Rinne’s absence from his friends’ trip will give them something more to do than swap stories.
“It will be fun to be together with the guys and watch the game,” Backstrom said.
That Backstrom has remained so close to his former teammate is a testament to Rinne’s patience and pleasant disposition.
Rinne was a lanky, unheralded teenager when he joined the developmental program for Karpat, a club based in the northern city of Oulu, near his hometown, Kempele. He was eventually promoted to the top team with little fanfare and an explicit understanding that he was there for one purpose: to serve as Backstrom’s backup.
Despite spending much of his time on the bench, Rinne instantly became a favorite among his teammates.
“I don’t think you’re going to find anybody who has something bad to say about him,”…