Thursday, April 13, 2017

Pekka Rinne Autograph Card

They said Pekka Rinne was over the hill, and that the Chicago Blackhawks would beat the Nashville Predators easily in the first round of the 2017 NHL playoffs (God I hate agreeing with Arpon Basu, the only who picked the Preds to win the series; read my full predictions here).

And yet, off a 29-save Rinne shutout, the Preds took Game 1 at Chicago's United Center to take the lead and steal home-ice advantage from the Hawks.

Rinne's had a decent season, finishing with a 31-19-9 record with 3 shutouts (against the Anaheim Ducks, Edmonton Oilers, and Minnesota Wild, all potential playoff adversaries), a .918 save percentage and 2.42 goals-against average. The latter may seem a tad high in today's NHL, but keep in mind that Nashville spent a month and a half finding its game after the Shea Weber/P.K. Subban trade, and just when they'd found their rhythm, Subban injured his back for a month, case the team to go on a bit of a losing streak.

They could definitely surprise a few people here. I'd love it if they made it all the way to the Stanley Cup Final and faced their former coach Barry Trotz and his Washington Capitals...

As I mentioned in my prediction, however, that will require Rinne to play like the perennial Vezina runner-up that he used to be at least a dozen times, but I think he can do it. Here he is wearing the Preds' current white (away) uniform, on card #US-PR from Upper Deck's 2011-12 Ultimate Collection set and Ultimate Signatures sub-set:
It features an on-card autograph, signed it blue sharpie.

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