Nashville Predators head coach Barry Trotz has spoken out about the hit Jordin Tootoo laid on Ryan Miller — a hit that earned the Preds forward a two-game suspension.
“My biggest disappointment in the whole thing is I really thought that a guy like Jordin Tootoo was trying to do the right thing, and not run into Miller,” Trotz told The Tennessean. “What he was trying to do was make a hockey play and not run into Miller.”
Trotz’s comments reiterate what Tootoo has maintained since bowling over Miller — the game wasn’t out of hand, there was no intent to injure and he did his best to avoid contact (the attempt to avoid contact was something NHL discipline czar Brendan Shanahan mentioned in his video.)
“I obviously did my best to jump out of [Miller’s] way,” Tootoo said. “When you’re going that fast and you get a little nudge from your back right on your hips, in that split second it changes a lot of momentum. I tried to leap out of the way. If I wanted to bury [Miller], my feet would be planted and I would be in a hockey stance.”
Trotz did say Tootoo’s reputation for dirty play and the timing of the hit — it was Miller’s first game back after missing eight games with a concussion from the Milan Lucic incident — probably played a role in the suspension.
“I wouldn’t say Jordin’s an angel. He’s taken some runs over the years over guys,” Trotz said. “But in the last couple of years his game is refined a little bit. He still plays hard and he still bumps into people and what have you, but I wouldn’t say he goes out of his way to hurt people.”