• PRINT
  • RSS

From The Locker Room: Feb. 14

Tuesday, 02.14.2012 / 3:22 PM CT / Features
By Doug Brumley  - Nashville Predators
X
Share with your Friends


From The Locker Room: Feb. 14
Despite recent shootout losses, Rinne still a fan of the format

The Nashville Predators have been on the losing end of shootouts in two of the club’s past three games, but that hasn’t affected goaltender Pekka Rinne’s opinion of the game-deciding ritual.

“I like them,” Rinne says. “I think it’s fun. I used to think that it’s not a bad thing to have a tie after 65 minutes; it used to be part of the game. Nowadays, I’ve personally learned to like those shootouts and I think it’s exciting for the fans, for sure. I think it’s a nice way to end the game.”

The entertaining event, which the league instituted in 2005 to decide games that remained tied after a five-minute overtime period, has been relatively good to the Predators. Nashville has 38 wins and 29 losses all-time, and has won more shootouts than it lost in five of six seasons (2007-08 being the only exception at three wins, five losses).

So far in the 2011-12 campaign, the team stands even in shootouts: three wins and three losses. While the Predators gain a point in the league standings for each of those extra-time games, failing to capitalize on the additional available point with a shootout win has been at times as disheartening as a regulation loss.

“Anytime we lose it’s frustrating,” Rinne says. “The last two times, we’ve been on the losing side so obviously it’s something that—as far as me—I need to be better at. There’s no question about it.”

In his defense, Rinne hasn’t had a ton of support at the other end, with just three different Predators tallying a total of four shootout goals so far this season. David Legwand is currently Nashville’s best shooter with two goals in three attempts. According to Predators head coach Barry Trotz, selecting the right shooters isn’t as easy as it might look.

“The funny thing about the shootout is you can have guys that go out there and score at will in front of friends and family and a couple of media guys up in the stands,” Trotz says, “but you put 18,000 people in the arena and get everybody screaming and all the focus is on him. They don’t seem to have the same skill level. It’s not necessarily always the guy you think that would pull that off.”

And in Rinne’s opinion, the shootout has changed over its existence. Players were once more apt to try gimmicky moves, but now it’s developing into as much of a mental game.

“The last couple of years, I feel like guys have been getting better and better all the time,” the Finnish netminder says. “Now they try to outthink you. The game is evolving and it’s a great challenge. You just have to try and stay on the top of your game and try to block the shootouts and get better yourself.”

The home team has the option to shoot first or defer in a shootout, and unlike many coaches in the league, Trotz chooses to defer. It’s a testament to the faith the coaching staff has in its star goaltender.

“We actually had research that it doesn’t make any difference going first or second. Really, research was basically the same. I left it up to [Rinne]. [Rinne] says, ‘Bring ’em on. I’d rather be put in the forefront first and be the guy to make the save.’ ”

SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

SCHEDULE
 

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 CHI 57 36 17 4 158 130 76
2 DAL 54 34 15 5 174 145 73
3 STL 56 30 17 9 133 130 69
4 LAK 52 32 17 3 144 119 67
5 SJS 52 28 20 4 149 138 60
6 ANA 52 26 19 7 117 122 59
7 NSH 54 25 21 8 139 144 58
8 COL 56 27 25 4 149 155 58
9 MIN 53 23 20 10 130 130 56
10 VAN 54 22 20 12 125 144 56
11 ARI 53 24 23 6 139 163 54
12 CGY 52 24 25 3 138 151 51
13 WPG 53 24 26 3 137 151 51
14 EDM 55 21 29 5 133 166 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
R. Josi 54 11 27 -3 38
F. Forsberg 54 17 18 -7 35
S. Weber 54 14 21 -5 35
M. Ribeiro 54 6 27 2 33
J. Neal 54 19 13 18 32
M. Ekholm 54 6 18 3 24
R. Ellis 53 6 16 2 22
C. Smith 54 11 7 -2 18
C. Jarnkrok 53 9 8 0 17
C. Wilson 37 4 12 -1 16
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 20 18 7 .903 2.54
C. Hutton 5 2 1 .916 2.36