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“Spontaneous bacterial infection” sidelines Rinne for a month


Oct 24, 2013


Last night, news broke that Magnus Hellberg had been called up to the Nashville Predators. While nothing was officially confirmed through the Predators and their PR department, Admirals coach Dean Evason told Hellberg on camera that he was being called up to Nashville “to play”.

As Rinne did not practice yesterday (and to be fair, neither did the majority of the team) and with the now-mysterious call up of Hellberg, concern quickly grew as to what could possibly be wrong with the Predators starting netminder.

This morning, Rinne’s agent Jay Grossman added to the mystery with this:

Then, not 45 minutes later, Nashville’s manager of hockey communications ended the mystery and delivered the following news:

This news is a shock not only for fans, but for the team and management as well. Rinne arguably had his best game of the season on Tuesday night’s 1-0 shutout loss to the Wild. Regardless of the loss itself, Rinne had played on a level previously seen prior to last year’s lockout-shortened (and injury-laden for Rinne) season.

“He was feeling great and he said it’s the best he felt all year, really happy where he was,” said Predators general manager David Poile.

When Nashville left Minnesota Tuesday night, they never would have expected what was to come when the plane landed in Nashville just a few hours later. Events unfolded quickly for Rinne and the Predators, as Poile would describe the “spontaneous bacterial infection” that has sidelined the star Finnish goaltender.

“When we got back from Nashville on the plane ride home, [Rinne] developed soreness and stiffness in his hip and had a bit of a fever. He came in yesterday to practice with a significant limp and was in a fair bit of pain. He was sent immediately over to Vanderbilt to see the doctor who did the operation five months ago. After a series of tests and an MRI, it was determined he had a spontaneous bacterial infection. Even talking to the doctors, they have no idea how this developed five months after [the operation] and the fact that Pekka was healed up and had no significant pain or setbacks along the way,” said Poile.

“Because there is an infection, they’re going to today do a scope of his hip to basically flush it out, wash it out if you will, and do the ultimate best they can to remove the infection as soon as possible. Because they’re having to scope, he’ll be out approximately one month. Because they’re doing the scope, that’s where I’m getting the one month from. In theory, and this is just in theory, the infection will hopefully will go away as it normally would for anybody through the antibiotics and through the flushing and cleansing process with the scope.”

With Poile’s last note, it seems as though the Predators are hoping the infection’s recovery time doesn’t take the full month they’re expecting it to. However, as of right now, the timeframe is still at least four weeks from today, which would put Rinne returning for either their contest against the Rangers on November 23rd or the Coyotes on November 24th.

Nashville’s basis for success over the past decade has been due largely to the steady play they’ve had from their goaltenders and how goaltending coach Mitch Korn has taught each of them along the way. Carter Hutton will be no different than any of the others.

“It’s going to be great for Carter. Mitch has been doing a great job with Carter, he got his first game and his first win the other night in Winnipeg and here he goes again tonight,” said Poile.

“You’re always prepared to play. This is definitely not the way you want to play, you want to win the job and win your games. At the same time you always have to be ready and Mitch has done a good job getting me ready,” said Predators goaltender Carter Hutton,”I’ve got to do my thing, work hard, and we have a pretty solid team that’s going to help me out”.

While the Predators are certainly hurt by the loss of such a key piece to their team in Pekka Rinne, they’re confident Hutton can continue to deliver the same results they’ve been accustomed to from their goaltending.

“It’s something we’re going to have to deal with. We’ve dealt with injuries in the past and we’re going to have to just move forward,” said Predators captain Shea Weber. “[Hutton] played great for us in Winnipeg and they wouldn’t have signed him if they didn’t believe in him. We’re obviously in a position where we’re going to need someone to step up. It’s his opportunity and we’ve seen it in the past with guys here. Our goalies have gotten hurt in the past and other guys have come in and played great. So, we’re going to need that again”