Originally written January 23, 2013 on Fox Sports Tennessee:
Last season, Nashville Predators coach Barry Trotz had the luxury of going to the whip hand with his thoroughbred goalie Pekka Rinne without the fear of wearing him out. In the early going, as his young team struggled to jell, Trotz rode Rinne hard to keep the Predators afloat. Late in the season, when he sensed that home-ice advantage for the Stanley Cupplayoffs would be crucial as it was in a first-round series victory over longtime nemesis Detroit the veteran coachdidn't shy away from playing his goalie too frequently. Rinne played in nine of the final 10 regular season games, making starts on back-to-back nights twice in that period andwinning three of the four. For the second time in two seasons, Rinne was named a finalist for the Vezina Trophy,leading NHL goalies in wins last year(43). He ended up playing in 89 percent of the Predators games thenleading the league in games with 73 (a franchise record). Suffice it to say that in this 48-game season, with its compacted schedule, a similar strategy could be risky not only for the Predators but for almost any team in the league, especially if they want their No. 1 goalie fresh for the playoffs. Enter the Predators' old-new backup goalie, Chris Mason, who delivered a 3-1 road victory against the beefed-up Minnesota Wild on Tuesday. Mason made 29 saves and was named the game's first star to earn the Preds first win of the season. Mason told FOXSportsTennessee.com that teams will benefit this season from backup goalies who can contribute. "I think its important, obviously," he said. "I think its a nice option for the coach to be able to rest their guy and not feel like theyre giving a game away, and thats kind of what my focus is this year. . . to be ready all the time and give the guys good goaltending when Pekkas not in there just so theyre not reluctant to do that and burn some of the guys out that are playing. "If someone plays 42 games in a condensed season, its going to be tough on guys," said Mason. "I think its definitely going to be a nice option for coaches to have if their second guy is able to step in and play well. By signing a one-year deal with Nashville, Mason, who will be 37 before the season ends, is in his fourth city in four years: St. Louis, Atlanta, the franchises move to Winnipeg and now Nashville. He chose Nashville in part because of its record of playoff success the team has advanced to the second round in each of the last two seasons and he wanted to be a part of that. But it also helped that he had such familiarity with Nashvilles organization. On and off, he was with thePreds from 1998-2008 and still owns a home in Nashville. Ironically, its rented and he and his wife had to rent another, but, knowing the area, he knew where to find a good school district for his daughter, who began first grade in the fall. Mason knows the coaching staff, training staff and roughly half the players including Rinne. If that translates into performances like Tuesdays, both he and the Preds stand to benefit. They have games on back-to-back nights nine times this season or 37.5 percent of their schedule. In addition, teams will play only within their conference this season and being one of the Eastern-most teams in the Western Conference, the Preds will slog through plenty of travel. Mason noted the condensedschedule has teams playing every second night and flying all over the country. If Mason can spell Rinne, the big Finn might have more "jump" for the playoffs, which Mason has not experienced since 2009. He was "extremely happy" with his performance on Tuesday, which occurred in Nashville's first game against former teammate Ryan Suter. Yesterday, I was nervous just because I hadnt played a game in eight months and the implications of every game seem to be pretty big this season with the shortened season, Mason said. "So it was great to get in there and help the team get some points. "That's my job to get in and play those games and not just to give Peks a break, but to also try to get points and the guys played a great game in front of me, too."

Royals beat A's in extras, win first playoff game since '85

Fan on Craigslist offers Nats playoff tickets for threesome

Brady snubs rookie Garoppolo after touchdown pass

Cung Le suspended for failed HGH test

FCC Chairman: Washington nickname 'inappropriate today'

Brain study finds 76 of 79 deceased NFL players had CTE


Tony Sparano to step in as Raiders head coach

Eli on Geno Smith: If fans yell at you, you probably deserve it

49ers players come out in support of Jim Harbaugh

Raiders reportedly expected to make a run at Jon Gruden

FCC unanimously ends sports blackout rule

Michael Phelps arrested for DUI

WATCH: Brett Favre in new nose hair trimmer commercial

WATCH: Michigan students protest, call for AD to be fired

Marlins president: We're not trading Giancarlo Stanton

Heckling Knicks fan suing team over ejection

This weekend in NFL stupid

Kobe: Iggy Azalea has had better career than Swaggy P

College football's post-Week 5 playoff projection

Oregon to don pink-themed unis for breast cancer awareness

Is DeMarco Murray the best RB in the NFL?

WATCH: TBS sends up 'Boom Goes the Dynamite' with promo

Ilya Bryzgalov takes photos with fans while on the bench

NFL Awards: Week 4 edition

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

FCC: Washington nickname 'inappropriate today'

Could Jon Gruden return to Oakland?

Marlins: We're not trading Stanton

Study: 76 of 79 deceased NFL players had CTE

Heckling fan sues Knicks over ejection

Sparano to step in as Raiders head coach

This weekend in NFL stupid

Kobe chooses Iggy over Swaggy P

Is DeMarco Murray the NFL's best RB?

Ilya Bryzgalov takes photos with fans while on the bench

NFL Awards: Week 4 edition

Michael Phelps arrested for DUI

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.