Some huge news out of Nashville today as GM David Poile announced Preds forwards Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn will not play in Game 3 of their Western Conference semifinal against Phoenix after violating team rules.
UPDATE: Cam Cole of the Vancouver Sun tweets “Radulov and Kostitsyn spotted in bar in Scottsdale past midnight [on Saturday], before 5pm Game 2 loss. Team was staying in Glendale, 45 minutes away.”
UPDATE 2: John Shannon of Sportsnet said the pair was spotted out at 4am.
“The Nashville Predators have a few simple rules centered around doing the right things,” Poile said in a statement on the team’s website. “We have always operated with a team-first mentality and philosophy. Violating team rules is not fair to our team and their teammates.”
The Predators haven’t spoken as to what the rule violations were (and let’s be honest, nobody expects them to) but it’s likely Poile and head coach Barry Trotz will face a bevvy of questions following today’s practice at Centennial Sportsplex.
As for what we know:
— Radulov was lambasted by NHL on NBC analysts Keith Jones and Jeremy Roenick following a woeful Game 2 performance, critiques that Trotz said Radulov “absolutely” deserved.
— Kostitsyn has been one of the better Nashville players through two games against Phoenix. He’s scored twice, has a plus-1 rating and was featured prominently on the Predators power play.
— Nashville rolled the following lines at today’s practice:
Sergei Kostitsyn-Mike Fisher-Martin Erat
Gabriel Bourque-David Legwand-Patric Hornqvist
Brandon Yip-Nick Spaling-Craig Smith
Matt Halischuk-Paul Gaustad-Jordin Tootoo
Andrei Kostitsyn-Brian McGrattan-Alex Radulov
As Dirk Hoag of On The Forecheck writes: “[They] seemed hilarious at first, but are now much less funny.”
— Josh Cooper of The Tennessean reports that Poile called it “selfish behavior” on the part of Radulov and Kostitsyn.
“Our creed is always to try to do the right thing,” Poile said. “I try to do that in my personal life, so I should try to do it in my business life, and we’ve just done the right thing. We put the team ahead of a couple of individual players and we’ll see where we go from there.”
— For a little history lesson on how these sorts of incidents can tear teams apart, check out this AP article from the 1988 “Goose Loonies” fiasco that derailed the Detroit Red Wings’ playoff run.
— You can also read the tell-all excerpt from then-Wings GM Jim Devellano, who called it “an ugly day in our history,” that “really cost our franchise dearly.”