Pekka Rinne missed 51 games this year due to complications from hip surgery, but that won’t keep him from representing Finland at the 2014 World Hockey Championships.
What’s more, his GM in Nashville is encouraging the move.
“It’s a great sign that he’ll be getting more game action,” David Poile told The Tennessean. “Because of the time he missed, he didn’t get to play enough hockey this season, so he’s still eager to play.
As mentioned above, this year — the second of Rinne’s seven-year, $49 million contract — was essentially ruined by the hip issue. He underwent surgery in May, returned to start the regular season, played a handful of games, but was then sidelined for nearly six months after an infection required a second surgical procedure.
All told, Rinne only appeared in 24 games this season and posted fairly pedestrian numbers: .902 save percentage, 2.77 GAA, 10-10-3 record. For a guy named a Vezina finalist in 2010 and ’11, those stats certainly weren’t up to his standards and, in terms of health and recovery, it’s worth noting that Rinne turns 32 in November.
Despite this, Nashville remains supportive in Rinne’s decision to play for Finland internationally for the first time in four years.
“His health is good,” Poile said. “Playing in the tournament bodes well for the future.”