The NHL and NHL Players Association announced that Nashville Predators forward Jordin Tootoo has been cleared to play in regular season games as he continues the “follow-up care phase” of the league’s substance abuse and behavioral health program.
Tootoo checked himself into the program in late December and was allowed to practice with the Predators again in late January, so this seems like a natural progression to get the noted pest back on the ice.
While the team hasn’t made it official yet, Ryan Porth of RLD Hockey writes that Tootoo is likely to play for the Predators against the Phoenix Coyotes tonight. Tootoo scored 10 points and assembled 47 penalty minutes in 32 games this season, having last played in a game on December 26th. It will be interesting to see if his pest-like game changes a bit considering his off-ice growth or if he’s able to maintain an edge even as he tries to turn his life around.