There has never been a more anticipated return to Bridgestone Arena for a former Nashville Predator than there is for Ryan Suter tonight. Suter left Nashville via free agency last summer and ruffled a lot of feathers around the Predators organization and fan base in the process. He returns to the ice in Nashville tonight for the first time as a member of the opposing team.
According to Suter, his reasoning for leaving Minnesota had a lot to do with his family. His wife is from that area, and he felt like joining forces with Zach Parise and spending the next 13 years in Minnesota would be the best move for his family.
Suter has now been able to finally get adjusted to life in Minnesota and seems to be excited to be living there. His family has enjoyed their time in Minnesota so far, and Suter looks forward to the future of the Wild organization.
“It’s nice to be there. It’s nice for my family, for my wife, our two kids now. It’s nice for her. Great organization, and I’m happy to be a part of it. We have a great future ahead of us,” Suter said.
Because of the lengthy NHL lockout, one would think that making the transition to Minnesota would have been a little bit easier for Suter because it would give him time to get acclimated to his new life. However, the lockout hindered his ability to be able to really get to know his new teammates.
“I think it kind of worked the other way. You didn’t get to have the training camp with your new teammates and get to know them so I think it might have worked the other way, but now that we’re playing everything is good,” Suter said.
Tonight will be the third time this season that the Predators and Wild have met, but it’s the first time they have met in Nashville. The Predators have gotten used to playing against Suter and don’t hold any animosity toward him.
“It’s a little bit of a story line, a little bit more so for the media. We don’t hate the guy in the dressing room. He’s still a friend of ours. In the corner, we’re still going to give it to him a little bit,” said Predators forward Colin Wilson. “You start getting used to being in the league and having a guy in your dressing room, and then the next night playing against them. You get kind of used to it. Obviously with Sutes, it was weird maybe the first time seeing him in that uniform, but he’s still number 20. Just in a different jersey.”
Bridgestone Arena should have an electric atmosphere tonight. Fans in Nashville have built up palpable distaste for Suter that should translate into a unique atmosphere, perhaps unlike anything that has been seen before in Bridgestone Arena. The Predators will hope to use that atmosphere to their advantage.
“I think it’s going to be fun for the fans,” Wilson said. ” I think we build off of the fans and their energy, so it could definitely help us a little bit.”
Nashville scored six goals on Friday night against the Edmonton Oilers. On a team that has been struggling to score goals all season long, that’s a huge boost for their confidence heading into tonight’s game.
“It’s just getting that swagger around the net and a little bit more belief,” Wilson said. “It’s going to be a big game tonight because we have to be able to start doing it in back-to-back games and start doing it more. It should be a good test.”