Nick Kypreos of Sportsnet reports Nashville Predators' goaltender Pekka Rinne will miss the next six to eight weeks with an E. Coli infection in his hip. E. Coli is a bacterium commonly found in the intestines of humans and other animals, where it usually causes no harm. Some strains can cause severe food poisoning, especially in old people and children, according to Google's definition. The key words in the definition is no harm.
Two weeks ago, Rinne had surgery to remove the bacteria from his hip and was said to miss the next for weeks, at best. "It is very important to kill the bacteria from the hip, Because this kind of infection is very dangerous – it can derogat the joint inside the hip," said Rinne to Urheilulehti, a magazine in Finland, after the surgery.
With Rinne beingout for a long period time, the Predators will be rotating three goaltenders between the net, Carter Hutton as unofficial starter, Magnus Hellberg, and recently called-up Marel Mazanec. All three netminders are inexperienced and AHL quality. For the next six to eight weeks, Nashville will be playing many key games that could be detrimental for the team's chance at making the playoffs after failing to qualify last season.
It isn't in general manager David Poile's M.O. to not be a competitive team on the ice, so look for the rumor mill to be turning as Poile is in search of a legitimate temporary starter while Rinne is on injured reserve.
Two names have been brought up earlier this season to perhaps take over Hutton's position as backup — Ilya Bryzgalov and Jose Theodore. Both are free agents seeking a team to play for this season and both could be signed to a one-year, one-way deal for under $1,000,000 if they truly wanted to play NHL hockey bad enough.
RDS's Francois Gagnon reported on September 25 earlier this year Nashville was one of three teams interested in Theodore's services to be a capable backup. Last season, the thirty-seven-year-old played in fifteen games, due to injury, going 4-6-3 with a 3.29 goals against average and 0.893 save percentage.
The other goaltender, Bryzgalov, is typically not a player Poile would want in the locker room. After Bryz's contract was bought out and snapped on local Philadelphia reporters on the phone, one journalist leaked out information that Ilya personally asked the sports writer if head coach Peter Laviolette would be fired on a regular basis. Apparently, he was a major cancer in the locker room, despite his goofiness and likeable attitude in the public opinion. Historically, Philadelphia hasn't been kind to its netminders, so an opportunity to bounce back in Nashville should be provided.
Since then, Bryzgalov has hit rock bottom. The Russian Ice Hockey Federation wants no part of him on the Olympic team in Sochi this February and was not named on the pre-Olympic roster. On October 16, he finished his tryout with the ECHL's Las Vegas Wranglers. His agent told ESPN.com's Pierre Lebrun, "Bryz will train at home in [New Jersey] until the right NHL job comes around. He has turned down one NHL offer recently and will wait until the right opportunity presents itself. There is no rush. He is in great shape and ready to go when the right opportunity arises."
Last season with the Flyers, Bryzgalov was 19-17-3 with a 2.79 goals against average and .900 save percentage. The thirty-three year old thrived under under a defensive first system in Phoenix, prior to playing in Philadelphia, with a 2.48 GAA and .921 save %.
There is clear need of a goaltender to step-up in the Music City, whether it is one currently in the organization or one who may join the team in the coming days. Taking these early- to mid-season games lightly will come back to bite Nashville if they don't try to improve their team.