NASHVILLE One element was noticeably lacking when the Detroit Red Wings lost in five games in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs last year to the Nashville Predators.
Namely, it was grit.
When Predators captain Shea Weber slammed the head of the Wings' Henrik Zetterberg into the boards at the conclusion of Game 1, it fell to aging veteran Todd Bertuzzi to respond in Game 2 by challenging Weber to a fight. Truly, he was about the only one on the team capable of doing so.
So what did the Red Wings do on the first day of NHL free agency last year? They signed one of Nashville's grittiest players, fan favorite Jordin Tootoo, to a three-year, 5.7-million deal.
On Tuesday, Tootoo made his first trip back to play against the team with which he spent his first eight seasons. Fresh insights were all around. He said after inking his deal, there were no meetings with coach Mike Babcock or general manager Ken Holland.
"I think I know my role pretty well," he said. "My foundatio...