What Happened To Tootoo?

DETROIT - MARCH 14: Jordin Tootoo #22 of the Nashville Predators skates against the Detroit Red Wings during their NHL game at Joe Louis Arena on March 14, 2007 in Detroit, Michigan. The Red Wings defeated the Predators 4-2. (Photo By Dave Sandford/Getty Images)
(Photo Source: Yardbarker.com)

 

Jordin Tootoo…Where have you gone?  I can clearly recall going to games before the arena was filled with your obnoxiously fantastic whistles.  You were a mighty terror.  Sure your shifts were short, but they were filled with more intense energy than I had ever seen from one of our players.  I remember – you’d jump over the boards, lock-on to your target, and charge full bore to try and blast them into the glass.  It was truly a sight to be seen.  You instilled fear into our opponents that knocked them off their game and put them on tilt, which meant a huge advantage for the rest of our team.  Jordin, do you remember when you laid out Mike Modano, only to follow it up with a clean straight right to the face of a charging Stephane Robidas?  That is exactly the kind of Jordin Tootoo intensity that I haven’t seen in a while, and I’d like it to reappear this year. 

 Ok, so maybe Tootoo has been battling nagging injuries for a while and hasn’t been a true 100 percent.  If that’s the case, I forgive him and invite him to blow me away with awe-inspiring play this season.  But I think the more likely scenario is that he has convinced himself he can be more than a 3rd or 4th line grinder and is trying to do things differently and step out of his comfort zone.  If that is true, I’d like to cite Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn as an example of why not to learn how to throw a curveball and pitch for endurance when 3 outs worth of 100 mph heaters is why you earn your money.  Jordin Tootoo is truly a top tier, if not the league’s best agitator (when he is performing).  Sure, the occasional goal or assist is fantastic, but it’s not why the team has decided to extend his contract for another two years.  

I’ve heard it from fans and had this discussion plenty of times.  I know that Jordin Tootoo is evolving into a smarter, more experienced player.  I think it’s great that he’s not taking stupid penalties that could be potential game-breakers.  BUT…while evolving into a smarter, more efficient player, he can’t lose his true identity if he wants to remain relevant.  I seriously doubt the Predators marketing department would have deemed it appropriate to sell $7 whistles named after one of their 15-20 point 4th liners unless there was something special about him.  Will he be able to dig deep and find the energy that once made him a player to be feared this season? 

 I don’t want anyone to think that I’m bashing Jordin Tootoo, because I’m not.  In my mind, he is one of the greatest Nashville Predators of all time.  The Preds have never been a big budget team full of major talent.  We have always been a team full of dedicated, hard working, and talented young players just like Tootoo.  He truly embodies what our team is all about.  But I really hope he reestablishes himself this year.  I’d hate to see him get waived near the end of his contract and get no takers only to become a career American league player.  

 Come on #22!  Play like the old #14 or #55 and you’ll be fine.

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