If you haven't heard by now, Tomas Vokoun is done for the year with a blood ailment which will leave the Nashville Predators in a very bad position when it comes to making a run in the playoffs. Of course, before I go on to rant and rave about what's going to happen next in Music City, USA, best wishes out to Vokoun, who was having a decent season this year, and will have to battle more than pucks on his road to recovery.
So, what's next for the Predators. Vokoun was a big reason they were doing so well. Now, the debate will begin on what the Preds will do. Right now, Chris Mason is the defacto starter. Though he hasn't gotten much time to prove himself, Mason could be ready to go in for the long haul in the playoffs, but as of late, his performances have been subpar at best. With two losses coming to the Blue Jackets and Blackhawks, the Nashville fateful will have to be holding their breathe come playoff time.
With the floundering of Mason, the big question is if coach Barry Trotz will go with Mason, or try out Pekka Rinne to see what he can do. The big cliche is that a goalie could be the "next Miikka Kiprusoff" in the playoffs when they come in with little experience. It could be an interesting experience, but just because they are both Finns doesn't ultimately mean that it could be a repeat performance. Yet, the Preds could be out of options if Mason decides to crap out on them. Plus, Rinne has had plenty of playing time in the AHL this season, recording 30 wins in 51 apperances this season for the Milwaukee Admirals.
The good thing that Preds have for them is that they have a pretty potent offense that could hold off any on-slaught that the opposition could put forth, but the playoffs are all about defensive play. The Preds have a fairly young defense that could get exposed early and often by whomever is facing them. This is where building from a young team could become a problem. We'll see what happens though, as we all know that strangers thing have occured before in the NHL Playoffs.