Luke Fox of Sportsnet spoke to several former Stanley Cup winners and they seem to have two pieces of advice: Don’t miss curfew during the playoffs and don’t mess with a winning lineup.
That seems to support Nashville’s decision to suspend Alexander Radulov and Andrei Kostitsyn for Game 3 of the second round. The Predators ended up earning a 2-0 victory without those two, so coach Barry Trotz decided that both of them would be healthy scratches on Friday.
“The old saying is, it doesn’t matter if you’re two seconds or one minute late, you might as well be three hours late,” Doug Gilmour said. “Curfews are there for a reason, and you gotta follow them.”
Mike Krushelnyski, who won the Stanley Cup as a player and then a coach also sided with the Predators.
“As a coach, I would leave my lineup,” Krushelnyski said. “I wouldn’t insert them back in. One, you’ve won the [previous] game. Two, you’ve gained momentum, and hopefully they can continue. If [Trotz] loses the next game, then he’s going to bring them in, and he can use it as a tool: We can strengthen our team with these two guys.”
Krushelnyski admitted that it wasn’t unheard of for players to break curfew back when he was a member of the Edmonton Oilers, but they were much stricter about it in the playoffs.
Bryan Trottier was a member of the Islanders’ dynasty back in the 1980s and later won back-to-back Stanley Cups with the Pittsburgh Penguins in the early 1990s. He never heard of players missing curfew on his teams.
“Curfew was a high priority, something every player respected,” Trottier said. “Accountability in the locker room was a high priority. From the time I walked into the Islanders to the time I left the Penguins, it was always, ‘Hey, guys, let’s make sure we’re focused on all the things that are necessary,’ and that was one of them.”
Of course, Radulov and Kostitsyn have already served their time and odds are that they haven’t played in their last playoff game. The question is: How will they respond when they finally get a chance at redemption?