by Forechecker on 02/18/09 at 12:45 PM ET
Nashville Predators fans often complain about the lack of quality local media coverage, but in this morning’s Tennessean Jessica Bliss does a fine job with a tough, but fair appraisal of Steve Sullivan’s contribution so far as the Preds attempt a run for the playoffs. The piece is titled “Steve Sullivan skates, but not much else”:
Without a doubt, the fact that Steve Sullivan is skating is remarkable.
The Predators winger missed almost two full NHL seasons with back issues that necessitated multiple surgeries, months of rehabilitation, and all but paralyzed his career.
Still, on Jan. 10, he defied the injury by returning to competition. For more than a month he has injected life into the Predators’ lineup by sparking the offensive output of his teammates.
Now, it’s time for him to the take the next step by igniting his own.
This is something I addressed last week, and it’s a fine line that Barry Trotz needs to walk; Sully needs the ice time to get back into a playing groove, but in the meantime, he’s a liability in 5-on-5 action. My suggestion would be to manage his ice time based on the score. When within a goal, use him mostly on the power play. When the gap is two goals or more, go ahead and play him. Right now, the team can ill afford lost opportunities while waiting for Sullivan to find his scoring touch.
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