Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Alanah McGinley on 09/25/11 at 04:04 AM ET
From Ken Wiebe via Slam Sports:
The end result saw Tootoo enter the NHL’s substance abuse program last December and emerge with a clearer mind and an improved game.
“He’s got his life in order,” said Predators head coach Barry Trotz. “He’s had a lot of demons and a lot of things that get in the way. If you’re your life and your head is not clear, then it’s just full of clutter. You don’t have the motivation, you don’t have the instinct, all of those things. He couldn’t grow as a hockey player anymore.
“When he came back, I thought he had the best stretch of his career. Not only is he still a force with the physical contact and as a tough, game-changing type of guy. But those skills that we knew he always had, are starting to come to the forefront. He’s capable of producing a lot, he’s capable of being a higher contributing guy in our lineup and he wants to do that. He’s very proud of the fact he had to change his life and it’s not really easy.”
So what was it that led the 28-year-old Tootoo to realize that he needed to get help?
“There comes a point in life where you have to take a few steps back and reevaluate your whole situation,” said Tootoo, whose older brother Terrence committed suicide in August of 2002.
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