Originally written on The Predatorial  |  Last updated 1/12/12

ANAHEIM, CA - NOVEMBER 05: Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators looks on against the Anaheim Ducks at the Honda Center on November 5, 2009 in Anaheim, California. The Ducks defeated the Predators 4-0. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

Photo Credit: John Russell/NHLI via Getty Images

If one was to poll a group of Nashville Predators fans for their three favorite hometown players, you might receive a variety of responses. Sure, there may be a great many “Weber,” “Suter,” “Tootoo” answers. There may even be the occasional nod to more polarizing players, such as McGrattan or Legwand. However, it’s a safe bet that one player that will appear in most lists is Pekka Rinne. It’s difficult not to like the Finnish giant. His affable personality, underdog story, and charming accent make him an easy sell. No one batted an eye when he signed his recent 7 year, 49 million dollar extension, the largest in team history(for the moment). How could you? He’s the typically infallible last line of defense on a team that lives and dies by its ability to make 2 and 3 goals per game stand up. He was denied the Vezina trophy for the league’s top netminder only by an almost supernatural season from Tim Thomas last year. As he goes, so go the Nashville Predators.

So, when the NHL released the names of this season’s All-Star Game, there was a glaring omission in the eyes of the collective Predator fans. Sure, the twin towers of defensive awesomeosity, Ryan Suter and Shea Weber were there. Rookie sensation Craig “The Honey Badger” Smith was elected to the rookie team. But what about Pekka? Surely this must be a mistake, or the latest example of league disrespect for the oft-overlooked, blue-collar team from Music City?

Well, maybe not.

Pekka Rinne is having a respectable season. In fact, his 21 wins is good for 2nd in the league. Then again, his 38 appearances is also 2nd in the league, so one could argue that he’s had more chances to cultivate those victories, but as Crispy likes to say, “they don’t ask how, they just ask how many.” However, by his own admission, Rinne’s season has been a bit of a rollercoaster, as evidenced by the way his stats tail off from there. His save percentage, consistently north of the 92.5 mark last season, is in the upper reaches of the 91s this year to put him in the middle of the pack among starters. Similarly, his 2.57 GAA is below the standard he has previously set. Now, that’s not to say he’s been bad. As mentioned before, the Predators are holding on to a playoff spot for the moment, and Rinne has been in net for all but two of those victories. However, if you take a look at the amount of games that Rinne has allowed 3 or more goals– 18 of his total 38 appearances, one could begin to wonder if some of those victories were in SPITE of his play, rather than because of it. Of course, it’s unfair to pin all of that on Rinne, given the uncharacteristic defensive struggles the Predators have suffered, especially in the early going. Ultimately though, it’s really the only metric that you can use to a judge a goaltender.

With all of that said, Rinne has still been largely reliable for the Predators, and the results have been mostly good. But “mostly good” and “largely reliable” aren’t always enough to vault you into an All-Star game, especially not when the competition is as fierce as it is, this season. It’s not that Rinne has played poorly, it’s just that inclusion in this game isn’t based on your entire career body of work. The criteria is culled only from this season, and even the most biased Predators fan in me can’t say that he’s been better or more critical to his team’s success than any of the five goaltenders that were named. For reference, I’ve included their general statistics below for your examination. It would be difficult for any objective fan to make a reasonable case for Rinne over any of these guys, with the exception of Carey Price, who plays for a significantly worse team with a terrible defense. Additionally, Price fulfills the league’s “at least 1 per team” mandate.

At the end of the day, like everyone else, I would have liked to see Rinne get in, but I felt that of the “Big 3,” he had the longest shot this season. I’m more pleased that Ryan Suter was recognized than I am outraged that Rinne wasn’t, since his game is a little bit harder to appreciate quantitatively. I can say with reasonable confidence that regardless of this season’s results, Rinne will get his chance in more than one All-Star game, before all is said and done.


Jimmy Howard(DRW)
24 W(1st), 92.4% SP(8th), 2.05 GAA(6th)

Jonathan Quick(LAK)
18 W(7th), 93.4% SP(5th), 1.93 GAA(4th)

Carey Price(MON)
15 W(15th), 91.3% SP(24th), 2.46 GAA(20th)

Henrik Lundqvist(NYR)
19 W(4th), 93.9% SP(3rd), 1.85 GAA(3rd)

Brian Elliott(STL)
15 W (15th), 94.0% SP(2nd), 1.62 GAA(2nd)

Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Geno Smith laughed at being ranked last in QB poll

Penn State trash talks Notre Dame Twitter over 'Rudy'

Report: Aroldis Chapman unlikely to be traded

Mets’ trade for Carlos Gomez called off despite reports

Report: Rangers to acquire Cole Hamels from the Phillies


WATCH: Tulo hits first home run with Blue Jays

NFLPA officially files Brady lawsuit, wants QB to play Week 1

Mariota’s lack of red flags was a concern for NFL teams

Tigers 'rebooting,' make David Price available in trade

Jerry Jones backs Roger Goodell amid Deflategate controversy

Brady, agent contacted AT&T in attempt to retrieve deleted texts

Texas QB commit has great anti-Oklahoma T-shirt

WATCH: Tim Tebow does monster leg workout

Farrell: Sandoval's conditioning 'continues to be addressed'

Revis won't wear Super Bowl ring around Jets teammates

Former NBAer Vin Baker now works at Starbucks

Can Preller fix the mess in San Diego?

Mike Leach compares Deflategate to Kardashians

All Panthers home games will also be broadcast in Spanish

Giants owner calls Pierre-Paul debacle ‘very disappointing’

Panthers WR cited for marijuana paraphernalia, had child in car

Bruins-Canadiens Winter Classic details announced

Jay Bruce and Carlos Gonzalez: Twin trade chips

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!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Can Preller fix the mess in San Diego?

Next summer's top 10 NBA free agents

Who is the NL's new top shortstop?

Cardinals HC Bruce Arians calls Jen Welter a 'trailblazer'

Mets still act like a small-market team

Tom Brady: I did nothing wrong

NFL upholds Tom Brady's suspension, legal battle likely

Cardinals hire first female NFL coach

Larry Bird: Michael Jordan would kill me in 1-on-1 now

Seau family: HOF broke their word

Kobe to see time at power forward next year

Mike Pettine not ruling out Manziel

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker