Suter gets an assist for winning side in first NHL All-Star Game

Sunday, January 29, 2012 at 8:11pm
Staff reports

Ryan Suter became the third Nashville Predator in history to record a point in the NHL All-Star Game with an assist for Team Chara in its 12-9 victory over Team Alfredsson on Sunday at Kanata, Ontario.

Nashville’s other representative, Shea Weber, did not have a point but led all players with 22:12 of ice time. That was nearly five minutes more than Suter (17:34), who was the least-used of his team’s defensemen.

Suter and Weber, who typically form the Predators’ top defense pair, played on separate teams after they were taken with consecutive picks in Thursday’s All-Star Fantasy Draft.

Suter, in his first All-Star appearance, had the secondary assist on the last of his team’s three first-period goals. Marian Gaborik gave Team Chara a 3-0 lead 10:09 into the contest.

It was the second of three goals scored by Gaborik, who finished with four points and was named the game’s most valuable player.

Weber registered two shots on goal and a plus-2 rating. Suter did not have a shot and was a minus-2.

It was the third All-Star Game appearance — a franchise record — for Weber. A year ago, he tied an All-Star record for assists by a defenseman with four. He also appeared in the 2009 contest but did not have a point.

Jason Arnott (one assist, 2008) is the only other Nashville player with a point in the showcase event. No Predator ever has scored an All-Star goal.

Second again: Weber once again finished second to Zdeno Chara in the hardest shot contest, which took place during Saturday’s All-Star Skills Competition.

“Obviously [Weber's] a great player in this League, and he has a really hard shot,” Chara said. “We've been in the [hardest shot] finals together for the past few years. Really, I don't go out there and try to get motivated that much. You just try to go out and do your best.”

It was Weber’s third straight runner-up finish although his recorded speed of 106.0 miles per hour in the final round was his best ever. Chara set a Skills Competition record of 108.8 miles per hour.

A year ago Weber’s shot was clocked at 104.8. In 2009 it was 103.4.

“All I can do is keep getting better,” he said. “I keep getting better every year, so if (Chara) hits a plateau and stops maybe I can keep catching him.”

Say what?: Suter was the talk of Friday’s media day, when he said that he had no plans to sign a new contract with the Predators prior to the Feb. 27 trade deadline. That led many members of the North American hockey media to speculate on whether, and to which team Nashville general manager David Poile would trade the defenseman.

Suter sought to clarify those comments Sunday and stressed that his focus right now is on playing well for the Predators and not on any contract issues.

“I never said that [I want to test the open market] and I don't want to right now,” Suter said. “I want to focus on playing for Nashville. We've got a good team and if we can add a couple of pieces here and there I think we have a legitimate chance of going to win the Stanley Cup.

“If we keep winning, we keep playing well, with the guys we have on the team and if we can add a couple of pieces, I think we can go far. It's [Poile's] call. It's his team and he can do what he wants with it, but I'd like to win this year."