BY RYAN PORTH
NASHVILLE — The Nashville Predators will be without forwards Andrei Kostitsyn and Alexander Radulov for Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal against the Phoenix Coyotes for violating team rules, the team announced Tuesday.
Predators general manager David Poile addressed the media Tuesday at the team’s practice facility.
“I’ve been a general manager for 30 years and always try to treat each individual player with care, but never, ever put the individual player ahead of the team. In this situation, both of these players violated a team rule,” Poile said. “I met with both of them this morning; they know they are not playing in (Game 3). This has been no more than a big distraction to our hockey team. I wanted to make the announcement today just to get the distraction out of the way so that our players can get better prepared for Game 3 tomorrow night.
“It’s very disappointing. Obviously, any time something like this would happen would be disappointing. In the playoffs it’s even more so, to take out of the lineup two of your better hockey players. It was a pretty easy decision,” he added. “We’ve put the team ahead of a couple individual players, and we’ll see where we go from here.”
Poile would not get into the details of the rule violation.
“Everybody has the same team rules. What they did was unacceptable,” Poile said. “The coaches and myself had to come to the plate and do the right thing for the team.”
— Darcy Tucker (@16DarcyTucker) May 1, 2012
Unconfirmed reports suggest that the violation was in relation to a team curfew, and Radulov hinted towards that being the reason for the suspension on Tuesday.
“I didn’t come back as late as everyone is saying, but I don’t want to talk about it,” said Radulov. “[The team] did what they had to do. Obviously I’m disappointed and understand that is was my mistake, and I really hope everything is going to work out for the team.”
Radulov has been the subject of criticism in this series, as he has just one assist and a minus-3 rating in the two games. Kostitsyn has been slightly more effective, scoring in each game thus far.
Their presence will be missed in the lineup for Game 3, but head coach Barry Trotz said the club had no choice but to take action the way it did.
“You always have to do what is right. There are rules for everybody, and this is a team rule that they broke, so they are out for this next game and we’ll just move forward,” Trotz said. “The Nashville Predators are about a team, they are about accountability, and they are a team that you expect certain rules and behaviours to be followed. They weren’t, so there are consequences — plain and simple.”
The Predators trail the Coyotes 2-0 with Game 3 set for Wednesday in Nashville.
Radulov and Kostitsyn you got all summer to party and Drink.! I’m sure your teammates are thrilled..
— Mike Modano (@9modano) May 1, 2012