Suter's return provides Predators' fans ample opportunity to express themselves

Saturday, March 9, 2013 at 11:55pm

Nashville Predators’ fans had plenty of opportunity to let Ryan Suter know how they felt.

The defenseman logged more ice time than any player on either team outside of the goalies – 28:59, to be exact – in his first game at Bridgestone Arena as a member of the Minnesota Wild.

Every time he touched the puck – sometimes simply when his feet hit the ice – the sellout crowd booed. They cheered when he was sent to the penalty box for roughing at 5:53 of the third period and got even louder when the Predators got the game-tying goal on the ensuing power play.

Ultimately, though, Suter and his teammates sent them home disappointed and took the season series with a 2-1 shootout victory over Nashville. Goalie Pekka Rinne stopped only one of three skaters he faced in the shootout The Predators got a successful attempt by Craig Smith but lost when David Legwand’s try went off the post.

“I spent seven years here,” Suter said. “I had a great time here. I had a lot respect for the fans and I still do. It’s part of being a fan. It’s tough to take, but it is what it is.”

Suter, the franchise’s 2003 first-round draft pick and one of only three defensemen to appear in more than 500 games for the team, left Nashville when he accepted Minnesota’s 13-year, $98 million contract offer back on July 4.

He faced his former team twice previously – a 3-1 Nashville victory on Jan. 22 and a 2-1 Wild win in overtime on Feb. 9 – in Minnesota. This was his first time back in town.

The organization opted not to air a video tribute as it had done with two other former players this season.

“The fans let him know,” coach Barry Trotz said. “I think it was a really good decision by our organization. They always do things first class and I thought that was a way to protect Ryan, who was here for a number of years.

“Get used to it. You’re going to see him in the conference for the next [13] years. If the fans can keep that up for [13] years it will be awesome.”

Suter did quiet them briefly when he had the primary assist on the Wild’s only goal. His shot from straightaway was deflected by Zach Parise past Rinne at 9:01 of the second period.

He did his best to repeat the feat throughout the night but to no avail. He was credited with just two shots on goal but had six others blocked, including several during an overtime power play when he had a chance to end the game. His eight attempts were the most by any player on either team.

“I was maybe a little bit surprised of that,” Rinne said of the fans’ reaction. “I didn’t know what to expect … [but] he had a long history here. He was a huge part of the organization.

“But it’s an emotional thing for the fans. I totally understand.”

If Suter didn’t, he does now.

3 Comments on this post:

By: 4gold on 3/10/13 at 7:03

. "I love playing in Nashvlle" until his contract was up. What liar Suter was.

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

By: sharko20 on 3/10/13 at 10:53

Maybe the Preds didn't do a tribute because many of us voiced our opposition to it on the comment thread last week to your article saying they should do it.

Fans that followed the situation last summer know exactly what happened. Suter intentionally lied in order to deceive David Poile about his intentions to continue to play in Nashville. His plan worked and the Preds got absolutely nothing in return for him. No one likes a liar.

The circumstances surrounding the departure of Sullivan and Tootoo are completely different. No reason not to thank them for their years playing for Nashville.

Unfortunately, the Preds still have a player who would rather be playing somewhere else. His fate is in the hands of the organization. No warm and fuzzy feelings here for him.

David Poile has some holes to fill. Hope he can find the right players to get the job done.

By: fan13 on 3/10/13 at 2:46

hattrick.....Looks like Suter made the classy decision. He had nothing inappropriate to say re: his years in Nashville and instead of "being glad it happened..the fans chose to CRY"....what an embarassment ! This is professional sports....athletes leave because of $$$ in EVERY sport. David Poille knows that and chose to attempt to under pay Ryan. Polles attirude was to say to Suters go shop your best deal and bring it to me and I'll match it. In oiher words..lets be sure I don't over pay. Suters agent choise to say give me your best deal up front. ITS CALLED NEGOTATIONS ! It's done every contract in every sport. It's Poille who was less than honest...he thought he'd take advantage and LOST.