Monday's notes: Blues shake up the Central

The St. Louis Blues really surprised the NHL yesterday with the abrupt firing of head coach Davis Payne, and his replacement with former Blue Jackets coach Ken Hitchcock, who had been rumored to possibly re-take command in Columbus instead. While there will certainly be questions about Hitch's long-term viability (he tends to burn out his teams after a few years), I think we should have little doubt that he'll make the Blues a much tougher team to play against in the short term, dare I say, a little more Predator-like?

All eyes will on St. Louis over the next couple weeks, as the Blues open a five-game homestand tomorrow night against Chicago (their next game against the Preds is in Nashville on December 17). One has to wonder if there may be a few player moves as a result of this coaching change, too. But for now, enjoy your morning hockey notes...

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Nashville Predators News

Smashville 24/7: Blum feels right at home in Southern California
Blummer's home for a few days.

Pekka Rinne's contract changes Nashville Predators' mood - The Tennessean
When the goalie's happy, everybody's happy.

Preds shed challenges, question marks en route to Saturday's landmark game | Nashville City Paper
This weekend's home game vs. Montreal is the 1,000th in the Preds' regular season history.

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

Davis Payne Reacts To Being Fired As Blues Head Coach - St. Louis Game Time
They're scratching their heads in St. Louis over the sudden dismissal of David Payne.

Week 5 - Free Agents and Trade Targets - Fantasy Hockey Scouts
Are you looking to tweak your fantasy roster? Check here for advice on who you should look at.

Hockey: A young man’s game - The Globe and Mail
It's all about getting maximum value out of players on those first or second contracts, as opposed to shelling out big bucks on older, unrestricted free agents.

Video: Vityaz head coach Andrei Nazarov fights KHL fans with stick - Puck Daddy
Exhibit #257 as to why the KHL is an absolute joke.

Video: Let’s all be thankful Drew Doughty wears a visor - Puck Daddy
Another case in point for how more players should wear facial protection in the NHL. 

A Theory of Ice: Hockey Ephemera: Cairo, 2009
An ice rink in Egypt? Now that's a non-traditional hockey market.

D2: The Undeniable Cultural Impact of the Mighty Ducks Franchise - The Triangle Blog
You Mighty Ducks fans might enjoy this trip down Memory Lane.

Flames at Avalanche Recap, Avs lose 2-1 - Mile High Hockey
The Avs can't seem to win at home (1-5-0), but dominate on the road (6-1-1).

Canucks At Hawks Recap ; The Battle Of Five Armies (6-2W) - Nucks Misconduct
As I've said before, I'm always a sucker for a Tolkien reference.

Rangers Vs. Jets: Rangers Win Fourth Straight Against Winnipeg Jets - Blueshirt Banter
Marian Gaborik is up to a point-per-game pace after earning two goals and an assist yesterday.

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