Pekka Rinne makes the most of the NHL season on hiatus, hoping to reset and rebound from a lower regular season if play resumes.
“I realize that I haven’t had the strongest season so far, but at the same time I’m trying to use that time to my advantage,” said Rinne on Monday. “I used the first two weeks to relax and think about the season, then start to prepare, start to prepare for this season. If that doesn’t happen, I feel like it’s one step ahead for next season and training for the next. season.
“No matter what, I try to keep a positive frame of mind. I’m trying to get the most out of it. I think about it and hope I can get back on the ice with hope sooner than later. “
The season has been suspended since March 12 due to concerns about the coronavirus, and there is no timetable for its resumption. If the season continues and the Predators reach the Stanley Cup playoffs, this could be the last chance for the 37-year-old to win his first Stanley Cup championship. Nashville (35-26-8) is tied with the Vancouver Canucks for the second Western Conference joker and 16-11-1 in 28 games since John Hynes replaced Peter Laviolette as coach on January 7. Rinne and the Predators reached the 2017 Stanley Cup Final, losing to the Pittsburgh Penguins in six games.
“This is my goal, this is our goal,” said Rinne. “I am still hopeful. I’m always sure we will start playing again and we have a chance to play again. Of course, right now, we’re missing, but everyone in the League, they’re in the same situation. Everyone faces it differently but we are all in the same boat. I hope that soon we will have a chance to compete in the Stanley Cup. “
Rinne, chosen by the Predators in round eight (# 258) of the 2004 NHL Entry Draft, leads Nashville goaltenders in games played (659), wins (359), GAA (2.42) and shutouts (58) since entered the NHL in 1998. He said he hadn’t thought about what could happen if he became an unrestricted free agent after the 2020-21 season, the last of a 10 million contract. dollars over two years (average annual value of $ 5 million). His hopes for another Cup shot remain high, and if the Predators are lucky, he said he wouldn’t need a long time to prepare.
“It helps that we have played a lot of hockey before,” said Rinne. “We have been on the ice all season. Now it’s a five-week break. I’m sure everyone has a different type of home installation. I think it would be good for the guys if we could get together and have some sort of, at least a few weeks as a team, and maybe before that a week in a small group and go from there.
“I think it’s going to pick up pretty quickly if we get to this point. Somehow, by realizing the situation and the schedule that we have, I think you have to mentally prepare yourself for a quick start. “