Monday's notes: Nashville's place in the Central Division

As we flip the calendar over to August, they daily stream of hockey news tends to dry up, so expect a greater focus on league-wide affairs, as well as a heavy dose of player profiles; my goal is to wrap up the roster this month, so that in September we can gear up for training camp and the start of preseason hockey. On the Predators front, we have a look at their standing in the Central Division, some musings over potential free agent acquisitions, and a look at the hangover from the "Boots" Del Biaggio saga. All that and more after the jump...

Oh, and don't forget to get your latest desktop wallpaper!

Predators face challenge as division improves - The Tennessean
John Glennon surveys the competitive landscape in the Central Division based on the events so far this summer. My quick take is that St. Louis will probably be the most improved team next year as injured players return and young players develop, while I see Columbus as having stagnated a bit.

Will Zherdev hit the market? Should the Preds take a peek? - Tennessean.com
Before heading to the beach for the week (not a bad idea, there), John Glennon takes a look at the Nikolai Zherdev situation. The oft-criticized, but talented forward won an arbitration award for $3.9 million from the New York Rangers, leading to speculation that the team will cut him loose instead. You'll see some of the BS (err... "hockey rumor") merchants putting Nashville hot on his tail, but common sense and budget realities make this absurdly unlikely.

Making the case: Vaclav Prospal - Section 303
Jeremy tries to find Martin Erat a Czech mate.

The View from 111: The Business of Boots
In light of last week's outstanding review of the Boots Del Biaggio saga by the Sports Business Journal, Mark looks at what it means for the Nashville Predators going forward.

Around the NHL

Cracks begin to show in Reinsdorf bid - From The Rink
Criticisms are being raised over the bid by Jerry Reinsdorf to purchase the Phoenix Coyotes; not just from current owner Jerry Moyes and wannabe owner Jim Balsillie, but by some of the team's creditors as well. This drama isn't even close to being over...

Filling the news void, one unsourced falsehood at a time - Raw Charge
SB Nation's Tampa Bay Lightning blog takes the rumor-mongers like Eklund out to the woodshed. I've been working up the bile for something similar myself, and think it's sad that another such site has sprung up in recent days, spewing unfounded rumors supposedly based on "inside information." Here's a hint, folks - if it's from a supposed "insider" that you've never heard of, who doesn't cite his sources, it's not worth your time reading, unless you're looking for mindless speculation.

The Hockey News: Loose Change - Arbitrary arbitrating
Charlie Teljeur has some hilarious solutions to various NHL problems.

NHL investigating Hossa deal: Scare tactic or taking a stand? - Puck Daddy
The NHL is now investigating with Chicago's 12-year contract with Marian Hossa (and Chris Pronger's 7-year deal with Philadelphia) were deliberately crafted to avoid the salary cap, with an unwritten proviso that neither player actually plans on playing into their mid-40's. You can expect that as part of the next Collective Bargaining Agreement, there will be a lot of discussion about setting a limit on how long a contract can run (if only to save the New York Islanders from themselves).

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