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Nov 21, 2013; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Nashville Predators defenseman Seth Jones (3) congratulates goalie Marek Mazanec (39) after their victory against the Toronto Maple Leafs at Air Canada Centre. The Predators beat the Maple Leafs 4-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Rookie Of The Month: Marek Mazanec

Credit: Mike Strasinger-USA TODAY Sports

This past offseason, the Nashville Predator’s all-star goaltender Pekka Rinne had hip surgery, but recovered in time to begin the season. Then, on October 22, Rinne re-injured his hip in a game against the Minnesota Wild. Two days later he had arthroscopic surgery on his hip due to an E. Coli infection, and has not played since. Rinne is expected to miss a few more weeks and is still on crutches. When Rinne went down, things looked grim for Nashville. Backup goalie Carter Hutton wasn’t getting it done as a replacement for Rinne, posting a sub-par .891 SV% and a 3.39 GAA, going 4-3-1 in that span. So, the Preds looked to 22-year old Marek Mazanec to fill the crease, and they haven’t looked back since. Mazanec played 10 out of 14 games for the Predators in the month of November, going 5-4-1, posting a .932 SV% and an even 2.00 GAA, also adding two shutouts against Detroit and Columbus. The Pisek, Czech Republic native has earned the respect of his teammates and coaches, while also setting their minds (as well as the fan’s minds) at ease in Rinne’s absence. Nashville is 11th in the challenging Western Conference, but are only 8 points out of the playoffs. If Mazanec continues playing like this and if Nashville’s offense can get it going, they have a chance to climb up the standings, especially once Pekka Rinne gets healthy. Mazanec was drafted in the 6th round of the 2012 entry draft, going 179th overall. He is one of two players to have played in the NHL this season after being drafted past the fourth round that year. The other is the Washington Capital’s defenseman Connor Carick, and Carick was recently sent down to Hershey in the AHL. Mazanec could also be getting attention for the upcoming Olympics in Sochi, battling Michal Neuvirth and Ondrej Pavalec for the starting job for the Czech Republic. Congratulations Marek Mazanec on being named the rookie of the month for the month of November.

Tags: Nashville Predators Rookie Of The Month

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