Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Alexander Radulov has rejoined the Nashville Predators, and will remain with them for at least the rest of the regular season and the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Radulov, along with Predators General Manager David Poile, held a press conference on Wednesday morning at Bridgestone Arena.
“It was a very complicated process to bring him back, but that is all behind us now. We are certainly looking forward to the future,” Poile said.
Radulov seemed to be eager to play in the NHL again. He seems to have been readily welcomed by his Nashville teammates so far, and is ready to get things going on the ice.
“I played here two years, and I remember all of the moments. It’s good to be back here. I feel good, and I’m looking forward to helping the team be better,” Radulov said.
There has been a lot of talk over the last week about Radulov having a KHL contract, and being forced to go back to Russia to play in the KHL next year. He quickly squashed those rumors.
“I didn’t say anything. I didn’t promise anything to anybody,” Radulov said.
“As I understand, just from talking to Alex, is that he doesn’t have contract. He doesn’t have a promise to go back and play there. I think this is an open-ended situation,” Poile said.
Now that Radulov has returned to the Predators, and his suspension by the team has been lifted, he will focus his attention on the on-ice aspect of returning to the Predators. Shea Weber, Ryan Suter, David Legwand, Martin Erat, Kevin Klein, Jordin Tootoo and Pekka Rinne have all been around Radulov before. Radulov still kept up with what was going on with the Predators while he was in the KHL.
“(Suter) and (Weber) are the top defense in the league. (Rinne) is unbelievable and playing well for the Preds. (Legwand) and (Erat) are having a good year. They’re all good players. I think they are much better than before because they’ve gotten a little bit older,” Radulov said.
Radulov didn’t just have contact with Poile while he was in the KHL. He had several conversations with Weber over the past four years as well.
“I talked to (Weber). Not a lot, but we had some conversations. I saw him in the Olympics, in the World Championships and we talked on the phone. He was always telling me like ‘Hey C’mon, you’ve got to come back.’ I came back and saw him. I’m really happy to see guys that I played with,” Radulov said.
Radulov will travel with the team to Pittsburgh. There is no word to whether or not he will officially make his debut on Thursday night, but Barry Trotz said he will be in the lineup on Saturday night. Now, Radulov will try to get comfortable playing in the NHL again over the last nine games of the regular season.