lot."
Painful penalties: Trotz said third-period penalties killed the Predators on Saturday.
Even though Vancouver scored all four of its goals at even strength, Trotz said the three penalties in the final nine minutes are what shifted the momentum in the Canucks favor and gave them a chance for the win.
With mistakes like that, Trotz said, the game can "turn on a dime."
The first of the final three penalties was taken by Radulov, who attempted to stop a pass in the neutral zone but was called for tripping as he flung his stick forward while lying on his stomach on the ice.
"He took a bad penalty," Trotz said.
The second was a delay of game call on defenseman Mikko Lehtonen at 16:10 in the third period, and the third was two minutes for hooking on Jordin Tootoo with a little over a minute remaining in the game. It was Tootoo's penalty, which came 30 seconds after the Canucks tied the game at 3-3, that caused the Predators to begin the overtime period down a man.
Although it didn't result in a score, it prevented Nashville from finding quick momentum in the extra time.