Lost in the shuffle of yesterday’s Admirals news and game was a development from the Nashville Predators and goaltender Pekka Rinne. He practiced in full gear yesterday.
— Predlines.com (@PredlinesNSH) February 7, 2014
Per Thomas Willis of Predlines (source):
Today, Rinne was on the ice along with goaltender coach Mitch Korn and a handful of other Predators players. Although the team’s practice was officially canceled, Rinne faced shots from forward Viktor Stalberg and defenseman Mattias Ekholm. The former All-Star goalie looked uninhibited while making saves, making several nice stops. Rinne actively took part in a few mini-drills with Korn and faced some shots before exiting the ice about 15 minutes later.
This news comes just one game before the Olympic break begins for the Nashville Predators. The team plays tonight in Nashville against the Anaheim Ducks. For Rinne, it marks the next big step in his recovery process. He has been out of game action since October after an infection to his hip – which he had surgery on in May of last year. No time tables. No real word of future plans, but the sight of him back in full gear says he is in a very good place as of now.
With the Olympic break beginning after tonight’s Predators game, and ending on Feb. 27, one wonders what the next steps will be in Rinne’s road to game shape. This season I have heard everything from: he’ll be back before the Olympics, he won’t play this season, he’ll be back after the Olympics, etc etc. The way that I see this working out is that the Predators are working on Rinne’s schedule – not the other way around. It’s important that he is in no way rushed back too soon and set up to fail. He is one of the most, if not the most, important players in the organization. With the way the Predators season is trudging along without him – it only stresses the point to be that much more patient in his health and recovery.
Should he keep trending upward from the visual above, practicing in full gear, it does open the door for a return to the Milwaukee Admirals this season in the form of a possible rehab stint. Pekka Rinne played with the Admirals for three-seasons from 2005-08. He played in 145 games, won 81 games, had 10 shutouts, a 2.54 GAA, and a 0.911 SV%. He was voted as the top Admiral of All-Time last season. Were he to make a return appearance to the Admirals – I’m certain it would be special for all involved.
What do you make of Pekka Rinne’s injury and potential return date? When can we expect him back in action and could he be in Admirals gear again this season?