The Nashville Predators didn't qualify for the Stanley Cup Playoffs last season. A main reason why was because their No. 1 goaltender, Pekka Rinne, was limited to 24 games because of a hip injury.
These days, Rinne is healthy. And it's no coincidence the Predators are rolling.
Rinne's performance to date (14-3-1, 1.97 goals-against average, .927 save percentage) has the Predators vying for first place in the Central Division. The problems he experienced when he first tried to come back from hip surgery are behind him.
"Like I said, I had a good summer," Rinne told reporters last week. "I fixed a few things that I usually do in the summer. I increased my training a lot. I wanted to be in the best shape that I could possibly be. That has helped a lot.
"Obviously being back on the ice and working on the ice, you can translate that on to the ice what you did off the ice. I was never scared [coming back], but obviously it's something that it's a little bit different struggling with something like that for the first time in your life or career. It was a little bit different, but I never once thought that, 'this is it.' Obviously this year I wanted to get off to a good start, but other than that I wasn't really scared about it."