Tuesday's notes: Who will lead the Preds down the stretch?

Is this the year when Martin Erat leads the Preds in scoring for the first time?

As the Nashville Predators get back to business tonight at Minnesota (7:00 p.m. Central on FS-TN), the question I have for you this morning is... who do you think will end up leading this team in scoring this season? It seems like different guys have taken over at various times, but once again we have a pretty broad race for the team title this season. Martin Erat currently leads the way with 35 points, but we know how his streaks can run both hot and cold. Shea Weber is right behind him with 34, and one guy I wonder about is Craig Smith. Will this bit of rest restore a bit of jump to his game?

Sound off with your thoughts in the comments, after sorting through your morning hockey notes...

Nashville Predators News

Preds On The Glass: Odds Update On Goalie Wins and Leading Goal Scorer in NHL
Buddy the Bookmaker is at it again.

Inside Smashville " Preds say regaining focus won’t be a problem after five-day break

The big question on everyone's mind is whether the Predators can retain some of the momentum they had leading into the break.

Suter’s Suitors | The Predatorial
It's not just the team's position in the standings, but also the need to impress Suter & Weber, which may drive David Poile to his most critical Trade Deadline work since 2007.

Smashville 24/7: Upcoming month ‘a good test’ for Preds
Ryan looks ahead to the February schedule.

Meet Me Tonight in Atlantic City: Mueller Takes His All Star Turn | PuckScene.com
Patten made the trip to Atlantic City to cover the AHL All-Star Game, and caught up with a very thankful Chris Mueller.

Facing free agency in near future, Jordin Tootoo focuses only on present | Nashville City Paper
Lost in all the Ryan Suter talk is the number of other players who need new contracts, too.

Rinne, rest of Predators who rested during All-Star break get back to work | Nashville City Paper
It sounds like both Jerred Smithson and Francis Bouillon are ready to play again.

Ryan Suter's contract not yet an issue - The Tennessean
Nobody's going to talk about a situation they have no control over, so the focus is on the task at hand, winning hockey games.

Jordin Tootoo lands sailfish during all-star break - The Tennessan
Toots went sea fishing with Pekka over the weekend.

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

Concussion coverage could soon become headache for NHL - thestar.com
Remember the financial strain that Matthew Lombardi's situation put the Predators in last season, forcing them to gift-wrap Cody Franson for the Maple Leafs? Well, they're not alone.

NHL Booster Club Convention coming to South Florida - Litter Box Cats
I've never heard of such a thing before - do the Cellblock 303 crew count, or does this mean "official" booster clubs?

Union Blue Runs Deep... Except With Jeff Carter. - The Cannon
When someone feels "compelled" to use lots of "quotes" it seems to "indicate" a lack of trust in statements that Jeff Carter really isn't "focused" on getting out of "Columbus".

Devils’ Zach Parise won’t be traded by general manager Lou Lamoriello before NHL trade deadline Feb. 27, say sources - NYPOST.com
It sounds like the Devils will hang on to their pending UFA, too.

Eastern Conference Teams Assess Needs As Trade Deadline Looms, Part 1 - Puck Drunk Love
Does anyone here need what the Preds have in excess?

Stats.hockeyanalysis.com updated | Hockey Analysis
David has news about the data he provides, along with an interesting notion about Zone Starts that may warrant further consideration.

Rookie Forward Deployments, League-Wide - The Copper & Blue
A real perty graph here, showing how various rookies are used by their coaches.

Eighth place in the Western Conference is up for grabs; Who takes it? | Puck Daddy
As usual, it'll be a wide open race.

Mascots have synchronized Tebowing, Chuck-a-Puck fail at AHL All-Star Game | Puck Daddy
Who doesn't love mascot mayhem?

More People Watch the Skills Competition than the All-Star Game in Canada on CBC " Puck The Media
I wonder how much of this is a Saturday night vs. Sunday afternoon effect.

Pizzo’s Points: "You got a question, you ask the 8-Ball" - Backhand Shelf
Here's a nice crutch to use when creativity just isn't clicking.

Karlsson's a Norris contender - Ottawa Sun
When you lead all defensemen in scoring by a healthy margin, and are the anchor for a surprisingly successful team, you're certainly going to get into that conversation.

All-Star Game latest chapter in Slovaks' long friendship - NHL.com
Marian Hossa and Marian Gaborik both hail from the same small Slovakian town (no, it's not Marianville).

2012 NHL Mid-Term Top 60 Rankings (1-30) | The Scouting Report
Before we get back to watching pucks fired in anger, take a look ahead to guys you'll likely see in the first round of the NHL Entry Draft this summer.

Video: Brian Burke talks about general managing - The View From My Seats
This book sounds interesting, but $100??? WTF?

KHL goalie Karri Ramo presents the worst hockey own-goal of 2012 (Video) | Puck Daddy
Woof, this is a bad one.

‘Sheriff Shanny’ sticks to his guns - The Globe and Mail
Shanny's job is a thankless one, and he has to shake off most of the criticism that comes his way.

Carrie Selivanov, daughter of Lightning founder Phil Esposito, has died - Lightning Strikes | Tampa Bay Times
Sad news for the Esposito family.

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