Boclair: When Suter returns Preds should do the right thing

Tuesday, March 5, 2013 at 10:05pm

It is no secret that the Nashville Predators felt wronged.

When Ryan Suter made his decision last July to accept a free agent offer from the Minnesota Wild, it scuttled the franchise’s long-term plans that were built on a foundation of him, fellow defenseman Shea Weber and goalie Pekka Rinne.

David Poile utterly villainized Suter in the days that followed. The general manager clearly believed he had been misled and stopped just short of calling the player a bold-faced liar. Coach Barry Trotz quickly tried to downplay the importance of any one player, even one the team was so eager to keep happy that it consulted him on his preferences regarding personnel matters.

We all understand that breakups create a unique set of emotions, particularly for the one who gets left. The feelings of Poile, Trotz and everyone else in the organization were genuine albeit somewhat immature. After all, how many decisions have those two made in the name of “business” that players did not like or appreciate?

That was then. Eight months have passed.

Now it is time to do the right thing.

Minnesota comes to town Saturday for its only visit of this abbreviated season, its first with Suter as a member of its roster. The Predators need to welcome him back in the same warm, classy manner that they have others.

Some of the nicest moments of the last month and a half were the first-period video tributes to Steve Sullivan and Jordin Tootoo when they came back to town with Phoenix and Detroit, respectively. The fans’ response and the players’ reaction were heartfelt.

Anything less for Suter would be disingenuous, not to mention petty.

After all, the franchise has seized upon any opportunity to celebrate the fact that Weber has a contract that will keep him here for the remainder of his career. Conveniently overlooked is that the deal originated as an offer sheet he signed with another franchise.

To think that Weber wanted to stay any more than Suter did and, therefore, deserves unfettered admiration while Suter ought to be despised and/or ignored is to believe that the earth is flat or that the moon is made of cheese.

It is similar folly to think that Sullivan and/or Tootoo are more deserving of respect and a measure of thanks. Both were important and popular players for this team. Their respective returns were cause for celebration and gratification.

This situation is no different.

Simply put, Suter’s contributions to the Nashville Predators are undeniable. Consider just a few:

• He played more games for them than any defenseman other than Kimmo Timonen.

• He is one of only four players, regardless of position, with at least 200 all-time assists for the franchise.

• He was the centerpiece of Predators’ 2003 draft class, a significant decision given all the talent that flowed into the team and the league that year when the selection process took place here in town.

• He was the only Nashville player ever selected for the United States Olympic team — and he was standout performer when the Americans won a silver medal in 2010 at Vancouver.

• He is the franchise’s only first-round draft pick to appear in an NHL All-Star Game and one of only two Predators to register a point in that contest.

Players like Suter don’t come along all that often, which is why it is so painful when they leave. Those bitter feelings should not overwhelm a decade of positive contributions.

It is not simply the right thing to do to recognize Suter and his many accomplishments as a member of the Nashville Predators. It is the only thing to do.

10 Comments on this post:

By: sharko20 on 3/5/13 at 11:41

Suter sucks and Weber is stuck. Poile deserves some of the blame for what happened with Suter especially when analysts were pointing out the Parise connection.

As for Weber, he clearly didn't want to stay. Given the past week who can blame him?
Yes, he is a great player, but he comes across as snarly and unfriendly. Not a likable guy.

Does anyone think under the direction of Poile and Trotz they will win it all?

By: eamus-catuli on 3/6/13 at 6:41

If I'm at the Tire Barn when Suter comes back I will welcome him with the "you'e #1" sign. Suter played Poile like a fiddle and I don't fault Poile for that; he had no intention whatsoever of staying and used the Preds as a foil to get the most he could out of Leopold (which he did.) Good riddance to Ryan, hope he gets a chorus of boos at the Bridge.

"Make something idiot-proof and the world will build a better idiot"

By: courier37027 on 3/6/13 at 8:17

Mr. Boclair, you should give this same advice to Morning Zone crew who have a history of praising players while they are here, then treating them like Public Enemy Number One when traded or leaving town.

By: PKVol on 3/6/13 at 8:44

The big difference between Sully & Tootoo and Suter is that the Predators released Sully & Toots to go where they could. The tributes to them were to try and let them know they were appreciated for the time they spent as Predators.

With Suter, he chose to go - even toying with the team as he tried to find another team to go to; he was still wanted by the Preds. To present a tribute to him would be thanking him for leaving and the way he treated management on his way out.

By: anxious on 3/6/13 at 10:27

Yes the Predators should do the right thing. The right thing would be to sen Clune out to beat the crap out of him!

By: sharko20 on 3/6/13 at 11:34

I completely agree with everyone here on the tribute for Suter. Don't do it!!! He left on his own. His actions were intended to deceive David Poile? Why? He didn't need to do it once the trade deadline had passed or waiting until the season had ended. He had to know that every team would want him and his payday would be huge. He would be able to play one team off another, but looked what happened. The Preds got absolutely NOTHING for a very valuable player. ZERO, ZIP, NADA!!! That is unacceptable.

If he had been honest about his intentions to hit free agency, there wouldn't be hard feelings when he ended up with the Wild. Anyone can understand that he wanted to play in his wife's hometown, with his buddy Zach and they have a farm and family nearby in Wisconsin. Same thing happened with Hamhuis. He wanted to go play near home. I don't know squat, but I could have told you he was headed to Vancouver. At least Poile got a ROI on him.

I say send a loud and clear message by NOT doing a tribute. If they do it anyway, I hope the boo birds are very loud. Suter does not deserve any accolades from the Preds or the fans.

By: asdk347 on 3/6/13 at 12:26

You claim Trotz and Poile were "immature" to be furious when they were treated with deception and disrespect by a guy worth millions - and now the team is sinking like a rock in the standings. There could have been a chance to trade Suter's rights for a performing forward, or a capable defenseman the Preds wouldn't have to raise from scratch. Now the chances of even making the playoffs are looking slim. You have to be kidding.

That guy is dead to me and should be to every loyal fan in town. I have no doubt the Preds will do a brief highlight reel (hopefully presenting a couple of the classic Suter own-goals). Personally I hope not even to be able to hear the thing, and that the boos are so loud the rafters at the Bridge are shaking.

By: joe41 on 3/6/13 at 3:17

We should thank him by beating the Minnesota Wild. Nothing more, nothing less.


By: MTSUgrad97 on 3/6/13 at 11:30

I will be there Saturday night and I will boo Suter every time he touches the ice and if the Predators choose to do a tribute to him, I will stay seated and boo throughout that too. Suter is owed nothing by the Nashville Predators or their fans.

By: 4gold on 3/7/13 at 7:29

What burns me is the constant lip service that both Web and Suter loved playing in Nashville. Then interviews just as negotiations started they both changed their tune. When asked they said oh playing in Nashville is ok if we win and get in the playoffs. People come. Both suddenly wanted out of Nashville. Suter caved to his wifes wishes to be closer to her family. And Web wanted to go play in Philadelphia with the rest of the Predator Star players. I have no use for either of them. Pro sports is about the money. It is more fun to follow a winning team and I hope they do win but I worship no individuel player. They will all jump for the next bigger check and have no aligents to Nashville and its fans.

Go Dores, Preds, Titans! Go Nashville a great place to live!