Thursday's news: Predators in position to buy

It's Game Night, folks! Tonight at 7:00 the Preds kick off the pre-season against the Atlanta Thrashers, and prior to the game the new 3rd jersey will be officially unveiled. It should be a fun night down at the Sommet Center. Word so far is that Colin Wilson and Ryan Ellis will both play, giving fans their first look at the team's top picks in the last two drafts.

Before we get to the morning news, however, I want to make special note of something that John Glennon included in his recap of yesterday's Silver/Blue scrimmage:

I spoke with Preds’ GM David Poile afterward, in part regarding the latest on Nashville’s pursuit of Boston forward Phil Kessel. Poile said the Preds have offered a combination of draft picks and prospects for Kessel, who scored 36 goals last season.

 

``Nothing’s really new -- I haven’t been told we’re in. I haven’t been told we’re out,’’ Poile said. ``I know approximately what (Boston GM Peter Chiarelli) wants and he knows approximately what we would be prepared to do. I haven’t been told either way.’’

You know what this tells me? Surprisingly, Poile is positioned to acquire a $4 million+ player, without returning a major salary the other way. In other words, if the Preds don't win Kessel, it's entirely likely that they might acquire another established NHL player. In my humble opinion, the biggest need is really for a veteran presence on defense, one that could be found for a lot less than $4 million. The Kessel situation presents a unique opportunity to snag a young, proven talent up front, so perhaps Poile's willing to stretch his budget a bit if it works out.

So keep that in your back pocket as we take a look at this morning's news...

Predators News

Mr. Optimist. Mr. Pessimist. Nashville Predators Edition - Sport Informant
Sean Patchett presents both extremes of the fans perspective of the Preds heading into the season.

September Preview - New Jersey... and some Pred Nuggets - Paul McCann
Paul gets charged up for tonight's game, takes a (well-deserved) shot at Doug MacLean for his jumping on board with Jim Balsillie, and provides a season preview for the New Jersey Devils.

Preds On The Glass: Opening Night (Preseason Version) and More
Buddy's getting ready for the first pre-season game tonight, including a musical selection to get us in the mood.

Predators give rookie a chance - The Tennessean
Tonight, Colin Wilson takes the ice at the Sommet Center for the Preds. John Glennon looks at his chances to start the season in the NHL, rather than developing in Milwaukee.

Preds' captain picking up where he left off - Nashville City Paper
If Jason Arnott starts this season like he ended the last one, the Preds will be in good shape. His line certainly looked sharp during yesterday's scrimmage.

The View from 111: Rogues, Rascals, and the Lessons Learned
Mark reviews the financial scandal of Bernie Madoff, and finds many similarities to the Boots Del Biaggio situation.

Five questions with Shea Weber - Nashville Predators Examiner
Jim Diamond continues his "Five questions" series with the Preds star defenseman.

Kids like Colin Wilson get long look in first week of NHL camp - SI.com
Darren Eliot provides a nice profile piece on Colin Wilson, arguing that both his physique and his hockey sense are NHL-ready. (hat tip to Admirals Short Shifts)

Red Light District: Defense isn't an issue in Music City
A portrait of what is an incredible rarity these days; an NHL defense corps drafted and developed within a single organization.

Ready to Jump? | Hockey Independent
Mark W. (from The View From 111) joins up with HockeyIndependent.com to provide Nashville Predators coverage, and in this post, talks about all the young players being asked to raise their game this fall.

OGA SPR: The Nashville Predators : On Goal Analysis
"Big Tex" takes a look at the Preds and their prospects both from a fantasy hockey perspective, and the question of whether they can return to the playoffs this spring.

Around the NHL

Sykora Extra - Russo’s Rants
Mike Russo checks in with Petr Sykora as he works with the Minnesota Wild on a tryout basis.

Waddell: Goalie Spots Wide Open - Bird Watchers Anonymous
With the Thrashers coming to town this evening for a pre-season game, the Falconer brings us a summary of a Town Hall meeting held by Atlanta's management. They discuss the team's financial situation (they've made some significant acquisitions this summer), the prospects for signing Ilya Kovalchuk to a contract extension, and an open competition for the #1 goalie job.

An Open Letter To Wayne Gretzky - Hockey From the Cheap Seats
Matt Reitz asks the Great One to do the right thing and resign as head coach of the Coyotes. His absurd salary and continued presence behind the bench despite a complete lack of success is just one example of the horrible management decisions that have contributed to the team's woes.

New Jersey Devils Beat New York Rangers in Preseason Shooutout, 3-2 - In Lou We Trust
Here's more pre-season action from New Jersey. I won't link to game summaries like this very often, but hey, the pre-season just got started, so let's dig in!

Pre-Season Game 1: Toronto Maple Leafs 2 v. Boston Bruins 3 - Pension Plan Puppets
A recap of last night's preseason game in Toronto.

Two wins over weak teams in the preseason. Next stop for the Edmonton Oilers: the Stanley Cup. - Cult of Hockey
Two games into the preseason, and David Staples is beaming with optimism about the Oilers. I'm guessing just about every hockey fan feels that way before the puck drops on the regular season.

Leafs Abomination - The Globe and Mail
Michael Grange discusses his new book on the Toronto Maple Leafs in this podcast. It's interesting to hear how much many of the "educated fans" want the Leafs to totally bomb out so they can land a top draft pick, and rebuild from there. Folks, just because Pittsburgh and Washington hit the jackpot doesn't mean it's a recommended course of action...

Alex Ovechkin Named D.C. Sportsman of the Year - Japers' Rink
A nice honor for the NHL's MVP, getting recognized as the athlete of the year in Washington D.C.

The Top 10 Power Forwards - Fantasy Hockey Scouts
Everybody loves a good power forward, but who are the 10 best in the NHL right now?

Top 10 Defensemen under 25 - The Hockey News
John Grigg breaks down the best young blueliners in the NHL. It's awfully nice to see two Preds in the Top 5...

Thanks For The Memories, Bret - Canes Country
Defenseman Bret Hedican who played more than 1,000 games and won a Stanley Cup in 2006 with Carolina, announced his retirement yesterday, and Canes Country recalls his stellar career.

The New Age of Marketing & The NHL " Michelle Kenneth’s Weblog
Michelle writes about the Washington Capitals (surprise) taking the lead and signing all their players up on Twitter.

Let’s Welcome Another Hockey Blog to the Community - KuklasKorner : Goal Line Report :
Patrick Hoffman interviews BD Gallof about the new HockeyIndependent.com, which has just gone live.

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