Steve Sullivan Also Wants Hit on Marcel Goc Reviewed
"I absolutely hope the league takes a look," Sullivan said by phone. "We all watched video at the start of the year about the kinds of hits we're trying to avoid."
Sullivan said he didn't believe that Backstrom was trying to intentionally deliver a hit while Goc was in a vulnerable position, but, he said, "We've got to clean this up. With something like that, there's no way to protect yourself."
Goc remains day-to-day with an upper body injury, and the Predators are a little dinged up elsewhere, including in net: goalie Pekka Rinne hasn't played since Anaheim's Troy Bodie fell on him in the season opener.
Sullivan said Monday he suspects that Rinne is just about ready to go; Nashville's next game is Tuesday night at home against Calgary, and Martin Erat (back) could be back in action then, too. Matthew Lombardi, a key offseason pickup, is out with an upper-body injury, and like Goc, could be out another week or so.
Sullivan, meanwhile, is healthy -- he's got even more jump than he had last season, his first full season after a back injury. He played in all 82 games, and now he's established a strong routine to make sure he's in top condition, knowing what works best with him.
"I don't feel any different, but I'm out of the blocks faster," Sullivan told FanHouse. "My first three strides are quicker, my shot is a little harder and more precise."
Sullivan was no slouch in the scoring department last season. He matched Patric Hornqvist for the team lead in points, with 51. And he has zipped out quickly this month with four goals in the team's four games. Part of that is the fact that he's feeling comfortable and confident after last season's clean bill of health, and part of it is the fact that he's played an entire year with Hornqvist and the two click well.
A third cog is contributing to the chemistry, too: center Cal O'Reilly is meshing well with Sullivan and Hornqvist and proving adept at feeding the wings.
"Great addition," Sullivan said. "When you're open, you know you're going to get it."
The Predators have gotten off to a strong start, with three wins and one overtime loss (to the Capitals). Their early schedule isn't all that kind, but the team appears to be thriving on that. In their second game, the Predators beat the Blackhawks in Chicago. The Stanley Cup champs had knocked Nashville out in six games in the first round last April.
Then it was the Capitals, and Thursday, it's the Penguins in Nashville.
"We've been playing a lot of good teams," Sullivan said. "It's a good test for us. We're not easing into things, and we didn't want to. During the preseason, we were playing real games with refs, we wanted to get into the thick of things right away. This is really good for us. The West is tough all year long, and points now are just as important as points later."