The Nashville Predators may have headed out on the road, but we've plenty of local hockey news to fill you up this morning.
After the jump, we've got news that one of the few local sports media figures who understands hockey is leaving town, as the new "Jr. Predators" prepare to hit the ice. We've also got video of a rare bench-clearing brawl, this coming from Russia's KHL. Who says the Euros don't like to fight?
Radio Note: Terry Crisp will be on the Thom Abraham Show (560-AM in Nashville, or WNSR.com) during the 2:00 hour, as the Preds prepare to open their Western Canada road trip tonight in Vancouver.
First off, I wanted to highlight the following news which came from the team this morning:
The Nashville Predators and the newly-formed Greater Nashville Minor Hockey Association (GNMHA) have announced the GNMHA will play under the name Nashville Jr. Predators and will wear the team logo and colors - marking the first time a minor hockey league from Nashville will be associated with a National Hockey League team. This initiative marks the first time area rinks have joined forces for a minor hockey association.
The GNMHA is a newly formed non-profit organization for 8-10 year olds to play at the AA level. This association is a joint effort with Centennial Sportsplex (Nashville) and A-Game Sportsplex (Franklin) to bring together a core group of young local hockey players to play at area ice rinks.
"We're excited to have the Nashville Predators as part of our organization," GNMHA spokesperson Mike Morgan said. "Having an affiliation with our local NHL Club is the best way we can see to achieve our goals of establishing a strong foundation for youth hockey in the Middle Tennessee area while promoting the development of our players, both on and off of the ice"
"The inception of a Junior Predators team here in Nashville is a wonderful development for our organization and the city of Nashville," Nashville Predators President of Business Operations, Ed Lang said. "We are confident these young men will carry on the Predators brand by working hard, playing hard and providing outrageous community support. We believe that using the sport of hockey will help educate young people to succeed in the game of life."
When the team first came to Nashville in 1998, there were a few hundred kids playing hockey. Today there are more than a thousand kids playing - with significant growth in all age categories from beginner to adult and everywhere in between. Since their inception, the Nashville Predators have been actively involved in growing the sport of hockey in Middle Tennessee. Youth and Amateur Hockey initiatives include the Get Out And Learn! program, which has reached more than 1,000 new hockey players under the age of nine; the hosting of high school hockey games on Preds Saturday home games in addition to the scholastic state championship Preds Cup; and sponsoring jerseys with Preds shoulder logos for area house leagues. This partnership is just the next step for the development of hockey in Nashville.
The GNMHA and the Nashville Jr. Predators offer youth hockey players in the Middle Tennessee area the opportunity to play Tier I and II ice hockey while building character and developing discipline, athleticism and integrity. Our goal is to keep these tenets in focus while enjoying the great game of hockey. For more information on the Nashville Jr. Predators, please visit www.nashvillejrpredators.com.
Thanks - Sinko signing off - Nashville Predators - Message Board
Lousy news for Nashville as sports reporter Eric Yutzy leaves NewsChannel5 for a new gig in Indianapolis (where I lived for 8 years before coming to Nashville). He was the only guy I've seen on local TV who could actually speak authoritatively about the game of hockey, and he'll be missed by Predators fans. Indy's getting an energetic and resourceful reporter, though, so best of luck, Eric.
Admirals Win Game, Lose Scatchard - Admirals Short Shifts
Lousy news from Milwaukee, where Dave Scatchard may be lost for a month or longer.
Preds 101: AOAG: Defensive Breakdowns & Losing Your Man
Break down a goal against the Preds from Saturday night, and cast your vote for who's most to blame!
Midseason Grades - Hockey Independent
David Singleton hands out grades for the Preds...
Game Night - Warmer Climes than Nashville... - Paul McCann
Paul points out that by heading to the Great Northwest, the Preds have a chance to escape the chilly weather here in Tennessee.
Around the NHL
Sutter furious at lazer pointer wielding Canucks fan - TSN
The security staff in Vancouver needs to get a handle on this kind of stuff quickly; a fan distracted Flames goalie Miikka Kiprusoff during the game Saturday night, which cannot be tolerated.
More on the green laser pointer | CANUCKS HOCKEY BLOG
J.J. Guerroro has the blow-by-blow on what happened in Vancouver as arena security tried to find the culprit.
Payne doesn’t mind using Backes’ line against opponent’s top skill players - STLtoday
The new Blues coach changes tactics away from using a dedicated checking line, to more of a "power on power" approach.
Philadelphia Flyers forward Jeff Carter on trade block? Don't bet on it - ESPN
Pierre LeBrun also writes about the NHLPA's complaints about escrow (which are undermined to some extent by their decision to enact the 5% "inflator" over the summer, but that's a long story).
Dennis Seidenberg: The perfect trade target for a Sharks team in need of defensive help - Fear The Fin
Sharks fans are already speculating on who can help them at the trading deadline...
Potental targets for the trading deadline - PensBurgh
Penguins fans, too, are looking around the league with for a boost...
Sergei Gonchar Doesn't Score, Takes A Penalty, Then Scores All In One Play - SB Nation
You certainly don't see this every day! A mind-bending situation came up Saturday night between Pittsburgh and Toronto, as the Leafs thought they had a penalty shot coming up, only to see it swiped away.
Alex Kovalev on his first half and being an Olympic snub - Puck Daddy
Dmitri Chesnokov interviews the Senators winger about not making the Russian Olympic squad.
Salary Cap Vs. Luxury Tax - Hockey Or Die!
Jonathan Willis takes agent Allan Walsh to task over his advocacy of a baseball-style luxury tax for the NHL, as opposed to the current salary cap system. Why anybody (outside of Toronto) would want the baseball setup is beyond me.
How the NHL could conquer Europe | Truth & Rumours
The prospect of NHL expansion into Europe is an exciting one, but starting off by contracting the southern US teams is counter-productive.
And lastly, who doesn't like a full-on hockey brawl? Here's the video from the KHL dust-up between Vitayz Chekhov and Avangard Omsk...