Ryan Suter’s decision to share the news that he won’t be signing with the Predators before the trade deadline dominated discussion during Friday’s media availability with one player a little more interested than most.
Timomen enjoyed playing in Nashville, but his rights were traded to the Flyers in 2007 when the Predators couldn’t afford to keep him or forward Scott Hartnell.
"They were going to be unrestricted free agents, demanding and worth more money than we could afford," Predators GM David Poile said.
History might be repeating. And it’s not just one franchise defenseman this time around. The future remains uncertain for both Suter and teammate Shea Weber.
"It’s not easy," Timonen said. "I’m sure these two guys want to stay in Nashville. I wanted to stay in Nashville, too. Sometimes it comes to money and business and that side of things. I’m sure these guys are talking to the team and trying to see, 'Is there any way we can work this thing out?' If not, then you have to move on. It’s a bad part of the business but it has to happen."
And if it has to happen, Timonen would love for his current team to be the beneficiary. Pronger has been ruled out for the rest of the season and the playoffs with a concussion, and the addition of Suter would come the closest to replacing him.
It would immediately catapult the Flyers back among the Stanley Cup favorites.
"Obviously if we can get one of [Suter or Weber], we’ll be happy to take them," Timonen said. "All the help you can get going into the playoffs and try to win the Stanley Cup -- we need it."
-- Craig Custance
Hossa: Rumors are unavoidable issue
Suter’s decision to put contract talks on hold will lead to a frenzy of rumors surrounding the defenseman as the trade deadline closes in.
It’s a world Marian Hossa remembers well. He made the same declaration about halting talks with Atlanta in 2008 and was traded to Pittsburgh five minutes before the trade deadline that year. Making it worse, Hossa was in Montreal on deadline day, playing against the Canadiens, a team feverishly pursuing him in trade talks with the Thrashers.
Hossa can laugh about it now.
"Lots of questions. Lots of media attention," Hossa said, smiling. "You never know what can happen; I think that’s what he’s going through right now."
Hossa managed the distraction well but admitted it becomes an unavoidable issue that teammates have to deal with.
"It’s a little bit of a distraction maybe in the dressing room," Hossa said.
The best solution was the drop of the puck.
"When I jump on the ice, I was with my teammates and didn’t think about what was going on," Hossa said.
-- Craig Custance
Campbell recalls Sabres trade
Florida Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell went through the same situation as Suter with the Buffalo Sabres during the 2007-08 season when his contract was expiring before he was slated for unrestricted free agency. He declined to sign an extension during the season and ultimately was traded to San Jose.
Campbell said Friday that he understands the pressure and stress Suter is going through.
"It's not fun at times -- going through all that experience," Campbell said. "It should be a great time, but you never know what's going to happen. I'm not sure. Hopefully, he probably wants to stay in Nashville and have a home there. Myself, it takes time to see what develops. I'm happy. Everything's worked out great for me. I'm sure it'll work out well for him."
Weber is a restricted free agent July 1. Together with Suter, he forms the NHL's top defense pairing, and Campbell finds it hard to picture Nashville without that stud duo.
"It's kind of hard to picture [the] Nashville Predators without those two guys in the back end," Campbell said. "They realize how much they mean to that team, and it'd be pretty hard to see them not there."
-- Pierre LeBrun