NASHVILLE – While the Nashville Predators celebrated good news on Friday in the form of an update on the health of franchise goaltender Pekka Rinne, there still is no timetable for his return as the team readies for three home games in four days, starting Saturday against the Ottawa Senators.
Rinne's season was derailed by an E. Coli infection in the hip that he had surgically repaired in the offseason. There is virtually no precedent for a player to return from such an injury so the Predators are taking a cautious approach. The news on Friday was that Rinne, who has not played since Oct. 22, could begin "weight-bearing exercises" but that does not appear to include skating for the moment.
"You're getting down the road for his recovery," Trotz said of Rinne. "I know it's been a long time. The steps are moving forward so absolutely fantastic news. For us, no time frame. It's going to be a day-to-day thing and what he can do and the doctors' protocol … all those type of things but he's going to be able to start training and the rehab process that athletes need to go through to get themselves into condition."
Predators captain Shea Weber said he spoke to Rinne about the news and was glad for it but remains focused on trying to win without the team's star goaltender.
"We know what we have in this room and that's what we have to go with," Weber said. "He's our friend and we support him off the ice. … At the same time this is our team right now and we've got to win some games right now."
Here are the projected lineups for Saturday night:
Scratched: Victor Bartley
Out: Chris Neil (hamstring)