Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne is an early contender for the Vezina Trophy, but put him in a one-on-one situation after overtime and he’s very beatable.
Rinne has suffered an NHL-high five shootout losses and has an abysmal .556 save percentage in that category. For a team that frequently can’t settle games in the first 60 minutes, that’s a big problem.
“I feel like I’m probably not so comfortable right now in shootout situations,” said Rinne, according to The Tennessean.
“It’s rough when you don’t do well in shootouts because in the past, I feel like it’s always been something that I liked and I’ve been pretty strong in them. This year it’s just that something is missing and I get frustrated over that, and I should be just even-keeled.”
Rinne would describe himself as “terrible in the shootouts” so far this season, but Predators coach Barry Trotz wasn’t nearly as harsh on his goaltender.
Trotz feels his shooters need to do a better job giving Rinne some breathing room in shootouts. He also thinks that Rinne is putting too much pressure on himself.
“He knows we win a couple shootouts, we’re in fifth place, not 11th, and that’s just the difference right now,” Trotz said. “He’s so competitive. He’s just got to relax a little bit. I know it’s hard when he’s so competitive, but he’s a big reason we even get points a lot of nights.”
Nashville will start a rough five games in eight days road trip on Tuesday with a contest against the Dallas Stars. They will be relying heavily on Rinne to get them through it.
Hockey’s training camps and exhibition games share a lot of similarities, big-picture wise, with other sports.
As much as they’re all about evaluating players trying to make rosters and rule tweaks heading into each season, the “winners” of a pre-season may just be the teams that make it out without any significant injuries. The St. Louis Blues aren’t one of those winners.
Sanford is expected to miss five-to-six months after undergoing shoulder surgery. That virtually wipes out an important season for a guy who was still trying to stake his claim to a full-time roster spot.
Bouwmeester’s situation is probably more troubling, potentially, as he’s already a key defenseman for the Blues (averaging more than 22 minutes last season, which was a slight decrease from recent work). The team announced that Bouwmeester suffered a fractured ankle and will be re-evaluated in three weeks.
As tormenting as day-to-day updates can be, “check back in three weeks” makes for even great anxiety.
It does open up some opportunities for other players in the Blues organization, for whatever that’s worth.
If Blues weren't planning so already, Bouwmeester injury likely means Edmundson-Pietrangelo open together. Also opens door for Dunn/Walman.
The Senators selected White 21st overall in the 2015 NHL Draft. After two years at Boston College, he signed his entry-level deal in April and appeared in two regular season games for Ottawa. He also appeared in a Stanley Cup playoff game, though he only saw 2:39 of ice time.
That’s certainly disappointing for White, who could’ve had a shot to make the big club out of training camp. One of the question marks for Ottawa had been the status of fellow center Derick Brassard, who had offseason shoulder surgery with a recovery timeline of four to five months.
“I come here and worry about myself, do the right things on and off the ice, take care of my body. If I’m playing well and taking care of my game, I’ll fight for a spot,” White told the Ottawa Citizen prior to training camp.
It was a little on the foggy side for Canucks practice in Shanghai
The Vancouver Canucks dealt with some adverse conditions as they hit the ice at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai in preparation for this week’s 2017 NHL China Games exhibition series versus the L.A. Kings.
According to the pictures, it was a little on the foggy side for their practice.
Dating back to late June, the NHL had vowed to call slashing more closely after a number of incidents last season, including Marc Methot‘s gruesome finger injury, which was the result of a slash to the hands from Sidney Crosby.
Monday’s game between the Islanders and Rangers featured nine slashing minor penalties. The Devils and Capitals were only 41 seconds into their preseason game Monday when Jimmy Hayes was called for slashing. A total of six slashing minors were called in that game — not to mention three faceoff violations.
There’s been talk of being harder on slashing following several wrist, hand and finger injuries last season from dangerous stick work. “Now, as soon as your stick is off the ice and you touch the other players’ stick or hands, it was zero tolerance today,” Eller said. More surprising was the three faceoff violation penalties called in the first period of the game. That also represented a new emphasis from the league. “Cheating” on faceoffs has been commonplace, and for centers who’ve made their name winning faceoffs with a certain style and routine, staying perfectly within the red lines in the circle was an adjustment.
According to Mark Spector of Sportsnet, the Senators-Maple Leafs game Monday also featured three faceoff violations. It appears right now there will be quite an adjustment for players across the league to the apparent crackdown on slashing and faceoff violations, especially early on.
However, will this be the standard for the entire season? For the playoffs?
“I have a tough time believing that in the playoffs, in Game 7, that kind of call is going to be made,” Mark Letestu told Sportsnet. “Right now, there’s an overemphasis on it, and hopefully it doesn’t go all the way back to where it was.”