Patric Hornqvist “proud” to be named an alternate captain

Patric Hornqvist (Sarah Fuqua)

The Nashville Predators gave Patric Hornqvist a new five-year, $21.25 million deal in April. Today, they have him the second “A.”

Mr. Irrelevant of the 2005 NHL Draft has been named one of the alternate captains for the 2013-14 season.

“I’m really proud,” Hornqvist said. “But it’s not going to change my game. I’m going to come to the rink the same way I’ve been doing for the last five years but, obviously, it’s a big a moment in my career.”

While there were plenty of candidates, the Stockholm, Sweden, native edged out veterans like steady defensemanĀ Kevin Klein, former Minnesota Wild alternateĀ Matt Cullen and original Predator David Legwand.

“Probably the best respect you can get from your peers is when they look down the bench and go ‘Man, he brings it every night,'” Head Coach Barry Trotz said. “That was probably the deciding factor. He’s a guy that really brings it every night and I don’t think that’s questionable.”

Hornqvist is a three-time 20-goal and a two-time 45-point scorer. But more than stats, he exudes a never-say-die attitude every time he’s on the ice. You could say he exudes “the Predator way.” And no one play illustrated that more than his diving stop in the waning moments on April 6 of last season.

Down 1-0 with less than 2:00 left, Hornqvist hustled 150 feet, diving head-first in order to prevent an empty net goal. He crashed into the post at full speed, dislodging the net. All in a game that meant next to nothing.

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“That was a Predator that night,” Trotz said about that play. “We were eliminated, he was injured a lot more than people knew and he battled, he dove, he saved a goal. Those are intangibles. That’s why you win.

“It’s those effort plays, it’s the intensity, it’s the enthusiasm, it’s paying the price in the front of the net, in the corners, all in those dirty areas that I think you get a lot of respect from your peers.”

But, with the added responsibility, can he afford to play with that all-out mentality?

“I try to bring it every night and give a lot of energy in the room and in practice and in the game,” Hornqvist said. “That was a big plus for me and I’m standing here now and I’m really proud.”

Mike Fisher is the other alternate while Shea Weber is the captain for the fourth straight season.

PHOTO CREDIT: Sarah Fuqua (used with permission)