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Jimmy Howard’s groin injury opened the door for the debate about which goaltender should replace him in next week’s All-Star Game. On Thursday, that debate expanded with the news that Pekka Rinne of the Nashville Predators will miss the team's next three games and not be traveling to Columbus.
Rinne sprained his knee during a collision with Chris Higgins of the Vancouver Canucks on Tuesday during a 5-1 win:
The Predators netminder is certainly the front-runner for the Vezina Trophy at the midway point of the season, and in many eyes leads the Hart Trophy race as well. Nashville needs him for the second half if they're to continue their turnaround season.
So now the question is who replaces him in the All-Star Game?
The New York Islanders announced on Thursday that Jaroslav Halak had been named as one of the replacements. Who gets the second spot? Marc-Andre Fleury's numbers stand out, but cases could be made for Henrik Lundqvist and Braden Holtby.
Fleury might be a definite, given his better numbers. Via Alex Prewitt of the Washington Post, Holtby isn't such a big fan of the midseason showcase to begin with, so it might be down to Fleury and Lundqvist in the eyes of the NHL's Hockey Ops Department in their decision.
UPDATE: Word is Rinne will miss 3-5 weeks. That's a big blow.
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