It was not like Pekka Rinne was in constant pain during the 2012-13 season. Far from it, in fact.
That only was the case two weeks ago after surgery to correct a degenerative condition in his left hip.
“Obviously the first couple days after surgery it was probably a little more painful, like it usually is,” Rinne said Monday. “Other than that, it’s been really good. The swelling and inflammation went down right away and I was able to kind of start doing the rehab right away the first couple days. It’s been helping a whole lot and there’s no pain. It makes every day life a little more comfortable.”
Rinne was on crutches but was tanned and smiling as he helped franchise officials distribute a record $405,000 in grants to local charities through the Nashville Predators Foundation. In all, 113 awards were presented.
He said the condition, first discovered during his 2012 exit physical, weighed on his mind more than it affected his body over the last year.
Tests conducted last month revealed additional wear and tear in the joint. That and the fact that the Predators missed the playoffs for just the second time in nine years convinced him the time was right to do something about it.
“It was just the fact that it was progressing from a year earlier,” he said. “A year is a pretty short period of time. In one year it was getting worse and the MRI showed that. … To give myself a better, calm frame of mind I wanted to have a second opinion. I had that in New York and it was the same kind of result.
“… I want to be able to play a lot of games and not have something in the back of my mind and something to worry about. Right now I’m comfortable. I know it’s a lot of work but I’m comfortable being in this situation.”
The rehabilitation is expected to last roughly four months, which projects almost all the way to the start of training camp. Rather than spend the summer in his native Finland, as he typically does, the two-time Vezina Trophy finalist will remain in Nashville for virtually all of this offseason.
He said he could be on crutches for as many as six more weeks but said the process has proceeded on schedule to this point.
“I was disappointed that I can’t have a normal summer and do all the things I usually do in the offseason,” Rinne said. “You realize that it’s something you just have to do as good a job as you can with the situation.
“This still plenty of things, especially after a month or six weeks, how much more intensive the rehab and the training gets. Every week I get to do a lot more. I’m just hoping that by July or August I can start training more and more and it gives me time to get ready.”
In the first year of a seven-year, $49 million contract, Rinne went 15-16-8 and five shutouts in 43 appearances.
The shutouts matched his total from the previous season, when he played 73 games, but his 2.43 goals-against average and .910 save percentage were off his career numbers coming into the season (2.35 and .921, respectively). Similarly, he won 60 percent of his shootouts the previous four seasons but was just 2-6 in the tiebreakers.
“If and when I had pain it was always after games and practices,” Rinne said. “It’s like anything else. On the ice when you’re in it you don’t really feel it and you don’t really think about it. It’s usually after the games or practice.
“… It would be easy to use that as an excuse but I don’t want to do that. I still felt good for the most part.”
• Minor league forward Mark Van Guilder signed a two-year, two-way contract that will pay him an NHL salary of $550,000.
The Milwaukee Admirals’ Man of the Year each of the last three seasons set career-highs with 14 goals, 18 assists, 32 points and a plus-15 rating in 2012-13. He has played 241 AHL contests, all but three with the Admirals.