Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Pekka Rinne Autographed Card

There were too many abnormal things happening in NHL news this summer, and the fact that the Nashville Predators and their former head coach Barry Trotz were talked about almost daily certainly fits in that category.

No offense, but this is a team that made the playoffs 7 times and won a grand total of 2 series. They have won 19 total post-season games in their 15-year history (it takes 16 in the same season to win a Stanley Cup).

They only have one player who won an NHL trophy while on their team: Steve Sullivan, winning the Bill Masterton for his awesome comeback from injury in 2008-09; and Mike Fisher (one of my favourite players) won the NHL Foundation Award for his contributions to charity in 2011-12. In fairness, Shea Weber deserves to have won a Norris at this point, and Pekka Rinne does deserve one of Martin Brodeur's four unwarranted Vezinas.

Which brings me to the superstar Finnish goalie who seems to have my home team's number. I first encountered him during the 2010-11 season, after a game where he shut out the Montréal Canadiens at the Bell Centre, at which time he signed this 2007-08 Between The Pipes card for me in blue sharpie (#42 in the set, part of the Future Stars sub-set) by In The Game:
It shows him wearing the Preds' AHL farm club Milwaukee Admirals' light blue (away) uniform, which is pretty awful. Notice the MLB's Milwaukee Brewers' logo / patch: the hockey team was purchased by a group that includes the Brewers' minority owner (Mark Attanasio), its assistant GM (Gord Ash) and former pitcher Ben Sheets; they made the Brewers the sole sponsor of the hockey team. Once in a while, the Admirals host a ''Brewers Night'', where they wear uniforms inspired by or referring to the baseball team's history.

Ironically, in baseball, Nashville and Milwaukee have the same affiliation, just reversed, where the country music capital is the Brewers' AAA affiliate.

I'm convinced Rinne will regain his Vezina form this coming season and make everyone forget his injury-plagued 2013-14 campaign. It's Tuukka Rask's throne to lose, though, and I don't see him giving it up easily. But Rinne is coming off a 2014 World Championships where he was named the tournament MVP as he led Team Finland to the silver medal...

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