Monday's notes: Feeling better about a Shea Weber signing

The more I think about this recent development of Shea Weber switching agents, the better I feel about a long-term deal getting negotiated with the Nashville Predators to lock up The Captain at a fair, reasonable price.

Consider the fear of many Preds fans, that Shea would either play hardball to get the highest possible salary, one that would cause headaches for David Poile, or worse yet, seek a one two-year contract as a bridge to unrestricted free agency, where he could go for the real jackpot elsewhere. If that were indeed his plan, would it really make sense to dump Don Meehan, one of the biggest names in the hockey industry, whose firm represents guys like Chris Pronger, Brad Richards, Mike Richards, Steven Stamkos, Jarome Iginla, Nicklas Lidstrom, and a host of other stars?

Does it really make sense to leave a firm like that, and go with a relative newcomer to the industry in Jarret Bousquet's Titan Sports Management? Look at the client list there, and among the active players, it looks to me like Shea is the only guy to have even been to a single All-Star Game. One unnamed agent indicated to me that it sounded like a classic case of a new guy offering to do a deal for next to nothing, as a credibility-building move, and boy did they crow about landing Shea Weber as a client, eh?

I wouldn't expect a deal to get done before the NHL Awards, because certainly a Norris Trophy win would make a nice bullet point on Shea's resume. But all the same, this just has the feel of a guy who doesn't foresee a major haggle with the Predators over this upcoming contract, and instead plans on saving a few percentage points in agency fees.

Ponder that while perusing the morning notes, which includes word that a hockey stats geek has been hired by a Western Conference rival, and the dawn of a new Preds blog...

The "Toast of Music City" balloting has opened for 2011, and I'd appreciate your vote for OTF as Best Blog in Nashville; just click the banner below to head over there where you can vote daily (click the green button)!

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Nashville Predators News

PuckScene.com
It looks like Patten Fuqua's been busy, cooking up a new Predators site, with an early focus on the minors and some draft prospect profiles. You can follow it on Twitter at @puckscenedotcom.

Busy week ahead with awards and draft for the Predators - Inside Smashville
Amanda points out that only Vancouver has more award nominees than the Preds Wednesday night.

Hockey Night in Nashville: Will Colin Wilson mature going into next year?
This might be the most important question facing the team this summer. If he does take a step forward in 2011-12, he could provide that boost on the wing that Preds fans have been looking around the league for.

Paul McCann - Shea Weber, and Ken Campbell at THN Gets it Wrong ... Again!
Paul certainly wasn't sorry to see Ken Campbell get his (rather mild) comeuppance for shoddy work at The Hockey News.

Assault steeled Nashville Predator's Pekka Rinne for NHL success - The Tennessean

Pekka pounced in a pizza parlor? Preposterous!

Who Is Greg Cronin? | Admirals Roundtable
Ryan clues us in on a potential Admirals head coaching candidate.

Source: NU’s Cronin heads to Maple Leafs - BostonHerald.com

Well, so much for that Admirals speculation...

Around the NHL

NHL salary cap to increase to $64 million in 2011-12 season - TSN
With business continuing to grow, Winnipeg likely to do a lot more business next season than the Thrashers would in Atlanta, and of course the new US TV contract kicking in, I'm not surprised at all to see the cap go up like this. I wouldn't have been surprised by $65-66 million, either. Expect the Preds to be around $53-4 million in spending at the start of the season, leaving them room to maneuver and stay below the midpoint of $56 million. I covered the process by which the salary cap gets set a couple months ago.

Stats interesting! Flames add research whiz to coaching staff | GantDaily.com
The Calgary Flames have hired Chris Snow (who used to work with the Wild) as their "director of video and statistical analysis". A banner day for hockey stats geeks all over!

Water polo player suspended over alleged involvement in Canucks riot - The Globe and Mail
One of the rioters identified via all those photos submitted by people in Vancouver? A "rising star on Canada's junior water polo team". This sounds like an otherwise good kid who went along with things and made a very stupid decision; punishment, then, will hopefully teach him not to make such a decision again.

The Dark Blue Jacket: Howson 2.0
A review of the issues facing the Columbus GM this summer. At this point, pretty much everyone but Rick Nash could be made available for the right deal.

NHL’s Colin Campbell glad to be out of firing line - The Globe and Mail
Handing out supplementary discipline is a thankless (and, under the current system, impossible) job.

The launch of a new Canadian sports magazine - The Globe and Mail
A pointed question is asked in the "Double Standard" section towards the end of this piece.

Mark Recchi Tribute: Fans in each of his NHL cities look back - Puck Daddy
And you thought Mark Recchi had a long NHL road? Heck, he had a long road just to make it to the Bigs in the first place.

Bauer Vapor X:20 Stick’um composite hockey stick review | Hockey Gear HQ
The Bauer Vapor X:20 Stick'um is a fine, affordable option for players focused more on puck-handling, passing and wrist shots than a booming slapper. As a longtime wooden stick traditionalist, it's made me feel a lot more comfortable playing with 21st-century hockey technology.

SB Nation Knows It Arrives When One of the Sites Appears on This Show - Blog Huddle
I'll bet J.R. would've nailed this one!

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