"He loves hockey as much as anyone I've seen," Fisher said on Tuesday after practice. "He just loves to play; he brings a lot of excitement that is contagious."
The Predators teammates who know Radulov best didn't need to be reminded of his exuberance. The last time he played in the NHL playoffs, in 2008 against Detroit, Radulov's celebration concussed teammate Jason Arnott after Arnott's goal late in the third period of Game 3 gave Nashville the lead. Arnott wasn't the same in that series, and the Red Wings went on to win in six.
Former Predators goalie Dan Ellis was on the other end of the ice and witnessed the crazy scene when Radulov took down Arnott, who at 6-foot-5 isn't an easy guy to bring to the ice.
"It wasn't one of those situations where he was trying to hurt Jason; he was so extremely excited that he decided, 'Hey, I'm going to jump off the ice and bear-hug him,'" Ellis said during a Tuesday evening phone conversation. "Rad does a lot of stuff just out of emotion. He's not trying to do stuff that hurts the team. He gets so caught up in emotion and his body just takes over. That was one of those situations."
Radulov's game has matured and developed in the four years that have passed since he last played in the playoffs, but Shea Weber isn't taking any chances Wednesday night when Radulov makes his return to the NHL postseason.
"If he scores any goals, I'm going to get out of the way and try to stay healthy," Weber joked. "He's obviously excited."
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