Former Nashville Predators defenseman Mark Borowiecki probably picked the right time to retire.
The 33-year-old Ottawa native dealt with a series of concussions and mental health issues over the last three seasons that forced him to miss 163 games.
And over the 83 games Borowiecki played with Nashville, he accumulated 19 fighting majors and developed a reputation as a player most didn’t want to fight — a reputation Borowiecki recently admitted on the “Coming in Hot” podcast that he developed after some professional mixed martial arts training.
“I actually trained to fight a little bit,” he said. “MMA guys, I trained with them a lot. I was in a better place mentally where I didn’t view fighting as this like kill-or-be-killed. This is just part of my job. I enjoyed the technical aspect of it. I think I sort of turned over a new leaf in Nashville and was more at peace with that role and am just more comfortable with it. I think I had 13 fights and went 11-2. Guys went, ‘You’re a killer’ and I’m like, ‘I’m a bit of a wiener out there to be honest.’ I was a punching bag for most of my career. I just sort of figured it out.”
The Predators had a 192-game sellout streak from 2015 to 2021, and as the team increased in popularity, ticket prices increased as well. In fact, from 2019 to 2022, the Predators experienced a 23 percent spike in average ticket price — the highest in the NHL over that period.
Though new Predators head coach Andrew Brunette believed he would get a second chance at being an NHL head coach, he may not have thought it would come as quickly as it did.
In a recent interview with NJ.com, Brunette admitted he saw his associate head coaching job with the New Jersey Devils as an opportunity to audition for a potential future head coaching gig. Brunette’s work with the Devils group of young forwards caught the eye of Predators general manager Barry Trotz, leading to his hire as John Hynes’ successor.
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(Photo: David Russell for Nashville Hockey Now)