By Amanda DiPaolo
The Nashville Predators announced Thursday afternoon that goalie Mark Dekanich was reassigned to the Milwaukee Admirals. Dekanich played two periods during the preseason, but faced only a handful of shots each game. In Nashville’s preseason opener, Dekanich stopped 6 of 7 shots faced in a 3-1 losing cause to Carolina. The following night, Dekanich started the game for Nashville and again stopped 6 of 7 shots faced in a 2-1 win. Dekanich dressed for Wednesday night’s game in Atlanta, but after Anders Lindback allowed two quick goals in the second period, Coach Barry Trotz decided to leave Lindback in goal for the final 20 minutes.
With Dekanich being sent to Milwaukee, Lindback is the only goalie vying for the job of backup remaining at camp. Jeremy Smith and Chet Pickard had already been sent to the Admirals training camp.
Lindback faced more shots than Dekanich and had more of an opportunity to impress, making saves where he came well out of the net to chase off potential breakaways, and sliding across the crease to prohibit what would essentially have been a shot into an empty net. In the Tennessean, Trotz is quoted as saying the Predators know what they have in Dekanich, another Chris Mason. If Dekanich is another Chris Mason, then Lindback is another Pekka Rinne.
So far this preseason, starting goaltender Pekka Rinne has looked like he’s already in midseason form. After having a particularly slow start to camp last year, Rinne lost the spot as the unquestionable number one starter only to fight his way back to that position by the Olympic break. This year, there were no question marks in the back of Rinne’s mind and camp has had a different feel to it. “Yeah it is a bit different, but at the same time the main purpose is to get ready for the season. I’m not trying to think about the goalie situation.” Rinne said at the start of camp. And now he won’t have to think about it at all.
It looks as though the Predators have decided to stay in house in their search for who will back up Rinne, and Lindback, the 6’6 Swede has officially won the job. With Rinne measuring 6’5, Nashville’s goaltending tandem has quite literally reached new heights.
Nashville’s final preseason game is on Sunday at Verizon Center in Washington D.C. Pekka Rinne is expected to play the full 60 minutes.