In hockey, goaltenders are the last resort for their team, the final hope. Nashville Predators goalies Pekka Rinne and Chris Mason were often their team’s last resort and came up big. Too often the players up front were leaving Rinne and Mason out to dry this season.
Pekka Rinne had a wild year. His stats aren’t glowing, except in the shutout category. The Finnish netminder finished first in the NHL with five shutouts, although he still didn’t look like the Pekka Rinne everyone knew.
During the NHL lockout, Rinne elected to play in the KHL for Dynamo Minsk in Belarus’ capital. Rinne suffered an injury to his groin during his time there. After the scare, Rinne stopped playing for Minsk and returned home to Nashville. However, his groin was not the problem for his lack of success this season.
It wasn’t until the final game of the season that Barry Trotz said Rinne was playing through a hip injury throughout most of the season. The 30 year old had surgery on it earlier this month and will be back before training camp in September.
Rinne finished the season with a 15-16-8 record with a .910 save percentage and 2.43 goals against average. The standards are high for this world class goaltender, but Rinne was unable to meet them this year.
Entering the season, goalie coach Mitch Korn said Chris Mason would have to be ready to go when the time came. Rinne wanted all 48 games, but it wasn’t a realistic option in a compressed and shortened season. Mason started in a total of nine games, but was only able to amount one win.
Mason wasn’t solid in the crease for the Predators this season. His nice custom pads by Brian were unable to stop all the shots necessary for his team’s win. The Red Deer, Alberta native ended the season with a mediocre 3.37 goals against average.
At 37, Mason’s career as a goaltender in the NHL is winding down or may come to a complete stop this summer. Mason said in an interview at the end of the season he would like to be back, so it is still up in the air on his retirement.