Preds can’t pinch pennies, must make deal to replace star goalie Pekka Rinne in short term

Adam Proteau
Pekka Rinne (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

Star goalie and Hart Trophy frontrunner Pekka Rinne was confirmed Thursday afternoon to be sidelined three-to-five weeks with a knee injury suffered in Tuesday’s game against Vancouver, and that’s about as calamitous as news can get for the Nashville Predators. Backup netminder Carter Hutton, winless (0-3-2) in six appearances, hasn’t put up numbers anywhere close to Rinne’s – although few have – and if the Preds intend on not squandering their astonishing run this season, GM David Poile is going to have to beat the bushes on the trade market for a short-term solution. And money can’t be an object.

With a payroll of approximately $60 million, Poile has the cap space to make the move. This team isn’t profitable enough yet to be a cap ceiling organization, but this represents a test of sorts for team ownership: spending a few more dollars to acquire a stop-gap measure in net might hurt their financial bottom line for this year, but the buzz a winning team produces would be worth it for the long-term interest it builds in the team in and around Nashville. This is the most exciting Predators squad many have ever watched, and no offense to Hutton, but if you’re a Preds fan, you should want more insurance alongside him to prevent the start of a freefall that can’t necessarily be pulled out of once Rinne comes back. Read more

If Rinne’s injury is serious, Predators could be in for a big fall

Jared Clinton
(John Russel/Getty Images)

Pekka Rinne picked up the win last night, but the Nashville Predators may have suffered their biggest loss of the season.

With more than 17 minutes remaining in the third period, with Nashville up 2-1 over the visiting Vancouver Canucks, Predators defenseman Anton Volchenkov and Canucks winger Chris Higgins collided and slid towards Rinne’s net. They made contact with the Vezina favorite, and the three players slid into the boards. What may have looked like an innocuous collision left Rinne attempting to stretch out in his crease before leaving the ice. He did not return. Read more

Not mad, just disappointed: 10 players we expected more from this season

Alex Semin

There are two sides to the surprise coin. On one side, you have the players who outperform even your wildest expectations. This season, they’ve taken the form of Colin Wilson, Mathieu Perreault, and several others. On the other, you have players who haven’t come close to expectations.

At the midpoint of the 2014-15 season, there are more than a few candidates for disappointing player of the campaign, but only one can take the cake. While fans of every team have the players they wish they would get more from, the following 10 are the ones that are playing well below the expectations this season. Read more

Here’s another save-of-the-year candidate from save-of-the-year candidate factory Pekka Rinne

Adam Proteau
Pekka Rinne (Getty Images)

Nashville Predators star goalie Pekka Rinne has jumped to the top of the Vezina Trophy contenders list because he’s been outstanding all season, but Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes, he pulled off something you rarely see: a backward kick save.

Nearing the halfway point of the first period, Rinne robbed Nathan Gerbe – with his back to the Canes left winger: Read more

Five vastly underrated players from this season’s first half

Colin Wilson. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

Not every team can be filled with Crosbys and Malkins or Getzlafs and Perrys. And for every Steven Stamkos, you have five middle of the lineup players that give a game-in and game-out effort that helps propel a team to success.

With the advent of advanced statistics, it becomes somewhat easier to pick these players out. For instance, you can find the players driving play and maintaining puck possession or you can see the player who may be underachieving in point categories but still creating opportunities for his linemates. The following five players are the best of the rest, and while they may not get headlines, they’re certainly getting noticed. Read more

In scene out of ‘Slap Shot,’ Preds radio guy takes puck in the head

Jared Clinton
Stu Grimson and Willy Daunic (via YouTube)

In the classic hockey movie Slap Shot, there’s a scene where the team starts turning exceptionally dirty, unleashes the Hanson Brothers, and no one is safe. Even the organist takes a puck in the head after it leaves the playing surface.

While it’s not exactly the same thing – Predators broadcaster Willy Daunic was rinkside, not up in the booth – there’s something about watching him get hit in the head with a puck that you just can’t help but kind of laugh at. Read more