NASHVILLE, TN - MARCH 06: Craig Smith #15 of the Nashville Predators dives for a puck in front of Jarret Stoll #28 of the Los Angeles Kings at the Bridgestone Arena on March 6, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
The impression many came away with last night was that the Los Angeles Kings played like a desperate hockey team, and that's why they got the jump on the Predators. That certainly would seem to make sense - the Kings are in a wide-open race for one of the final playoff spots, whereas the Predators are pretty firmly set in the #5 spot.
Are such results inevitable at this time of year, then? Obviously the Preds would like to play well, but the playoffs are still a month away, and there is little chance of significantly impacting their playoff seeding at this point. Can the team whip up enough competitive fervor from within to meet the effort of teams like Colorado (which comes here Thursday) for which every game means something, or Detroit, which is in a dead heat for the Central Division title?
Ponder that question while catching up on your morning hockey reading...
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Nashville Predators News
First off, we have a ton of audio for you, from before, during, and after last night's game:
Driving Play: The Driving Play Podcast - Trade Deadline Recap
Thanks to the guys at Driving Play for having me on to talk Preds...
Smashville 24/7: One more thing: Will Tootoo face suspension?
Ryan cites the rulebook, which says Jordin Tootoo could draw a lengthy suspension for last night's incident.
Paul McCann - TN High School Hockey's Frozen Four is Tonight!
A-Game Sportsplex in Cool Springs hosts tonight's high school action, and Paul breaks down the matchups.
Patric Hornqvist makes a habit of 20-goal seasons | The Tennessean
Horn Dog's gritty work gets rewarded.
Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey
Execs call for revival of team compensation - Cross Checks Blog - ESPN
When a coach or member of the front office leaves one team for a promotion opportunity, NHL rules currently don't allow for any compensation (for example, a draft pick). David Poile is one of many GM's speaking out for change on that point, with the Kirk Muller situation providing a good example.
Springing Malik: The Pain Game 2011/12 - Part Five
An update on just how severely injuries have affected each NHL team - the Preds have been very, very fortunate so far this season.
Grabovski's deal fair for both sides + 30 Thoughts | Hockey | CBC Sports
I'm with Elliotte on this one, Toronto struck a good deal here. I'd take Grabovski at $5.5 million for 5 years in a heartbeat.
NHL’s Stealth MVPs: Which players deserve more Hart Trophy hype? | Puck Daddy
Can Pekka Rinne sneak into the conversation here? I'll have more on that topic soon...
Cullen: The 2012 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference - TSN
Scott Cullen provides an overview of last weekend's geekery. Basically, Brian Burke offered up just about every token lousy argument against this stuff, but of all teams, Toronto could throw $1 million in this direction every season to try and gain a competitive advantage, and not miss it if the effort flopped.
How do the Canucks coaches record scoring chances? - Vancouver Sun
Here's one big problem with the practice of counting scoring chances. It seems like definitions vary on just what a chance is.
The Soviet breakthrough in hockey stats. Why Brian Burke has it wrong, Part 2. | Edmonton Journal
There's a reason why the Big Red Machine played the style it did, writes David Staples.
Money approved to revamp aging Colisée - The Globe and Mail
Quebec City prepares itself for the possibility of landing an NHL team as soon as this summer.
Flyers’ Nicklas Grossmann finally admits he never actually was Nicklas Grossman (VIDEO) | Puck Daddy
Well, it's about time that he spoke up!
What’s wrong with Ovechkin. | Bobby Holik - Holik on Hockey
Bobby Holik is one of the few ex-jocks who isn't shy about offering criticism of current players. Far too many won't cross that line.
Sidney Crosby cleared for physical contact; return date not set - PensBurgh
Yea, and there was much rejoicing in Pittsburgh.
Pizzo’s Points: 10 stats that show how weird this season has been | Backhand Shelf
#1 is quite the coincidence.
The Winners: Puck Daddy’s Create a Cheesy 1990s-style poster reader art contest | Puck Daddy
In case you need a little artistic inspiration.
The NHL's Most Interesting Name: 2000s Part II - Arctic Ice Hockey
You should recognize some of these guys (maybe not all, though).
On Capuano, Coaching and Rebounding from Blowouts - Lighthouse Hockey
Dominik tries to ascertain how well the Islanders coach does at motivating his troops.
Beat the teams you're supposed to beat: Blues squash Blackhawks 5-1 - St. Louis Game Time
St. Louis jumps into the Central Division lead with a win on home ice over Chicago.
E-I-E-I-O! Flyers put three by Joey MacDonald, beat Red Wings on Mark Howe night - Broad Street Hockey
Mark Howe's jersey was raised to the rafters in Philly, and the Flyers followed through with a 3-2 win.
Game 68 Recap: Avs 7-1 domination of Wild subdued by Duchene injury - Mile High Hockey
Putting up a touchdown is nice, but losing Matt Duchene to an ankle injury could hobble Colorado's playoff drive.
New Jersey Devils Terrific in Third Period to Defeat New York Rangers 4-1 - In Lou We Trust
Ilya Kovalchuk ended a 9-game goalless streak, to the delight of Devils fans.
Faulk With OT Winner: Hurricanes 4, Capitals 3 (OT) - Canes Country
But at least Washington earned a critical point in their chase for a playoff spot.
Lastly, with video found at Puck Daddy, check out the latest edition of "Kronwalled". Nasty, nasty stuff that we might see Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena...