Questions, albeit new ones, continue for Predators, Radulov

Sunday, May 13, 2012 at 9:07pm

Offseason questions in regard to Alexander Radulov are nothing new for the Nashville Predators.

For the first time in years, though, those questions have changed.

No longer need anyone wonder when — or if — he will rejoin the franchise that drafted him 15th overall in 2004. He answered that one when he showed up in late March and added some offensive pop for the stretch run.

Now, though, there is the issue of whether or not he plans to return for a full season. Or if the franchise even wants him back.

“I don’t have the answer on that,” general manager David Poile said late last week. “I’m not even close to making the decision on that.”

Complicating matters is the very public reprimand he and left wing Andrei Konstitsyn received during the Predators’ second-round playoff series against Phoenix.

Team officials suspended the two for Game 3 after it was discovered that they had missed curfew prior to Game 2, which Nashville lost 5-3. They were kept out of the lineup for Game 4 when coach Barry Trotz elected to stick with the same group of players that won Game 3.

The Predators were eliminated in five games.

“I’ve had a lot of talks with Rads,” Trotz said. “He knows that it was wrong, and he does have remorse. He’s living a different lifestyle in a different country. It’s a different game over there and he knows that he has to make changes to how he has to play the game.

“… My first impression is, yeah he can help us. He’s a talent. He has to change a little bit of the way he plays.”

In his nine regular-season appearances, Radulov scored seven points (three goals, four assists). He added six more points (one goal, five assists) in the playoffs, which tied him for the team lead despite the fact that he missed the two contests.

“[Radulov] is a wild card on the ice [and] off the ice,” Poile said. “It doesn’t make him a bad person. But he needs to be better in a lot of areas. In the brief conversations I’ve had with him over this situation, he realizes that. Whether he can change or do something about it … we need to think about it; he needs to think about it.”

Franchise officials spent years wondering what it would be like to have Radulov back on the team.

In 2006-07 he set franchise records for goals (18) and points (37) by a rookie. The following season he finished third on the team with 58 points and was Nashville’s leading postseason scorer.

After that he spent four full seasons in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League despite the fact that he had one year remaining on the entry level deal he signed with the Predators. In that time, he set league records, won a host of individual honors and was part of a championship team.

He finally returned to Nashville after his team was eliminated from the 2012 KHL playoffs. He satisfied his contract with just 17 appearances, nine at the conclusion of the regular season and eight in the playoffs.

KHL officials have made it clear that they want — and expect — Radulov to return for the 2012-13 season.

“This is a player that — fortunately or unfortunately — has a lot of options,” Poile said. “He’s got the KHL willing, basically, to give him whatever he wants.

“…We should take some time and not make any [hasty] decisions.”

Which means they have to ask themselves some difficult questions about the value of a gifted offensive player versus the unpredictability of one who has been unreliable in more than one way.

“We really haven’t made any decision on that,” Trotz said. “And he has to make a decision. Is he going to stay with us or go back?”

“I have a feeling that he wants to stay.”

7 Comments on this post:

By: Rasputin72 on 5/14/12 at 5:53

As long as Davidson County picks up the tab for the 9,000 Davidson county ice hockey fanatics and the 8,000 non-residents of Davidson County who enjoy ice hockey there will never really and truly be a problem.

By: gid on 5/14/12 at 6:04

Ras72 - if your going to comment please use correct figures. Your always inaccurate, misguided and in error. I guess that is just your life.

By: Rasputin72 on 5/14/12 at 7:54

id, You can supply your number if you wish. Perhaps I am not on the page that you are looking at?

By: Pelvis on 5/14/12 at 9:55

Rasputin72: What do you mean Davidson County pick up the tab? You mean the tax subsidies that go towards upkeep of the arena that is OWNED BY THE CITY OF NASHVILLE? The city of Nashville is the arena’s landlord. They are absolutely responsible for kicking in on the arena THEY OWN!!!!! Sorry for the caps and exclamation points but your beef is with the city of Nashville not the Preds or Preds fans. The arena was completed TWO YEARS before the Preds played their first game there. Little fact, before Nashville was awarded a NHL franchise in 1997 (didn’t play until 1998, arena completed in 1996). The league office toured the arena, meaning the arena was finished before Nashville was even awarded a NHL franchise! The Preds didn’t request the city build the arena so they could play here. The city built the arena to completion without a main tenant then went out to find one. Be upset I guess but for the love of God aim your disapproval in the right direction please. The Preds and Preds fans are part of the solution. Without a main tenant the amount of tax money going to the arena would be extremely higher.

Also, this is kind of a done deal wouldn’t you say? The arena isn’t going anywhere, main tenant or not. Complaining about it at this point is kind of pointless. Your time to oppose the arena or the use of tax money towards the arena was over a decade ago.

The city built the arena and they own it, not the Preds, please remember this fact.

By: dymartintnbankerso on 5/14/12 at 10:31

Lil Red Dy - As for whether to TRY to keep Radulov, I think the Predators would be shortsighted and foolish not to. He made a mistake. He was disciplined for it. His attitude seems to be positive about how it was handled. Move on from there. If you have a child (and I am in no way implying he is a child) who does something wrong and needs disciplining for it, do you then try to evaluate whether they should be drummed out of the family for one infraction. Seems like a no-brainer to me given his talent and potential.

By: Rasputin72 on 5/14/12 at 11:01

I would bulldoze the building down if it were not paying for itself and sell it to a private enterprise for the their benefit and the benefit of the Davidson County taxpayers.

An asset is one that produces income not outgo. If the cost of the ice hockey arena exceeds the rent from the concerts and the rent by the ice hockey team then based on my business model then bulldoze it down. Do not subsidize it.

This is from a business persons point of view. This is not a ice hockey fan who works for wages from people like me.

By: Pelvis on 5/14/12 at 1:20

Ras:

I don’t entirely disagree with you on this. However, this particular issue bugs me. Why do people who have a problem with tax money going to an arena that is owned by the city of Nashville attack Preds fans? Maybe it’s because there is no other outlet for their disapproval, I don’t know. There is no logic in attacking Preds fans for this. As mentioned in my previous post, the city built and owns the arena, which you are well aware of I know. The Preds had absolutely no input or influence in the building that arena. The Preds were brought here a year after its completion (two years before they actually started playing) to help lessen the burden of the tax payers, not to free the city completely of responsibility. The city built it, the city is responsible for kicking in. If they didn’t want to contribute to the upkeep of something they built, they should never have built it. They should have let whoever was interested in bringing an arena sport to Nashville build it with their own money. Problem is, even sports owners that do fund their own arena/stadium get tax incentives. That’s how it works unfortunately, I don’t think it’s right in that circumstance. Nashville chipping in on the arena they built and own makes total sense to me. The Preds are LEASING the arena from Nashville. Why exactly shouldn’t Nashville be kicking in to maintain the property? Tax money isn’t being used to fund the hockey team, please tell me you know this. It’s being used to help fund Powers Management (they run the arena’s day to day responsibilities) and funding general maintenance costs/arena upgrades.

There may be a day where the Preds income alone can fully fund the arena. I for one hope it gets there but growing a fan base takes time and money. The city wanted this, the NHL or hockey fans didn’t put this into motion. Preds fans are just trying to do what we can by attending games, spending money downtown, and in the arena.

Again, the arena is a done deal, no amount of internet complaining is going to change this. I’m sorry it upsets you I really am but it is what it is. Attacking Preds fans with your complaints about how the city funds the arena it owns accomplishes nothing but creating sad internet pissing matches. I deep down believe you’re better than that. Please feel free to prove me right.