After reaching the playoffs in seven of the previous eight seasons, Nashville crashed to second-to-last place in the Western Conference with 41 points this year. While many factors go into a plummet like this, the fact that goaltender Pekka Rinne‘s hip weighed him down even during the abridged season and eventually required offseason surgery played a big role in dooming this spring for the Predators.
“It was progressing from the year earlier, and a year is a pretty short period of time,” Rinne said, via The Tennessean. “It was getting worse and the MRI pictures kind of showed that. … I just wanted to be able to play a lot of games and not have something in the back of my mind to worry about.”
Rinne expects to bounce back in a huge way after his succesful hip surgery and the full offseason of recovery that is to come. It’s reasonable to bank on the veteran netminder returning closer to his 2012-2013 form when he went 43-18-8 with a .923 save percentage and 2.39 goals-against average, compared to his most recent marks of 15-16-8, .910 and 2.43 GAA.
“I was disappointed that I can’t have a normal summer and do all the things I usually do in the offseason, but you just have to do as good a job as you can,” Rinne said. “There are still plenty of things that after a month or six weeks … we’ll see how much more intensive the rehab and training gets. Every week I get to do a lot more, and I’m just hoping that by July and August I can start training a little more and more. It still gives me time to get ready.”