At long last, we finally saw some movement on the star-quality restricted free agent class of 2011, with Steven Stamkos signing a 5-year, $37.5 million contract with Tampa Bay. Will this serve as the domino which sets further negotiations in motion, for names like Zach Parise, Drew Doughty, and Shea Weber?
We can only hope, but until we hear more, follow after the jump for your afternoon hockey news...
Nashville Predators News
Red Light District: Can ‘Predator Hockey’ win a Stanley Cup?
The word "can" is important here. As long as you get into the playoffs, anything "can" happen. To be considered a Cup contender, however, you have to boast a better group of forwards than what we see right now, and waiting on Alexander Radulov's return should be looked at as no more than a lottery ticket.
Preds On The Glass: POTG Tuesday Headlines, News, and Links
Buddy's morning roundup has links to a dating service, a pot club, and a cruise ship destination. Hockey season, come back quick!
Paul McCann - Major Media Fail
Paul enjoys giving the media monoliths a kick in the pants, too.
Who's in Milwaukee (Forward Edition)? - Milwaukee Admirals
A really good overview here by Aaron Sims of how the roster is shaping up for the Admirals. There's a cautionary note from Claude Noel that applies every bit as much to Nashville, however: "if a team is counting on rookies, there's going to be issues."
Nashville Predators 2011 draft review - Hockey's Future
I'm not sure how much stock to put in these writeups, but for those who want to revisit last month's selections, here you go.
Around the NHL
Breaking: Lightning and center Steven Stamkos agree to terms - Raw Charge
Whew, finally. You'd have to think that the $7.5 million annual average here sets a cap on what Shea Weber would get. Stamkos is as big a young star as there is in the game.
New Jersey Devils Name Peter DeBoer Head Coach - In Lou We Trust
I'm not sure how "last place in the Eastern Conference" looks so good on his resume, but the Devils at long last have their new coach.
Uni Watch " Tim E. Takes on the NHL
Another take on various uniform designs around the league, including the Preds' new threads.
Anatomy of an undervalued hockey player | The LeafsNation
A further endorsement of Niclas Bergfors potentially being a steal for the Preds.
Down Goes Brown: When a day with the Stanley Cup goes wrong
"1991 - The Cup is famously left at the bottom of Mario Lemieux's swimming pool during a players' party after nobody goes in to retrieve it, marking the only time in recent NHL history that nobody on the Pittsburgh Penguins is willing to dive."
Did the worst power plays in the NHL get any better? - Puck Daddy
I'm guessing you don't even need to follow the link to guess the answer here.
Lines & Tigers & Bears, oh my! - Battle of California
The times, and lines, in San Jose, they are a-changing.
Cogliano, Ducks agree on three-year contract - The Orange County Register
Wow, Andrew Cogliano hit the jackpot. 3 years, $7.17 million?
Osgood’s Retirement: The Final Lesson - The Goalie Guild
A goalie's-eye view of Chris Osgood's career.
Chris Osgood Hall of Fame debate: Why he’ll make the cut - Puck Daddy
I'm sure we'll hear lots about this debate in the years ahead. His career achievements (400 wins, 3 Stanley Cups) argue in favor, but even as an Ozzie fan I wouldn't have ever put him in the top 3 goalies of any individual season. Given the secretive, closed process by which inductees are chosen, I wouldn't be surprised at all to see him make it in.
The Butterfly Effect: How tiny decisions shape the face of the Flyers - Broad Street Hockey
When a team is forced to take action, the options become less and less attractive the further you go. The Philadelphia Flyers have made an absolute mess of things this summer by trading away two good centers and signing that ridiculous contract with Ilya Bryzgalov.
Judging League Strength - Puck Worlds
A look at how the various international leagues are faring in recent years. The Czech league, in particular, is in serious decline.
CCHA Meeting with Atlantic Hockey on Realignment - Western College Hockey Blog
The CCHA may absorb four teams as they prepare to lose the Big Ten schools.
Summer sales offer big savings on hockey equipment | Hockey Gear HQ - news, reviews & deals
Two major online retailers are offering special deals on hockey equipment this summer, and we've got the coupon codes that will help you save big.