Welcome to the December 1, 2013 Predlines Morning Skate – Sunday Edition. Thanks for visiting us this morning. The Sunday Skate is a little different, we will share a couple of quick thoughts about the current state of the Preds.
When you switch your calendar over to December today, make sure you circle December 5th along with Christmas. Pekka Rinne is scheduled to undergo an MRI on Thursday to see whether the infection has cleared and what his timeline might be for returning to the ice. Rinne has been out of action since October 22, 2013 and the Preds have gone 8-7-2 without him. Carter Hutton started the first seven games and earned three wins and Marek Mazanec has started the last ten and gone 5-4-1. Hutton was expected to be Rinne’s primary backup and, initially at least, play in his absence, but Mazanec stole the job with his stellar play. He is 7th in the league with a 2.00 goals-against-average and 9th with a .932 save percentage. It is tough to imagine that Rinne would have posted better numbers than Mazenec, but he could have stopped an extra goal here or there and Hutton likely would not have played seven games. The Preds have been about a .500 team without Rinne and will need him to return and put the team over the hump.
Shea Weber and Kevin Klein are both listed as day-to-day and there is no reason to believe they will not be back in the lineup soon. However, if either of them is out for an extended period of time, it might be too much for the Preds to handle. Against Philadelphia, Seth Jones played 30:43 and Roman Josi played 32:26; that is too many minutes for both of those guys to play consistently. The biggest concern might be on the power play, Jones and Josi played 4:40 and 5:33 respectively with the man advantage and were not able to muster much offense, especially against a sub par Philadelphia penalty kill.
Matt Cullen played in his 1100 NHL game on Saturday night. Congratulations is due to Cullen, as that is a pretty impressive accomplishment. Cullen was drafted in 1996 after his Freshman season at St. Cloud State by the Anaheim Mighty (at the time) Ducks. He played one more season at St. Cloud before taking his talents to the west coast and he has not looked back. Cullen has tallied 207 goals and 368 assists over the course of his career. With the rest of this season and next under contract to the Preds, we should get to see Cullen add to those numbers.
The Preds next game is at home against Vancouver on Tuesday night. Check in with us daily for full coverage and thanks for stopping by this morning.
Scott Gardner is the Editor at Predlines.com and can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @scottcgardner. For the latest updates in Predator news, follow @PredlinesNSH and like Predlines on Facebook.