Found 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."
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
Today’s Links The Tennessean - Nashville Predators measure Paul Gaustad’s worth in ways other than goals The Tennessean - Nashville Predators’ Gabriel Bourque patches holes in any line The Tennessean - Preview: Predators at St. Louis Blues The Tennessean - Wild Western Conference has strong first week Nashville City Paper - With multiple early meetings, Blues serve as...
Today the Predators recalled forward Gabriel Bourque from the Milwaukee Admirals...
Kevin Klein is a little bit like the bingo free square.
Since making the leap to the NHL full-time in 2008, the Predators defenseman has played with a number of defensive partners – notably Francis Bouillon, Dan Hamhuis and Roman Josi.
At the start of the 2013 season, Klein has yet another defensive partner – veteran defenseman Scott Hannan.
Hannan, a veteran of over 900 NHL...
After improving in each of the first two games and settling for the loser point in each, the Predators made big strides in the final two periods against the Wild in Minnesota and broke into the win column for the first time this season by a 3-1 score.Chris Mason started his first game of the year for the Predators and limited the Wild to one goal on thirty shots, including several...
During training camp last week, we sat down with Nashville Predators prospect Zoltan Hetenyi. The Hungarian goaltender was invited to Development Camp last summer and impressed the brass. As a result, he was offered a one-year contract within the organization. He’s been playing with the Predators’ ECHL affiliate, the Cincinnati Cyclones, ever since.
His 2.33 goals-against average...
Sometimes it’s just isn’t your night.
That was definitely true on Thursday night for the Nashville Predators.
In front of 16,047 at Scottrade Center, the Blues thoroughly outplayed the Preds, beating them 3-0. Nashville managed a meesly 13 shots on goal and looked completely out of sync most of the game. They took too much time to make decisions, they had too many errant...
The Arena Football League's Orlando Predators say if they lose, season ticket holders could get refunds.
The team announced the plan, dubbed the Predators Performance Guarantee, this week. It says that if the Predators fail to win 10 of their 18 games, season ticket holders will receive credits toward future season ticket purchases. Credits would start at 10 percent for a 9...
Martin Erat scored an unassisted goal for Nashville with 8:15 left when Minnesota goalie Niklas Backstrom couldn't clear the puck cleanly, and the Predators earned their first victory by beating the Wild 3-1 on Tuesday night.
Ryan Spaling had a goal late in the first period, and Chris Mason made 29 saves for the Predators in his first start of the season. He denied Dany Heatley...
By Miranda Martina Miranda@prednecknation.com If tonight’s game against the St. Louis Blues was at home, it would be just one of many Thursday College Nights in Nashville. Since the College Night discounts have been available to colleges particularly in the Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky region, students have been taking advantage of the ridiculously cheap seats. Over the...
(AP) -- The NHL's 48-game lockout-shortened schedule will make teams plenty familiar with each other by the time the playoffs roll around in just a few months.
The St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators are getting a taste of that early.
St. Louis seeks a fourth straight victory over visiting Nashville when the Central Division rivals meet for the second time in four days...
The Preds snuck past the Minnesota Wild and Ryan Suter to get their first win of the 2013 abbreviated season. With goals by Spaling and Erat, Nashville competed all game but never looked like the best team on the ice. They had trouble handling Minnesota's top two lines and, in true Predators form, struggled to set up offensively. But none the less, the Preds avoided overtime...
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Martin Erat took advantage of a costly Wild turnover, scoring his first goal of the season into an empty net as the Nashville Predators won their first game of the season, 3-1 at Minnesota. Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom came out to play a loose puck, but could not get it past Erat, who intercepted the puck and scored with just over eight minutes left in the third...
The NHL's 48-game lockout-shortened schedule will make teams plenty familiar with each other by the time the playoffs roll around in just a few months.
The St. Louis Blues and Nashville Predators are getting a taste of that early.
St. Louis seeks a fourth straight victory over visiting Nashville when the Central Division rivals meet for the second time in four days Thursday...
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Genevieve Ross
Martin Erat’s game-winning goal at 11:45 of the third period would be the difference maker for Nashville as the Predators got their first win of the season, first road win of the year, and topped the Minnesota Wild tonight 3-1.
Tonight’s matchup was the first time the Predators and Ryan Suter had met since Suter’s departure to the Wild...
There was a lot of build-up heading into Tuesday night’s game between the Nashville Predators and Minnesota Wild. All of the attention was on Ryan Suter playing against his former(More here)…