The condensed schedule hasn’t encouraged Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz to spread out the team’s goaltending duties this season.
He’s asked netminder Pekka Rinne to start in 35 — and play in 36 — of Nashville’s 38 games so far this season. Now Trotz is implying that Rinne might start in all 10 of the Predators’ remaining games, according to the Tennessean.
“Right now we don’t have any wiggle room, so you have to go with your best. We had a plan way back when we started that (today’s) game would be (backup Chris) Mason, but things change,” Trotz said. “Right now we have to go with our best, and Peks is our best.”
If Rinne ends up playing in 46 of 48 games, it would likely be the most of any goaltender this season. The only netminder in a position to match that total would be Philadelphia’s Ilya Bryzgalov, but Bryzgalov is likely to get a breather at some point after the Flyers acquired Steve Mason on Wednesday.
It’s worth noting that Rinne also played in 22 KHL contests during the lockout, so he could end up playing in 68 games between the two leagues. That total is not out of the ordinary for him, although between the work stoppage and compacted NHL schedule, this has obviously been an unusual hockey season.