Rinne using pause to reflect, recharge: 'I haven't had the strongest season'
With the NHL season suspended, Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne is using the hiatus to recharge in the hopes that he'll have an opportunity to salvage what's been a trying campaign.
"I realize the fact that I haven't had the strongest season so far, but at the same time I try to use this time to my advantage," Rinne said, according to NHL.com's Jon Lane. "I used the first couple of weeks to wind down and reflect back on the season and then start preparing again, start preparing to be ready this season.
"If that's not happening, I feel like it's a head start for next season and training for next season."
The Predators' longtime puck-stopper is just two years removed from winning the Vezina Trophy as the league's top netminder but has struggled between the pipes in 2019-20. Rinne has posted career lows in both goals-against average (3.17) and save percentage (.895) while winning just half of his 36 appearances this season.
The 37-year-old's contract is set to expire at the end of the 2020-21 campaign, and with young netminder Juuse Saros playing his way into the starting role, Rinne hopes to see this season through as his window to win a Stanley Cup continues to shrink. Nashville owned the Western Conference's second wild-card berth when play halted.
"It is my goal, it's our goal," Rinne said. "I'm still hopeful. I'm still positive that we're going to get back playing and we have a chance to compete again. For sure, right now, we're missing out, but everybody in the league, they're in the same situation.
"Everybody is dealing with it differently but we're all in it together. Hopefully soon, we have a chance to compete for the Stanley Cup."
The league continues to explore all options for a return to action. The latest proposal would reportedly see NHL teams stationed in up to four hub cities that are not deemed to be coronavirus hotspots in order to play out the remainder of games.
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