Tuesday’s Dump & Chase: Thank You, Pekka

We still can’t get over last night, nor should we.

Nashville Predators News & Notes

Nashville Predators 5, Carolina Hurricanes 0: The Shutout — and a Sendoff? | On the Forecheck

My man Bryan Bastin said it perfectly last night: Never has a meaningless game standings-wise felt so fun.

This game was all about one man. Officially, we don’t know what Pekka Rinne’s future holds. But by the end of the postgame celebration, you got the feeling this was officially it for #35. And if it was...dear God, you could not write a better send-off for a man who’s been the face of Smashville for so many years.

As the saves piled up, we forgot about Pekka’s age; we forgot about his recent struggles with form. We were taken back to the early 2010’s, and all of those times Rinne sometimes single-handedly carried the Preds to victories they had no business stealing. We had visions of a goalie who willed an 8th place team to the Stanley Cup Final, who became a Vezina front-runner year after year.

Rinne earned every one of his 30 saves last night. Very few were gimmes. Those two sequences midway through the third—the three straight stops in the crease followed by the stonewall on the 3-on-1—seemed to signal that this was probably going to be a magical night.

That one standing ovation with about seven minutes left is what actually got me a little. Seeing Pekka tap his heart, acknowledging the “PEK-KA” chants, pounded home the point that “damn it...this is it, isn’t it?” By the time he took the victory lap in front of a raucous Bridgestone crowd, the waterworks were in full effect.

But that’s a testament to the impact Pekka has had on this city. With all due respect to some other players, no other Predator has been a.) as popular and b.) as consistently game-changingly good while c.) staying with the team his entire career. It’s at the point where it feels like the team and the player grew up with each other. The fans got to see Rinne grow from “that tall prospect with a funny name” into a Vezina-trophy winner who now owns a number of NHL goaltending milestones. And likewise, Rinne was front and center in the Predators’ rise from “scrappy, fun franchise” to a legitimate Stanley Cup contender based in one of the most difficult arenas to play in.

None of us want to see Pekka’s time in Nashville end. But if that was his last hurrah, it’ll go down as a storybook end.

The only way it could be topped is if he skates off with the Stanley Cup in July.

Rinne Named Nashville’s Nominee for Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy | NHL.com
Just continuing the run of accolades for #35.

Editorial: How John Hynes Helped the Predators | On the Forecheck
I’ll let Shaun do the heavy lifting on this argument, but this reminds me of an old sports saying regarding coaching. “Coaches are usually the last to get the credit, and the first to get the blame.”

Nashville Predators playoffs game attendance increased to 12,135 | Tennessean
I’m all for getting us closer to a full-capacity Bridgestone, as long as we can do it safely.

Other Hockey Happenings

Bruins Announce Diversity and Inclusion Scouting Mentorship Program | NHL.com
"The program aims to mentor and elevate individuals from underrepresented backgrounds to strengthen their pursuit of a career in scouting or the hockey industry at large."

Absolutely love this.

Eichel uncertain about his Sabres future after 'disconnect' over injury | NHL.com
Honestly, the words written in this article don't do the situation justice. Go and watch the raw video of some of Eichel's answers, and tell me that's not the demeanor of a man who's past the point of "giving up" on his employer.

I don't know how Eichel's tenure in Buffalo lasts much longer. By no means am I saying he's been a saint in upstate New York (see the Bylsma situation), but the organization as a whole is so mismanaged that it's getting close to the point of no return. The injury situation might be the final straw. There will be no shortage of teams interested in Eichel's services this summer, and it might be in the Sabres’ best interest to entertain some offers before they lose the rest of their leverage.

Jones' long-term future high on Blue Jackets' list of priorities | NHL.com
"I really have to take a step back and think about what I want. I could very well be here, but I'm just unwinding right now, and I'll obviously be in touch with [general manager] Jarmo [Kekalainen] very soon.”

Not exactly a ringing endorsement of life in Columbus right now...

John Tortorella leaves a complicated legacy with the Columbus Blue Jackets | The Cannon
Torts will go down as Columbus's most successful coach, and at the same time, maybe the biggest reason for the team's recent downfall.

Golden Knights forced to only dress 15 skaters vs. Avalanche | Sportsnet
This was simultaneously both the dumbest and funniest thing in the NHL this year.

Stanley Cup Playoffs to begin Saturday | TSN.ca
Nothing official from the league regarding the Central start date. But considering all games wrapped up last night, it's a safe bet to assume Nashville might start their series Saturday or Sunday.

Ottawa kids tossed SO MANY hats into Tim Stützle's backyard to celebrate hat-trick | Bardown
This is by far the best thing you'll see today.

Today’s Song To Get You HYPED

Thank you, Pekka.