Nashville Predators forward J.P. Dumont has discovered that the only thing hotter than the August heat is the fan reaction to Alexander Radulov wanting to stay in Russia to play hockey.
Dumont has been the most active Predators player this summer in terms of attending special events. He has patiently posed for photos and signed autograph after autograph.
But one thing he cannot do is come up with an answer for fans who ask him about Radulov, who appears to be ready to stay in Russia this season and play for the new Continental League. Radulov has one year left on a contract with the Predators.
“He will have a lot of things to explain, not just to the players, but to the fans,” Dumont said. “I have been around all summer long and I have been crushed with questions about Radulov.
“I don’t know what to answer back. One thing I love about Nashville is people are proud of their teams and their city. It has been a slap in the face for our fans. But we don’t know the full story and until we do it is going to be hard to comment on it.”
Dumont admits the Predators would be in uncharted waters if Radulov does return to the team in time for training camp. He stresses that Radulov’s attitude will decide how he is received by his teammates.
“If he comes to training camp and just skates around because he doesn’t want to be here that is going to make a lot of players mad,” Dumont said. “It will be extremely hard for him if he does that. I don’t think anyone on this team has dealt with something like that before.
“A lot of young guys on this team want to play regularly in this lineup. If he plays like he doesn’t want to be here that will make those players angry. But if he wants to come back, and plays like he wants to be here, it would be a different situation.”
Dumont thinks that Radulov was given some bad advice. He also knows that Radulov was aware that he has a safety net with the Predators in terms of a contract if things in Russia go sour.
“We all know he is a young kid,” Dumont said. “He will be playing at home if he stays in Russia and he is going to be paid a lot of money. But he also knows he can come back here if things don’t work out because he has a contract.”
Despite the questions about Radulov, Dumont has enjoyed the summer, despite the hectic appearance schedule.
“I have tried to be involved with everything involving kids,” Dumont said. “My wife and I have two daughters and another is on the way. I have been fortunate enough to have two healthy children.
“I want to be there to be in a picture, sign autographs and just talk hockey with them and the kids and see them smile. I will get up and I will be tired. I will think that is a rough day, but then when you see what these kids are going through in the hospital each day you realize how fragile life is and how your day wasn’t all that bad.”
TICKET PLANS: The Predators are offering three different partial season-ticket options: the Half-Season Plan, the 13-game package and the Pick 10 plan.
The Half-Season Plan (23 games) includes Opening Night and Fan Appreciation night and six games against Eastern Conference opponents (N.Y. Islanders, N.Y. Rangers, Pittsburgh, Atlanta, New Jersey and Ottawa). The package features 12 weekend dates.
Partial-season ticket holder with the half-season and 13-game packages are guaranteed the same seats for every game, with a discount off the individual game rate plus other season ticket holder benefits. The two plans, in addition to the full-season plan, also include food and beverage vouchers.