Rinne is Admirals' anchor
Like many players in the American Hockey League, Pekka Rinne is biding his time.
The 25-year-old goaltender is in his third season with the Milwaukee Admirals. During his time with the team, Rinne has put up some impressive numbers and has twice been named an all star.
"He's the backbone to our hockey team," says Admirals head coach Lane Lambert. "We rely on him heavily back there and he's done a real good job for us."
When parent club Nashville dealt one of the NHL's best goalies -- Thomas Vokoun -- to Florida during the offseason, it seemed logical that Rinne would make a permanent move to the big leagues.
Instead, the Predators -- who were set on Chris Mason and Dan Ellis between the pipes -- sent Rinne back to Milwaukee for another season of conditioning.
"I wouldn't say it was a surprise but obviously I was disappointed," Rinne says. "I worked hard the whole summer. Playing a lot of games, though, is the best practice. I try to be consistent every single night and there's some areas I need to get better at."
He would go on to be the Admirals' lone representative to the AHL All-Star Game last weekend in Binghamton, N.Y. Rinne, who competed as a member of the PlanetUSA team, was named the Top Goaltender during the skills competition after stopping 16 of 19 Team Canada shots.
"I think he's where we want him to be," Lane Lambert, the Admirals' head coach, says. "He's played a lot of hockey for us and at some point here, with all the games we've got coming up, we need to find a way to get him a bit of a rest. I think it might sharpen him up a little bit."
Rinne has been a workhorse for Milwaukee so far. He's started 41 of the 46 games played by the Admirals this season and leads all AHL goaltenders with 2,445 minutes. He's also the league leader in shots faced with 1,109.
"The only concern that I have for Pekka is just that fatigue doesn't take over for him," Lambert says. "If it does, then he's going to need a break."
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