Predators off to a busy start for the second half

The Nashville Predators had a busy start to the week as the second half of the season gets under way. NHLHS Predators correspondent Tyler Davis looks at the news and notes from the day.

The Nashville Predators had a very busy first day back after the All Star break, with a mixture of news coming from the team.

According to Jim Diamond of the Nashville Examiner, the Predators announced on Monday that defenseman Francis Bouillon, who has been sidelined with an injury sustained against the Chicago Blackhawks on January 16th, is suffering from a concussion.  It was initially reported that he suffered a separated shoulder.  Bouillon has missed the last 6 games and was placed on the Injured Reserve on Monday.  Marek Svatos was also placed on the Injured Reserve after having surgery on his knee last week.

Due to placing two playing on the IR, the Predators also announced Monday that they have recalled Matt Halischuk and Chris Mueller from the Milwaukee Admirals.  So far through 6 games with the Predators, Halischuk has posted 3 points (1 goal/2 assists).  Mueller has, 14 games, also posted 3 points (3 assists).

However, post All Star break also came with some good news.  On Monday, the NHL announced that goaltender Pekka Rinne had been named the Third Star of the month for January.  On his way to garnering Third Star honors, Rinne played 11 of Nashville’s 13 games in the month of January, winning 8 of them. He also posted the number one Goals Against Average in the NHL (1.71), and a save percentage of .947 which is good enough for second in the NHL.  Currently, Rinne sits at second overall in the league in Goals Against Average with 2.10 and a save percentage of .929.  These numbers have deservedly put Rinne right in the middle of the discussion for the Vezina trophy.

But, quite possibly the best news for Predators fans, was the announcement of the return of Jordin Tootoo to the ice.  Tootoo entered the NHL’s Substance Abuse Program on December 27th, and, at that time it was not clear just how much time he would miss.  On Sunday evening however, Predators blogger AJ in Nashville reported spotting Tootoo in a local restaurant in Nashville where he said, “I’ll be back soon.”  The Predators announced the following day that Tootoo has been cleared by the NHL to resume practice, but not cleared to play or travel with the team.

Overall, the first day back from the All Star game had its ups and downs for the Predators, but they look to be positioning themselves for an end of the season run and to improve their current 4th place standing in the Western Conference.  The Predators played Calgary (25-21-8) to a shootout on Tuesday losing 3-2.  They now look forward to Thursday when they face the Philadelphia Flyers (33-13-5) in Philadelphia.

Tyler Davis

NHLHS Nashville Predators Correspondent

Twitter: @Trebek14