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I apologize for my absence from the writing arena– I have been managing my schoolwork, college baseball, an editor position at my school’s newspaper, and a director/producer job at my school’s television station. I’ve definitely missed this, so let’s just get right in it.

Pekka Rinne

Or maybe, let’s not get right into this.

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If you’re like me, you’ve always associated Pekka Rinne with the Nashville Predators. He’s been the backbone of the team for the longest time, and I really wish we could avoid this conversation, but the time has come.

Juuse Saros has to be the full time starter now.

Allowing eight goals on 31 shots after one of the more devastating losses of the year completely undermined the progress the team made over their five game homestand. Never had Rinne allowed eight goals in his career, yet this loss was different for many reasons. The Predators actually played a decent second period, as Bonino, Jarnkrok, and Josi landed their punches and tied the game. Statistically, Edmonton and Nashville were in a fast-paced stalemate, and the third period was up for grabs. The Oilers then would score three goals within three minutes, eliminating any chance for a Predator victory. Leon Draisaitl added two more goals before John Hynes yanked Rinne from the crease. After he was pulled, Rinne went straight to the locker room instead of sitting on the bench behind the skaters. Following the worst performance of his career, Rinne declined to speak to the media.

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Aside from last night, he actually doesn’t look statistically terrible at 5v5. He’s maintaining a .920% with a 2.44 GAA, which is pretty average in comparison to the rest of the league. High danger shots isn’t too much of a concern, as he also holds a .857% HDSV. His numbers are low because of low danger goals and his overall 4v5 situational performance. As a matter of fact, Rinne has been the worst goaltender in the league on the penalty kill, considering he holds a .779% (!!!!!!!!) save percentage and has allowed 30 (!!!!!!) goals when the Predators found themselves without a man.

His career isn’t tarnished by this year, and his contributions have laid a foundation of greatness in Nashville’s history, creating an expectation of spectacularism in each player. Not only has he shepherded Juuse Saros, the next generational goaltender, he’s carried this team when they couldn’t manage to score. Unfortunately for Rinne, his greatness is working against him right now, as he is not the Vezina winner Pekka Rinne anymore.

The Flyers are good (wait what?)

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The Philadelphia Flyers are second in the Metro Division right now, trailing the Washington Capitals by a mere three points. They’ve won their last six, scoring at least four goals in each game. There are eight skaters with more than 30 points, and all active skaters have numbers in the double digits. This is a team that is relying HEAVILY on their offense, because goaltending seems to be an issue. Both Carter Hart and Brian Elliott have mediocre save percentages, and that does not bode well for the Flyers looking down the stretch.

Travis Konecny has tallied nine points in the last five games, sixteen points in the last eleven games, and currently leads the team in points with 60. His scoring spurts are the reason this Flyers team has jettisoned their way back to the top of the standings.

Who knew that the Edmonton Oilers, Columbus Blue Jackets, and Philadelphia Flyers would be fighting for a playoff spot at the beginning of March?

Relief Efforts

https://www.hon.org/opportunity/a0C1H00001asG2t?fbclid=IwAR3vdo5klR-U6nO3URjhe9xUH7nGteC8Uloa1UQ_z9MpB1gODUwYHJrB8m4

https://www.nashvillescene.com/news/pith-in-the-wind/blog/21119626/nashville-tornado-how-to-help-where-to-get-help

https://www.nashville.gov/Office-of-Emergency-Management/Disaster-Preparedness/After-the-Disaster/Disaster-Relief-Assistance.aspx

Here are three links where you can donate money for food, shelter, and water for those in need. Any amount helps, obviously.

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East Nashville, Germantown, Mt. Juliet, Lebanon, and Cookeville fell prey to the 80 mile tornado barrage. Many families are without homes, food, and water. As of March 4, 24 casualties have been confirmed. This goes beyond hockey and beyond fandom– people need help, and you have an opportunity to provide that help. Tennessee has seen a couple of (what feels like) consecutive natural disasters but we have always bounced back. A major flood couldn’t hold defeat us, and neither will this tornado damage. Right now, this state needs to come together and extend a hand to a neighbor in need. This state is known as “The Volunteer State” for a reason– if you are able to, be proactive and look for opportunities to help.

“I believe in Nashville” — remember this, and be a difference maker.

A special thank you from all of us here at Penalty Box Radio to all of the first-responders, police officers, firefighters, news organizations, and the ordinary citizens who have created relief efforts. Your contributions to the city will not be soon forgotten, and we thank you for your tireless efforts to keep people safe.

Lastly and most importantly, life is a precious gift bestowed upon us, and our condolences are sent to those who lost a loved one. The Nashville hockey family is with you during this very painful period.

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