Everyone is eager and excited to see the Nashville Predators back on the ice and competing, but it’s important not to draw vast conclusions from scrimmages.
The Nashville Predators held another scrimmage today dividing into two teams to work on various things, while also mimicking as much as you can a real game.
One of the biggest, if not the biggest, storyline that’s ongoing throughout training camp is the dilemma of who the start in net for Game 1 against the Arizona Coyotes. No one is going to say this is an easy decision between the two, but making that decision solely on a scrimmage performance.
The truth is Pekka Rinne didn’t look too great today in the scrimmage. He gave up four goals early on, but context is everything. A couple were on the power play, and Rinne’s squad was up against some key veterans on the team like Kyle Turris and Mikael Granlund.
Turris scored two of the goals for Team Gold, while Team White had Filip Forsberg leading their squad offensively. Puck movement looked great from Team Gold in the power play scenarios, which is encouraging.
Split decision on who to pick
It’s a coin flip at this point on who I think John Hynes will choose to go with in net. You can make solid arguments for both, and the consensus seems pretty split down the middle if you go ask fans and analysts alike.
This is what Hynes had to say regarding the competition between Rinne and Saros, via Brooks Bratten:
I’m not reading too much into how many goals Rinne gave up. I’ll be more focused on what Hynes has to say regarding what led to those goals, and what the team was focusing on during the scrimmage.
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It’s not as simple as tallying up who gave up the most goals and go with that particularly goaltender. If you want to go with Saros because he earned it before the pause and you think Rinne’s time is over, then that’s a fair argument to make. Just don’t make your decision due to a lackluster performance in a scrimmage.
I’m still leaning towards Rinne as the starter both based on who I think Hynes will choose and who I would go with personally if the decision was mine to make. You have to go with the veteran who has done it the past, and did it not that long ago in 2017.
However, there won’t be much leeway for Rinne or Saros if they struggle in Game 1. Hynes knows he has two capable goaltenders, and if one struggles early on then he’ll be quick to turn to the other for Game 2.
Let’s just pump the brakes on freaking out over a scrimmage performance that wasn’t too sharp from Rinne. Other things could’ve been factored into that, but Saros did make more quality stops and was the sharper goaltender.
These scrimmages are fun watch and they’re extremely valuable in getting players back into hockey shape and building that familiar chemistry again. Aside from that, I’m not overreacting one way or the other to what happens, whether it’s really good or really bad.
It’s not enough for me to turn away from the former Vezina Trophy winner and the foundation of this franchise for over a decade. Give me a horrendous showing from Rinne against another team, like Dallas in the exhibition game on Thursday, and then you’ll have me thinking that you have to go with Saros.