Three Minutes With: starting goaltender Pekka Rinne…

This is the fifth in a multi-part series leading up to the 2010-11 regular season.

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To help bridge the gap between now and the regular season, we will be doing a series called Three Minutes With. Every installment will be with a different member of the Nashville Predators family. Could be players. Could be coaches. Could even be fans.

In the fifth installment we have the first clear cut number one goaltender for the Nashville Predators since the days of Tomas Vokoun, Pekka Rinne. In just 114 games with the Preds, Rinne has compiled a 62-32-9 record with a stellar 14 shutouts and .914 save percentage. What may be even more impressive is his career 2.46 goals-against average. The skaters in front of him aren’t exactly known for their scoring touch so that sub 2.5 GAA indicates he keeps his team in games on a regular basis. No more Dan Ellis means no more starting goalie controversy for Rinne and that’s a position he hasn’t experienced in his professional career thus far. How will he handle it? We’ll find out this year.

Jeremy K. Gover: How good does it feel to get back out here and get to work with your teammates again?
Pekka Rinne: Oh it feels great. It’s always good this time of the year. You work hard during the summer but that gets old. You want to get back on the ice and working with the guys. It feels really good and I think everyday, you know, it must be the same way for everybody. Everybody’s feeling better and it’s just an exciting time of the year. Training camp is right there and you’re just trying to get ready for it.

JG: How are you preparing for the season where you’re going in as the clear number 1 as opposed to previous years?
PR: Oh I don’t think nothing really changed. I try to prepare the same way and I try to be in the best shape I can be. Maybe this summer I took, after the season, a little bit more time off from hockey and tried to get mentally fresh just because that’s what you need, you know? Everybody’s so skilled at this level and it’s all in your head and that’s the one thing I tried to make sure of, to get enough rest and just get ready for this season.

JG: You played really well down the stretch last season. You just mentioned getting your head fresh. Is that what you did during those three weeks off during the Olympics last year?
PR: Ah, yeah. It’s easy to say now, obviously, everything went well after that but I think it was a good time to get some time off. I got a fresh start even though it was in the middle of the season. It was a new situation for everybody but yeah. I guess that was my goal, just to get a new start, a fresh start. That time of the year the games are so big and you know it’s easy to get mentally ready.

JG: How’d you spend your few months off this summer?
PR: Oh well I just tried to stay as much as possible at home. You know, see my parents and all the friends and all the people close to me. That was the main thing and that was great. But, other than that, I enjoyed fishing and, you know, traveling so (I did) a little bit of both but it was a really good summer.

JG: Finally, how tough was the first round loss to Chicago considering how close you guys were to winning and do you personally hang on to things like that or do you let it go and focus on what’s coming next?
PR: Well, I think it’s always in the back of your mind. You know, I can only talk about myself but it was the first NHL playoffs for me and it was a great experience. You know, you kind of realize the margins between the teams are extremely small. And I think that just makes you more excited and more confident that you are almost there and that we can do it. So, I think it was a great experience and I’m just really excited for this year.

JG: Thanks so much.
PR: Yeah, thank you.