Monday afternoon notes: NHL ready for the stretch drive

What's wrong with this picture? The answer is at the bottom of the article...

With the All Star Game finally receding in the rear-view mirror, it's time for NHL teams and fans to focus on the road ahead - just four weeks remain until the NHL Trade Deadline on February 27, followed by the playoffs just six weeks after that. While we wait for the trade winds to really start blowing, however, Carolina has spoiled some of the fun by locking up one of the top defensemen who might have been available...

Nashville Predators News

Ryan Suter negotiations aren't all about the money – USATODAY.com
Kevin Allen shares his insight after talking with Suter over the weekend. It's pretty much the same take we've seen elsewhere (he wants to see if Poile can assemble a real contender, money isn't the issue).

Source: Suter trade unlikely - Philly.com
An anonymous Eastern Conference GM seems to be planting a seed for July 1: "The consensus among us is that Nashville will be hanging onto him, even if they know the odds are not in their favor of re-signing him," one Eastern Conference GM told the Daily News on condition of anonymity. "If he does decide to trade him, [David] Poile has the market cornered. There are very few defensemen of Suter’s caliber in the league and Nashville has two of them. "You have to wonder whether the Predators can continue to trade away their top players for prospects because they can’t afford to pay them."

Paul McCann - The Key to the Central Division... Columbus? and Suter Reaction...
Paul assesses each of the division contenders, and takes a very optimistic (in my view) take on the whole Suter imbroglio from the weekend.

Actions, Not Words with Suter | Hockey Independent
David's ready to start quoting Elvis I think.

The AHL All Star (Chris Mueller) Classic | Admirals Roundtable
Chris Mueller will represent the Admirals tonight in Atlantic City.

20 Questions with Mark Van Guilder - JSOnline
It turns out that Mark DOES like gladiator movies...

Be careful down there - JSOnline
Bummer, man - "Rookie Michael Latta is one of the Admirals who will be in the Bahamas during the all-star break, but it won’t be as much fun with a broken arm."

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

Tim Gleason Signs Four-Year, $16 Million Extension With Carolina Hurricanes - Canes Country
Well, here's one big name you can take off the trade market. Bryan Allen, Joni Pitkanen, and Jaroslav Spacek might be up for grabs, however among the Carolina blueliners.

GMs starting to size market as trade deadline nears - NHL.com
Fresh off their pseudo trade-freeze during the All-Star weekend, it's time for GM's to start swapping.

Update on The Clarence Fund - St. Louis Game Time
Awesome stuff here by SB Nation's Blues blog to support one of their won who is facing a tough battle with cancer.

Montreal Gazette edits column claiming Tim Thomas snubbed White House ‘because Obama is black’ | Puck Daddy
Yikes... what's it going to take for some of these mainstream newspapers to adopt some professional editorial standards? They look like a bunch of hacks writing in their underwear from their mother's basement or something.

NHL All-Star Weekend Proves That A Superstar's Not Necessary - Puck Drunk Love
You know, it did turn out to be a pretty entertaining event, even without Crosby & Ovechkin.

History Lessons: The Point of the All-Star Game - Backhand Shelf
A very, very interesting suggestion here.

The first ever (and hopefully only) NHL Royal Rumble (Part 1) - PensBurgh
This would certainly be a different way to approach All-Star weekend.

NHL Scheduling Sets - View from the Corners - Rotoworld.com
Gus builds off my NHL Super Schedule to take a real deep dive on which teams have the toughest remaining schedules.

Blackhawks ready for Central Division battle to the end - Inside the Blackhawks
Chicago's in the unlikely position of chasing the Preds right now, but they're a major threat still, especially once they get Patrick Sharp back.

Fantasy Hockey: Drew Doughty returning to form and why you should buy low on Tuomo Ruutu | Puck Daddy
Colin Wilson is listed as a potential steal for you fantasy hockey managers out there.

The Numbers Game: Crunch Time Approaches for the Calgary Flames | The Hockey Writers
If the Flames are going to make a push for a playoff spot, they'll have to fight their way through a pretty tough set of opponents to do it.

PHOTO ANSWER: Check out the hockey stick Ryan's holding - I think it's Shea Weber's (a right-handed Easton S19).

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