Pekka Rinne To Play for Finland at IIHF World Championships
With his Nashville Predators eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs, Pekka Rinne is joining the Finnish national team for the 2015 IIHF World Championships in the Czech Republic. In an interesting twist, Rinne will fill out a roster that already includes two goalies drafted by Nashville: Atte Engren (2007) and Juuse Saros (2013).
It is in a way a return to a scene of recent triumph for Rinne. As part of the 2014 Finnish team, He was largely considered the core reason for that team’s eventual silver medal. He was named Most Valuable Player for that tournament.
There has been some speculation that Rinne might not be completely recovered from a knee injury he suffered in January. After returning from to the ice in February, Rinne’s statistics took a dive. He put up a .911 overall save percentage in the regular season and a .909 in the playoffs (.925 and .919 at even strength.) During the playoffs, Rinne’s blocker side drew attention both from observers and quite possibly from the Chicago Blackhawks.
Rinne is not the only NHL goalie playing at this year’s World Championships. Ondrej Pavelec (Winnipeg Jets) will join the host Czech Republic team. Mike Smith (Arizona Coyotes) and Martin Jones (Los Angeles Kings) will play for Canada. Jhonas Enroth (Buffalo Sabres/Dallas Stars) will play for Sweden. Sergei Bobrovsky (Columbus Blue Jackets) and Anton Khudobin will be in net for reigning-champion Russia.
The World Championships begin on Friday with Canada taking on Latvia and the USA facing Finland in the first two games of the tournament.