Rinne (hip) pushes next step in rehab back two weeks

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The Nashville Predators have patched things together with inexperienced backups Carter Hutton and Marek Mazanec, but fans were probably hoping for a more optimistic Pekka Rinne update on Friday. Instead, the team announced that it will take at least two more weeks for him to ramp up his rehab from a frightening hip infection.

The hope was that the 31-year-old would be able to begin more “strenuous activity” beginning today, but instead, he’ll stick with limited activity for now.

Despite that dour news, the Predators also insisted that Rinne hasn’t experienced any setbacks.

However, as we have realized and learned throughout this process, the recovery and rehabilitation from a bacterial infection does not involve a specific timetable. It does come with a degree of uncertainty.

To that end, and in taking every possible precaution to insure the bacterial infection is managed and controlled with a goal of returning Pekka to full strength, the doctors have recommended Pekka remain on limited activity for two weeks before considering more strenuous activity in his recovery and rehabilitation.

The Predators said they’ll monitor him daily and provide “frequent updates as warranted.”

Beyond the immediate implications for the up-and-down Predators, there’s also the question of the 2014 Winter Olympics. With Finland’s wealth of options in net, one cannot help but question whether the highly paid netminder will be able to make it to Sochi.

Video: Mike Fisher ends Nashville’s nasty goal drought

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No, the Nashville Predators did not forget how to score goals … or at least they were lifted from that amnesia on Wednesday.

Mike Fisher lifted the curse 13:52 into the first period of tonight’s game against the Buffalo Sabres. You can watch that rare beast in the video above.

They had been shut out for three straight games and pretty close to four in pure game time.

On this subject, PHT’s Jason Brough asked Predators GM David Poile if he was considering moving a defenseman to improve in another area earlier today.

Struggling Sabre Tyler Ennis out with upper-body injury

Tyler Ennis, James Wisniewski
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Tyler Ennis can probably relate with the Buffalo Sabres’ opponent on Wednesday, as he’s struggling almost as much as the Nashville Predators.

Perhaps some of that has to do with health?

Whether that’s the case or not, Ennis is out for the Sabres tonight, as the team announced that he’s dealing with an upper-body injury.

The Buffalo News discussed Ennis’ struggles in this article.

“I’d say he’s pressing too much. You can’t make those plays in every situation and in every point you touch the puck,” Dan Bylsma said to the Buffalo News. “ … He’s just got to simplify his game. He is a special player who can make those plays, but he can’t be trying to do it every time he touches the puck.”

He’ll need to wait a while to start getting things together, anyway.

WATCH LIVE: Wednesday Night Rivalry (Flyers-Islanders; Blackhawks-Sharks)

Ryan White, Matt Martin
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You can check out tonight’s Wednesday Night Rivalry doubleheader on NBCSN, and you can also stream them online.

Here are the handy links for the two contests.

First, the New York Islanders host the Philadelphia Flyers.


After that, the Chicago Blackhawks visit the San Jose Sharks.


Braun out with upper-body injury; Zubrus to make Sharks debut

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The San Jose Sharks will be missing a top-4 defenseman tonight when they host the defending champs from Chicago.

Justin Braun has an upper-body injury. His status is considered day-to-day.

“Brauny has been one of our unsung heroes here through the first quarter of the season,” coach Peter DeBoer told CSN Bay Area. “He’s played some outstanding hockey. So, we’re going to miss him, but it’s a great opportunity for Mueller and Tennyson and one of these guys to establish themselves. It’s a great opportunity for us to reward Dillon for how well he’s played.”

Against the Blackhawks, Brenden Dillon will take Braun’s spot on the top pairing alongside Marc-Edouard Vlasic; Paul Martin and Brent Burns will stay together on the second pairing; and 20-year-old Mirco Mueller will skate with Matt Tennyson.

Mueller has played just four games for the Sharks this season. In his last game, Thursday in Philadelphia, he received only 9:13 of ice time.

Also tonight, new Shark forward Dainius Zubrus is expected to debut on the fourth line.

Related: Sharks sign Zubrus, because DeBoer