-- Alexander Radulov
couldn't wait any longer.
Despite a hectic week in which he finished the season in Russia's Kontinental Hockey League, finalized an agreement to return to Nashville, was re-introduced at a Predators press conference and hastily took part in two practices, Radulov will be in the lineup against Pittsburgh on Thursday night.
An already intriguing game between the Predators and the Penguins became even more of a marquee matchup when coach Barry Trotz revealed Radulov would play. After a press conference Wednesday in Nashville, the team said it wouldn't decide whether Radulov would play until after the morning skate at Consol Energy Center.
Radulov is widely considered to be the best player in hockey who wasn't already in the NHL. Radulov last played for Nashville in 2007-08, totaling 26 goals and 32 assists in 81 games, before deciding to accept a big-money contract to play in the KHL. He also played for the Predators in 2006-07, getting 18 goals and 19 assists in 64 games.
Radulov was a two-time MVP of the KHL, where he won a championship and was chosen as the championship MVP. He also won an IIHF World Championship and played in the Olympics. This season, he had 20 goals and 60 assists in 54 games.
Radulov is expected to play on a line with center David Legwand
and the Predators' leading scorer, Patric Hornqvist
"We're not going to put him at risk," Trotz said of monitoring Radulov's playing time. "When he's getting real tired obviously we'll pull him back. We'll just have dialogue, Rad just said, 'Let's talk on the bench.' He said, 'You'll see when I'm dying out,' and we'll know."
Author: Alan Robinson | NHL.com Correspondent