This morning I had the chance to watch morning skate. In fact, I arrived just in time to say “hello” to Pekka Rinne as he left the Admirals locker room before taking the ice. The Ads morning practice today was optional. As Dean Evason pointed out – no one decided to take the day off.
Rinne spent the first half hour of the practice taking shots and working through some rush drills from the group. Mike Liambas managed to be the first Ads skater to wire a shot past Rinne, blocker-side post and in, and a few others had some good shots in on him as well. Rinne may have been just a little off to start the practice but really looked the part as the practice trucked along. He also seemed genuinely excited to see familiar faces from his time in Milwaukee – such as Admirals owner Harris Turer. It’s a whirlwind for him right now. But it sure seems like he is having a blast.
Another highlight from today’s morning skate came in the form of Magnus Hellberg back on the ice. He may have sat out the first half of practice while Rinne, as well as Marek Mazanec, held both nets in practice – but he got some solid work in at the end of the session. It’s nice to see that he has gotten to that point in his comeback from a lower-body injury.
The media scrum for Pekka Rinne consisted of more than just myself and Dave Boehler for a change. We had folks from Nashville actually drive down to be here, Aaron Sims was on-hand, and even *gasp* Fox-6 News. Here’s the audio from the likes of Pekka Rinne, Dean Evason, and Magnus Hellberg from this morning.
Pekka Rinne discusses his health:
Rinne speaks about preparations for game action tonight:
Rinne’s expectations going into tonight:
Rinne on returning to Milwaukee:
Rinne on his development in Milwaukee:
Rinne’s thoughts of shots he faced from the Admirals in practice:
Rinne’s focus for tonight:
Rinne talks about Marek Mazanec and Magnus Hellberg:
Rinne on getting back in time for the Predators playoff push:
Rinne prepared for a great reception from Milwaukee fans tonight:
Dean Evason’s expectations for Pekka Rinne tonight:
Evason on the benefits of Admirals players being around Rinne:
Evason talking about the Ads gearing up for an optional skate today:
Evason’s thoughts on changing preparations for the offense:
Evason’s opinion of what he has seen from Filip Forsberg so far:
Evason talks about Forsberg’s attitude with the Admirals:
Evason speaks towards Forsberg’s future:
Evason believes Rinne is an example of how important AHL development can be:
Evason chats about Magnus Hellberg’s potential return to the fold:
Magnus Hellberg provides his own update:
Hellberg talks about pain tolerance from today’s practice:
Hellberg on the difficulty of being out injured:
Hellberg jokes that the media scrum was for him today:
Hellberg’s thoughts of having Rinne around the team:
Hellberg and I chat about how many goalies there will be once everyone gets healthy:
Hellberg discusses his bobblehead:
“I feel great. I’m excited to be back in Milwaukee. It’s obviously been a long road back but, right now, I’m just really happy to be back on the ice. I’ve been skating the last three weeks. And with the team since the end of the Olympic break. Now it is one step closer to getting back on the ice with Nashville. At the same time, this is a good opportunity for me to come back to Milwaukee and see everybody here.” Pekka Rinne
“I’ve done everything that you can possibly do just to re-create any kind of situations you could possibly face in a game – but, obviously, nothing is going to compare to actual games. We haven’t done any scrimmaging or anything like that. So this is my first game action in quite some time and, yeah, obviously really excited about it.” Pekka Rinne
“I spent three-years over here and everybody was so good to me. This was my first taste of USA kind of. I landed here and this was my home for three-years. In that way, absolutely it’s nice to be back. See all the fans. I’m pretty excited about that. We still have the same owners and all that. It’s really exciting for me. You kind of get to come here and feel comfortable right away. I don’t feel like a stranger. So, it’s a nice feeling. I’m pretty excited about playing here.” Pekka Rinne
“[Playing with the Milwaukee Admirals in the AHL] plays a big factor in my career. I always look back at this when reflecting back. Those three-years they were really big for me. On the ice – getting used to this North American hockey. Especially off the ice – I think that’s a really big part of the way you feel comfortable, the way you fit in, and all that kind of stuff. I think that was a huge deal. Getting comfortable with the language. Learning a new language. Taking care of yourself – paying the bills. This was the first place to do that and I got a lot of help if I ever needed any kind of help off the ice. Milwaukee has a big factor in my career.” Pekka Rinne
“In the beginning of the practice I didn’t feel super sharp. But, as the practice went along, I got more comfortable and started to feel like myself again. They’re really good prospects. Really good players. I faced them in the training camp before. Good players, so obviously they’re going to shoot well. It’s not a huge difference when you compare shots between AHL and NHL if you take Shea Weber away.” Pekka Rinne
“I’m really happy to just get back on the ice. It’s been tough watching games and not knowing when you’re going to be back. That’s been probably the toughest thing handling. Really happy to be back and hopefully, after these few games, I’m ready and able to help the [Predators].” Pekka Rinne
“I’m really happy. I mean, I thought that I always had a really good relationship with the fans [of Milwaukee]. It means a lot to me if that’s the case. I don’t really know what to expect. I’m sure that there’s going to be some fans here that were here also when I used to play here. So, I’m looking forward to that and for sure I remember a lot of the fans here.” Pekka Rinne
Comments from the comments? Bought your tickets for tonight yet? How do you think the team will do tonight with Pekka Rinne in net? What does his return, as well as the potential return of Magnus Hellberg, mean for the organization in terms of the amount of goalies they will have?