It's official. Steve Sullivan will not be a Nashville Predator in the 2011-2012 season. The organization has chosen not to resign him, and he will become an unrestricted free agent on July 1. He was drafted by the New Jersey Devils in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft in the 9th round, and after stints with the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Chicago Blackhawks, he found himself with the Nashville Predators. Nashville acquired Sullivan on February 16, 2004 from Chicago for a couple of second round picks, and the rest is history. Here are Steve Sullivan's top 5 moments as a Nashville Predator.
5. December 14, 2009. Hat Trick at Columbus
Steve Sullivan loves to play against the Blue Jackets. That was never more apparent than on that Monday night in central Ohio. It was Sully's 7th career hat trick, but what makes this impressive is when it happened. At age 34, anytime you can score three goals in one game, it's noteworthy. It is not surprising that age was not a problem for a guy who was drafted with the 233rd overall pick and was doubted for his size. The word "can't" does not seem to be in Sully's dictionary which is one of the reasons he is so beloved by the Nashville Predator fanbase and across the NHL.
4. April 24, 2011. Sully Gives His Team the Lead vs
. Anaheim in Game 6
With the most important game in franchise history tied in the 2nd period, Steve Sullivan found the back of the net. J.P. Dumont found Sullivan, who was sneaking behind the defense, and Sully faked the forehand shot and calmly slid the puck behind Ray Emery. Though it was not the game-winner, the goal gave Nashville the momentum for the rest of the game which lead to the first playoff series victory in franchise history.
3. January 10, 2009. The Return
After a back injury that kept Sullivan out for much of the '06-'07 season, all of the '07-'08 season, and the first half of the '08-'09 season, Steve Sullivan made his much awaited return against his former team, the Chicago Blackhawks, on a Saturday night in Smashville. Many believed that Sully would hang it up and call it a career. He proved all of them wrong that night and beat the odds.
2. June 18, 2009. The Bill Masterson Award goes to...
So what is the reward for the hard work that Steve Sullivan put in throughout his rehabilitation process? The Bill Masterson Memorial Trophy. This award goes to the player "who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship, and dedication to hockey." Perseverance- Sully never gave up on himself during those two difficult years. Sportsmanship- Sullivan has always been classy and has always had a team first attitude. Dedication to hockey- It would have been easy for Sully to hang it up in and say "I'm done." but he loved the game so much that he knew he had more left in him to play the game he loved.
1. February 18, 2004. What a Debut!
This one goes back so far that I could not even find a video of it. Steve Sullivan's first game as a Nashville Predator was not a quiet one. Sully wrote the perfect story for a perfect debut that night with the hat trick- all three goals coming on the power play and all three goals being assisted by Scott Walker and Marek Zidlicky. Nashville went on to win the game 7-3 over the San Jose Sharks that Wednesday night and then went on to their first playoff appearance in franchise history.
You will be missed Sully. Good luck in the rest of your career and life. Thank you for your time in Smashville.
Photo Credit: Nashville Predators