Pekka Rinne

Yes, even Pekka Rinne can have a slump


Being the man in goal for the Nashville Predators has made for a good living for Pekka Rinne. His team plays tough defense in front of him and he’s already exceptionally talented.

It’s no wonder that while Rinne has fallen on hard times of late not looking like his other-worldly self that his teammates and coaches aren’t too concerned with seeing a few more pucks than usual get by him. Predators goalie coach Mitch Korn tells Joshua Cooper of The Tennessean there’s no reason to be alarmed with how Rinne is doing.

“There are ebbs and flows in the season kind of like you go through those stretches in life where today the dryer broke and yesterday the air conditioning didn’t go on and you had a flat tire,” Korn said on Friday. “It happens. If you sit down and look at it there have been some goofy things that have happened that not even a goalie like Patrick Roy would have stopped.”

Well, when you put it that way everyone can feel at ease when they have an off day.

Korn’s got it right though. All season long, Rinne has been outstanding and having a few games in a row that stink is just going to happen. Of course, you’d like to not have three out of seven shots from the Oilers get by you or see the Penguins put a five spot up, but that’s how it goes sometimes.

That said, if the Predators are going to lay claim to fourth in the West, beating Winnipeg and Chicago this weekend would be a good way to snap to it and Rinne (along with Anders Lindback) will have to be on top of it to make it happen.

Lightning’s first fight this season: Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo

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Fighting is down more or less across the board in the NHL, but the Tampa Bay Lightning might be the franchise least interested in dropping the gloves.

Ryan Callahan vs. Kyle Okposo already has some name recognition to it, yet it gets some bonus points for being the Bolts’ first fighting major of 2015-16.

It … probably loses those bonus points in being run-of-the-mill.

Hey, be fair; the Lightning are clearly out of practice.

Oilers GM doesn’t want to force a trade for the sake of a trade

Peter Chiarelli

It must be a helpless feeling to sit idly by while your team continues to flail, but such emotions are what opposing GMs love to prey on.

Edmonton Oilers GM Peter Chiarelli hasn’t been around through much of the suffering for this hapless franchise, yet that doesn’t mean he’s immune to the calls for improvement. To his credit, he’s not buckling under that pressure.

You can see and hear his full comments below:

If you don’t feel like playing the video, the message is simple enough.

Chiarelli isn’t happy with Edmonton’s record – he hasn’t “seen progression” in ways that he was expecting, but again … he doesn’t want to force moves.

Long story short, he can “sleep at night,” even if he’s disappointed.

Is he right to take a relaxed approach, though? Maybe it’s time to blow up a part of what isn’t working? Have some fun armchair GM’ing on this one.

Slump busters: Simmonds, Couturier end long scoring droughts in win over Rangers


It’s been a good few days to be a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers, as their team delivered not once, but twice during Thanksgiving weekend.

The Flyers picked up a 3-2 OT win over the Predators on Friday before shutting out the New York Rangers, 3-0, on Saturday.

It was a good afternoon for three players in particular.

Both Wayne Simmonds and Sean Couturier ended long scoring slumps.

Simmonds’ two goals were his first in seven games, while Couturier scored for the first time in his last 13 contests.

Goaltender Steve Mason also had a solid outing against the Rangers.

The 27-year-old turned aside all 24 shots he faced including this great save on Dominic Moore:

The Flyers lost defenseman Nick Schultz to an upper-body injury in the first period after he took a big hit from Dylan McIlrath.

Luke Schenn defended his fallen teammate by dropping the gloves with McIlrath, which didn’t go unnoticed by his teammates.

The Rangers are now on a season-high three-game losing streak. Their lack of effort has to be concerning for their head coach Alain Vigneault.

The Flyers outshot the Rangers 30-14 over the final 40 minutes.

Video: Flyers lose Schultz after big hit from McIlrath


It looks like the injury bug has taken another chunk out of the Philadelphia Flyers.

The Flyers, who are already without Mark Streit, Ryan White and R.J. Umberger, have now lost Nick Schultz to injury.

Schultz left Saturday’s game against the Rangers in the first period after taking a hit from Rangers defenseman Dylan McIlrath.

Luke Schenn went after McIlrath right after he delivered the hit and both players dropped the gloves.

Schultz did not return.

You can watch the entire sequence by clicking on the video at the top of the page.

The 33-year-old has just one assist in 23 games, but he leads the Flyers in blocked shots with 54.