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Vitaly…We Hardly Knew Thee

July 10, 2007

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The Predators lost another unrestricted free agent yesterday when the New Jersey Devils signed Vitaly Vishnevski to a three year deal worth a reported 5.4 million dollars. This is a player that no one in the organization or fans of the Preds expected to resign.

“Vitaly Vishnevski is a defenceman who brings a physical presence to our hockey team,” Devils President and GM Lou Lamoriello said in a statement. “He has both size and experience, and we feel he can play our type of hockey.”

Hmmmm…those words all sound so familar. I seem to remember Preds GM David Poile saying something similar when the Preds traded Eric Belanger (who never suited up once for the Preds)to the Thrashers (only after we traded Josef Vasicek to the Hurricanes for Belanger) for what was supposed to be a big physical blue line presence. That was all before Vitaly was a healthy scratch in more games than he played in. Before David Poile apologized to Vitaly, in front of the netire team following elimination in the playoffs, for bringing him here only to have sit and watch (a classy move btw!).

Deep down I think Vitaly is a good player and I would not be surprised to see him do well in NJ. Ultimately he was, unfortunately, a victim of a numbers game here in Nashville. With the play of our top six last year there was no room and with some fragile players up front having an extra D-man did not make sense.

We bid thee farewell Vitaly…good luck.

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