by Mike Chen on 04/05/09 at 12:00 PM ET
(First off, this will be the final edition of Puck Rock for this season. I’ve got a list of players to hit up come next year and, if I get off my lazy butt, will be working on a pretty cool spin-off of this project over the summer. Stay tuned, and thanks for making this a successful and fun ride.)
Hockey fans know Ryan Suter as one of the keys to Nashville’s budding young blueline, along with being the nephew of former NHL All-Star Gary Suter. Fans in Nashville, though, might consider him one of their own, and it’s not just because Suter was drafted a Predator. Turns out Music City was a perfect fit for Suter as he’s a huge country music fan.
Was it a match made in heaven? From his play on the ice, the answer is a resounding yes as he continues to be one of the best young defensemen in the NHL (and most likely, Team USA 2010). Off the ice, Ryan’s enjoying the luxuries of being around country music royalty—and he’s the focus of this edition of Puck (Country) Rock.
As a big country music fan, what was your reaction when you realized you’d eventually be playing in Nashville?
I was excited. I was here in the city when I got drafted because the draft was here, so it was neat to see all of the honky-tonks on Broadway. It was a lot of fun and very exciting.
2005-2006 was your first full year in Nashville. What was your impression of “Music City” in your first year and did the music culture here meet your expectations?
It’s a big city, but it has that small town atmosphere. Everyone here is so friendly and nice.
(Mike’s note: This sounds like blogger extraordinaire James Mirtle’s impression of the city too.)
Where’s your favorite place in Nashville to kick back and hear live music?
(Preds fans/country music buffs—what do you think of Ryan’s picks and have you seen him there?)
The Preds have quite a few country-star fans. Have you had a chance to get to know any of your favorite musicians?
I got to meet James Otto when he came out and skated and that was really neat. I’ve not really had the chance to meet any of them, but I’d like to meet Brad Paisley and Kenny Chesney, and Rodney Atkins.
(Here’s a bit of James Otto…unfortunately, I couldn’t find any video of him skating with the Predators.)
Have you turned them into hockey fans?
No, but I’m still working on it.
(Mike’s note: One guy who became a big hockey fan is Garth Brooks, who not only supports the Preds but also played a Preds-only concert for them in appreciation of their charitable work.)
The NHL’s cameras followed you on your tour of Ryman Auditorium. What was it like getting a behind-the-scenes look at such a historic venue?
It was really neat. I got to hear the history of the auditorium and of all the guys who have played there.
(Here’s the video…)
Hockey players generally listen to hard rock or metal. What gets played in the Nashville locker room and do your teammates give you a hard time about your love of country?
Well, I listen to country, Rodney Atkins. Some of them do get annoyed with it, but who cares.
(Mike’s note: Hey Ryan, if Jordin Tootoo gets annoyed with it, pay Brad Staubitz to back you up on it. What do you think, Wade Belak?)
Hit shuffle on your iPod. What comes up?
George Strait, Garth Brooks, those kinds of guys.
What song would you love the Predators to skate out to at the beginning of each game?
“These Are My People” by Rodney Atkins.
You’ve just won the Stanley Cup. What song do you want the TV networks to put on the cheesy montage at the end?
“Chicken Fried” by the Zac Brown Band
Ottawa’s Mike Fisher is dating Carrie Underwood. Aren’t you just a tad bit jealous?
No, I’m not jealous at all.
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