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Weber, Rinne struggle again as Coyotes blank Predators

Jan 28, 2013, 11:55 PM EDT

sheawebergetty Getty Images

So, you’ve never heard of Chad Johnson, at least the Phoenix Coyotes goalie and not Chad Ochocinco?

That’s understandable, but the 26-year-old netminder now has two things Pekka Rinne doesn’t have this season: a win and a shutout.

Johnson* and the Coyotes defeated a punch-less Nashville Predators squad 4-0 on Monday night. He needed just 21 saves to blank the Preds, who must worry about scoring without Patric Hornqvist.

When your team is 1-2-3 in six contests, blame should be spread around. Still, it’s hard not to single out Rinne, 30 and Shea Weber, 27, after the team went to great expenses to keep them around.

The big Finnish netminder is 0-2-3; his cap hit is $7 million. The hard-shooting defenseman has zero points and a -1 rating while carrying around a cap hit that’s a little under $7.86 million. Overall, the Predators have managed just 10 goals in six contests.

Yes, it’s very early, but those numbers must be disturbing to many Predators fans (and probably GM David Poile).

If it hasn’t started already, a lot of life after Ryan Suter questions will start cropping up as the team continues to struggle. He’s not lightning up the world (three assists, but a -5 rating), yet Nashville’s tough opening will bring out plenty of doubters.

The Predators have some serious work to do if they want to prove them wrong again.

* – Interesting fact from’s Michael Blinn: this was Johnson’s second NHL win. The first came as a member of the New York Rangers almost three years ago; he triumphed against the Colorado Avalanche on Jan. 31, 2010.

  1. greatminnesotasportsmind - Jan 29, 2013 at 1:44 AM

    It’s hard to say this early on any player this season if they are going to struggle all year or just a slow start. I’m sure Weber isn’t looking great yet, but it isn’t because of not having Suter. I’m sure like Suter, Weber is playing close to 30 minutes a game. When you have 1 week of training camp and no pre season games, players are going to be out of shape. We are still 10-15 games away from being able to judge if its a slow start or bad year.

    What scares me about Weber more than Suter, is that Suter is learning a whole new defensive system. I’m sure Suter will get the ins and out of the Wild’s system.

    Going into last night Suter was on the ice for 8 of the Wild’s 10 goals given up. He was on the ice in overtime last night when the Blues won and I believe he was on the ice for the go ahead goal before Heatley tied the game.

    So all in all, it’s way to early to start freaking out on Suter or Weber. Both will be fine.

  2. mojosmagic - Jan 29, 2013 at 2:50 AM

    Those 4 #1 picks for Weber from Philly don’t look to bad now.

  3. hockeywithdrawal - Jan 29, 2013 at 8:24 AM

    They should take all of their money and build a wall in front of the net. That’ll fix it.

    I wonder if they can still shop Weber…

  4. gekkoguy82 - Jan 29, 2013 at 8:25 AM

    Peks could have made 500 saves while only giving up 1 goal last night and it wouldn’t have mattered. I think he’s the least of the Predators’ problems right now.

  5. shannysux - Jan 29, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    Ochocinco looked good in net for the Yotes

  6. dsonashville28 - Jan 29, 2013 at 1:43 PM

    Can’t win if you can’t score. Also can’t keep other teams honest defensively if you can’t score. Add in a lack of effort offensively, and you have a 1-2-3 record.

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