Preds’ Rinne makes progress, still no timetable for game action

Nashville Predators goalie Pekka Rinne is making some nice strides in practice, but it’s still not clear when he’ll actually suit up for a game, the Tennessean reports.

Specifically, Rinne was able to drop to his knees to make saves and generally move around more fluidly than before on Monday.

“This last week was the first time I was taking shots, and on my knees, moving laterally and stuff like that,” Rinne said. “Obviously I need to get more repeats, a lot more ice time, but I’m feeling good, and that’s the main thing.”

Rinne underwent hip surgery on May 9 after being hampered by it for much of the 2013 season.

While he’s obviously making progress, Rinne admitted that there’s still no timetable for his return to actual game action. Simply enough, he said it’s “up to my hip.”

The 30-year-old Finn saw his save percentage slide from .923 in 2011-12 to .910 in 2013 and was under .500 (15-6-8 in 43 games played) as both the goalie and his team struggled.

Nashville paid up big this summer, yet the biggest factor for success might come down to a healthy Rinne being at the top of his game, especially since they’re rolling with an inexperienced backup in Carter Hutton.

So far, the outlook seems positive.

In Jets return, Burmistrov delivers headshot to Bergeron

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Didn’t take long for Alex Burmistrov to make his presence felt — though not in a good way.

Burmistrov, playing in his first game for the Jets after a two-year stint in Russia, delivered a questionable elbow to the head of Boston’s Patrice Bergeron late in the first period of Thursday’s season-opener:

Burmistrov received a two-minute minor for an illegal check to the head, while Bergeron received a matching minor for roughing (retaliating for the elbow, specifically).

The Bruins went into the intermission leading 1-0, and have yet to update Bergeron’s status.

Ducks name Kesler alternate captain

Ryan Kesler
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For the second time in his career, Ryan Kesler is wearing an “A.”

On Thursday, the Anaheim Ducks announced that Kesler would serve as one of the club’s alternate captains this season, taking over for Francois Beauchemin, who signed in Colorado this summer.

With the move, Kesler joins Anaheim’s existing leadership group of captain Ryan Getzlaf, and alternate Corey Perry.

“It’s an honor,” Kesler said, per the Ducks. “It’s special. I’m going to wear it with pride and lead by example.”

As mentioned earlier, Kesler has some experience as an alternate — he wore an “A” in Vancouver from 2008-13, but had it removed prior to the start of the ’13-14 campaign.

It’s not surprising Anaheim went in this direction. GM Bob Murray made a huge investment in Kesler this summer by inking the 31-year-old to a six-year, $41.25M extension.