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At the Rink blog

Suter back in for Predators

Monday, 01.23.2012 / 12:45 PM

By John Manasso - NHL.com Correspondent / At the Rink blog

NASHVILLE -- Predators defenseman Ryan Suter will return to the lineup tonight when his team hosts the Columbus Blue Jackets, securing his ability to play in the 2012 Tim Hortons NHL All-Star Game.

Suter, who ranks third in the League in average time on ice at 26:30, missed the last three games with an upper-body injury, potentially jeopardizing his ability to play in his first All-Star Game. However, that issue seems to have resolved itself.

"What I said before was if I don't play with my team before the All-Star break, then it's not fair to go and play in something like that," said Suter, who turned 27 on Saturday. "Hopefully, everything goes well in the next couple of days and go have fun."

Nashville coach Barry Trotz said Suter wanted to play in Saturday's 5-2 win against Chicago, but the team held him out as a precaution.

Suter's return comes at an opportune time for Nashville, as veteran defenseman Francis Bouillon is day-to-day with an upper-body injury. Bouillon got hurt Saturday and did not return.

It's hard to walk into that locker room and look those guys in the eye when they've played -- clearly, that was our best game we've played in the series -- and I thought we deserved a better fate tonight.

— Tampa Bay Lightning coach Jon Cooper on his team's 3-2 loss to the Canadiens in Game 3 on Sunday