Thursday's notes: Summer sucked, drop the puck!

At long last, the puck drops tonight on the 2011-2012 NHL Regular Season, and for hockey fans, it's been a long, difficult summer. With contract concerns about the big stars here in Nashville, tragedy which took the lives of dozens of hockey's family far too soon, and the relocation of the Preds' nearest NHL neighbor as the Thrashers flew off to Winnipeg, there has been more than enough off-ice stories to keep up with.

Kicking back and watching the games unfold will prove a welcome relief, I'm sure. Check your cable or satellite provider, as usually, there's a free preview of NHL Center Ice available for the first 2 or 3 weeks of the season, so between that and Versus, you should be able to immerse yourself in hockey once again!

But for now, enjoy your morning hockey notes...

Nashville Predators News

Preseason predictions are flooding the internet this morning, and I'll post ours here later today. In the meantime, check out The View From 111PredGoldHockey Night In NashvilleThe PredatorialSmashville 24/7, and Preds On The Glass to get you started.

Best of Nashville 2011: People & Places Writers' Choice - Nashville Scene
Leggy, Smithers, and the dynamic duo of David Poile & Shea Weber make the honor roll here.

Craig Smith: This Year's Training Camp Surprise -
Hey, lookie here... Thanks to the Preds for asking me to submit another article for their site.

Preds On The Glass: POTG Opening Day Headlines, News and Links: It's Finally Time to Drop the Puck!
Buddy's itching for the puck to drop at 6:00 tonight between Philly & Boston.

Previewing the Nashville Predators Opening Night Roster: Defense/Goaltenders - The Hockey Writers |
Congrats to Josh for jumping onboard at THW.

Smashville 24/7: What national pundits are saying about the Preds
Ryan rounds up thoughts from around the media.

Taking Out The Trash….Again | Admirals Roundtable
Those guys at The Hockey News disagree with how good Nashville's development pipeline looks, ranking the Admirals last in the AHL. Ryan points out how awful their predictions have been lately, though.

Partner in Lebanon's entertainment project faces lawsuits, financial troubles - Nashville Business Journal
There's a bit of a whiff of Festival Tennessee around yesterday's announcement in Lebanon of a proposed retail/entertainment complex that would include a two-rink hockey arena. It sounds like Global Entertainment has a few issues to sort out...

Offense will determine success for Predators - The Tennessean
They'll definitely need every goal they can get, but I worry a bit more about how well they'll play in their own end.

Winning division title won't be an easy feat - The Tennessean
...that's an understatement.

Maintenance day for Kostitsyn and notes - Predators Insider
Assorted updates, which include further optimism that Francis Bouillon may be ready to play soon.

Changes cause early confusion, congestion on Predators bench - Nashville City Paper
Like a new dance partner, Lane Lambert is stepping on a few toes behind the bench. Funny, often-overlooked stuff here.

And here's our man Pekka on his media tour in New York...

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

The NHL Looks to Keep its Momentum Going - Forbes
Some teams are thriving, some are struggling, but overall, the NHL is a growing business.

Twenty questions for the new NHL season - Edmonton Journal
A good overview of story lines to follow in the early going.

Hockey close to a statistics revolution - Calgary Herald
The Calgary Flames even added a statistical analyst to their front office this summer.

A Palantir Is A Dangerous Tool - Soothsayings From McClure For The 2011-2012 Season - Second City Hockey
If the trade prediction in here pans out for Chicago... yowza.

Former Sabres star Rick Martin had brain disease - The Globe and Mail
Stunning news here, that Rick Martin (of Buffalo's "French Connection" line) had developed CTE, the type of brain damage which seems to be tied to repeated, long-term head trauma. The shocking thing is, this guy wasn't an enforcer, extending the discussion of player safety beyond the controversy over fighting.

Blues have verbal agreement for sale to Chicago businessman -
After sniffing around the Coyotes for a long time, Matt Hulsizer looks to be your new St. Louis Blues owner...

Resale ticket prices for Winnipeg Jets opener are expectedly insane - Puck Daddy
They're going bonkers in Winnipeg, and good for them. It's going to be a fun year for them, regardless of how well the Jets do.

Paul Bissonnette Gets a 2 Year Contract Extension - Five For Howling

The NHL's Twitter MVP signs a new deal...

Terry Jones Quite Literally Eats His Words - Backhand Shelf

See, I knew there was a good reason why I stick to pixels instead of paper. 

Fantasy Top Ten: Goalie Gambles - Fantasy Hockey Scouts
I doubt many Predators fans would view #1 as much of a gamble at all!

NBC Sports Network to Televise Notre Dame Hockey Home Games Starting in 2013-14 " Puck The Media
Are you kidding me? Their own deal for hockey? Ugh.

Uh oh, here comes the Shanahammer again! No, wait... what's this? Wow, now I'm really impressed with the new way the league is handling things:

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