Jordin Tootoo isn’t pleased with how the Nashville Predators are using him.
Tootoo, who has been a healthy scratch in three of Nashville’s playoff games so far, is frustrated with his lack of playing time in the best-of-seven series against the Detroit Red Wings.
The 29-year-old forward spoke with Josh Cooper of the Tennessean after practice on Thursday and voiced his displeasure.
“When you get shut down and told you’re not playing, it (expletive) burns,” Tootoo said. “After doing everything right, it just (expletive). … I’m (ticked) off because I’m not able to do what I love to do and that’s playing the game.
“Ultimately, I get whose decision it is. But I’ve been here in every playoff game in the past and I think right from the beginning of the series, you’re told you’re not playing and … what the (expletive)?
The Predators forward has only been on the ice for six minutes in the series after posting a career-best 30 points in 77 games this season. Tootoo finished the year with only six goals, 92 penalty minutes, and a minus-5 rating.
After the Predators added Alexander Radulov, Paul Gaustad, and Andrei Kostitsyn, they struggled to find a role for the pesky Tootoo in the lineup.
Tootoo believes the Predators are mishandling the situation and he is growing more frustrated with his lack of playing time.
“I was told that my play towards the end of the season was awful and they got to go with the guys that are going (well). Inconsistency I guess,” Tootoo said. “I think the only way to get out of that slump is to play games. … For me, (expletive), you can only get bag-skated so much and mentally it’s (expletive), it’s straining, it’s frustrating.”
Predators coach Barry Trotz understands why Tootoo is upset and praised his work ethic and professionalism after practice on Thursday.
“From his standpoint he has been a real good pro,” Trotz told local reporters on Monday. “Any player who is ready for the playoffs is not happy they’re not in.”
Tootoo is in the final year of his contract and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent after this season.
The Predators lead the best-of-seven series 3-1 and can eliminate the Detroit Red Wings with a victory on Friday night.