Thursday's notes: What makes a Stanley Cup contender?

What defines a real Stanley Cup contender?

This morning's notes bring that question to mind, because the word "contender" can imply a team which is one of the very strongest in the hunt, or merely one which has a chance like everyone else. Edmonton's run to the 2006 Stanley Cup Final is often cited as evidence that if a team can get into the playoffs, anything can really happen.

So what does the word "contender" mean to you, and do the Nashville Predators, as constituted now, meet that description?

Ponder that while taking in your morning jolt of hockey goodness...

Save money on Preds tickets with the OTF Discount!

Nashville Predators News

Do the Nashville Predators actually have a Stanley Cup blueprint? | Section 303
Suter, Weber & Rinne are indeed "star" quality players, but is that enough to make that run to the Cup?

Predators' playoff experience paying off - FS TN
Is there a connection between beating the Ducks last spring and the Preds' dominant record against Central Division opponents? If you're looking for a rah-rah article to get your blood pumping, this might do it.

Deadline Chatter - "The Other Guys" - Predlines
Dan walks through some of the possible targets for David Poile over the next week and a half, and what it might take to get them.

17 Questions with Ryan Thang - JSOnline
Ryan Thang would like some meat loaf.

Taking Stock of Where Milwaukee Stands | Admirals Roundtable
It's getting to be crunch time, as the 10th-place Admirals have ground to make up if they're going to make the playoffs.

Experience at the junior level mirrored NHL style for Ryan Ellis - The Tennessean
The Human Rocket Ship talks about his launching pad.

Predators find bench is a good place to go in search of points | Nashville City Paper
Everyone should get scratched at some point, apparently.

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

Deadline Dozen: FAQs as trading day approaches - NHL.com
A basic, around-the-league guide to the issues surrounding buyers & sellers these days.

KuklasKorner : Video- Have We Seen This Before? Marchand Low Hit
Shall we just start calling Boston's Brad Marchand the NHL's "Yankee Clipper"? This is the latest in a disturbing trend of low hits by the Bruins forward.

Stu Hackel Week on Arctic Ice Hockey: Posts Hit aka "Stats the NHL ought to keep" - Arctic Ice Hockey
Not all stats are about identifying an underlying talent, they can just be there for entertainment's sake.

Habs fans cheer Chara being hit by puck - CBSSports.com
Montreal fans haven't exactly cornered the market on class. Yes, I know, not all of them do this stuff, but it's something we see over and over.

To Hope, or Not to Hope... - Lighthouse Hockey
Do the Islanders still have a realistic shot at the playoffs

Stopping Pucks With Your Face, and Other Bad Ideas - WSJ.com
Adding up the total hits and blocked shots a team has endured is a neat idea, if only we could have any confidence in those numbers.

Napoleon Is Always Right - The Copper & Blue
Ales Hemsky dazzled and entertained, but didn't score and the Oilers fell to Toronto in overtime.

Avalanche At Canucks Recap ; Rivalry Not Renewed (3-1W) - Nucks Misconduct
Vancouver knocks off another Northwest Division patsy.

Ducks play Ketchup and Catch-Up to Overtake Penguins 2-1 - Anaheim Calling
Don't look now, but Anaheim is making another late-season push, with a 5-0-2 mark in their last seven games.

Everyone scores in Senators' 6-2 defeat of Panthers - Silver Seven
Ottawa has recovered nicely in recent days, and is giving themselves some room ahead of the pack of teams fighting for 8th spot in the East.

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