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Thursday thoughts: Nashville Predators looking for more than moral victories

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As the Nashville Predators (and their fans) collectively search for answers to reverse the current six-game losing streak, some solace can be taken as two rookies (Colin Wilson and Cody Franson) recorded their first NHL points last night in Boston. For a host of reaction, check out my post-game piece, along with Section 303, Confessions of a Preds Fanatic, Hockey Independent, What the Puck, and John Glennon at The Tennesean. Glennon notes that the 2007-8 team also got off to a lousy start but rallied to make the playoffs.

After the jump, you'll find your morning news and notes, including the story behind Dave Scatchard's long absence from the NHL, video of a massive hit on Chicago's Jonathan Toews, and a prospect for the US Olympic Team currently playing over in Russia's KHL...

Predators News

Concussions, jaw ailments derailed Scatchard's career -
Lindsay Kramer provides a nice background piece describing why new Predator Dave Scatchard left the NHL for almost 3 years before coming back.

Answers about the Pens, Predators and a masked man -
Kevin Allen applies Occam's Razor to the Predators' struggles.

The 10 Most Undeserving NHL Starting Lineup Figures - Puck Daddy
Looking for great Christmas gift ideas? How about a Mike Dunham action figure?

All of this Movement - Milwaukee Admirals
Aaron Sims talks about the express shuttle that's been running between Milwaukee and Nashville over the last several weeks.

Prospectus Roundtable: Cinderella and The Disappointment - Puck Prospectus
Are the Predators just circling the toilet bowl? One of Puck Prospectus' analysts seems to think so. I did find his assertion that Nashville has the 5th-oldest roster in the NHL surprising.

Around the NHL

Road Trips, Revelations and Realism - Mile High Hockey
They're enjoying good times in Denver, as the Avalanche took 10 out of a possible 14 points on a lengthy road trip.

Sergei Gonchar Out - What Does It Mean For Pittsburgh? - Hockey Or Die!
Jonathan Willis tries to quantify how much the Penguins will miss their PP quarterback.

Where have you gone Guy Lafleur? - Cult of Hockey
Dave Staples looks at the issue of alleged discrimination against French-Canadian hockey players.

Bad Incentives - Behind The Net
This touches on something I've written about before; that the current NHL setup encourages teams to play a low-scoring game.

Cascade M11 Helmet Review - NHL Digest
Tyler reviews the new hockey helmet that's backed by Mark Messier, which is designed to better protect hockey players from serious head injuries.

Mark Messier, Mike Richter, Jim Devellano honored with 2009 Lester Patrick Award - ESPN
A trio of giants on the American hockey scene are honored for their lifetime achievements.

More on bigger NHL players - From The Rink
A breakdown by position of how NHL players have gotten bigger over the course of decades.

More economic chaos in the KHL, with Lada Togliatti on the ropes - Cult of Hockey
A KHL team is foundering over in Russia, and supposedly hasn't paid players or coaches in months. We can expect more of this given the big bucks that back some of these teams, but not others.

All Habs: Sergei Kostitsyn suspended by Habs after leaving Bulldogs
The disgruntled forward leaves his AHL team. Why rumor-mongers link this guy to Nashville is beyond me; he's a marginal NHL player, and obviously doesn't have the character that the Predators are notorious for focusing on.

Undisclosed injury could force Senators’ Spezza to sit - National Post
Jason Spezza says he has been bothered by a nagging injury since the Ottawa Senators’ season began three weeks ago, and might miss tonight's game against the Predators.

Robert Esche making name for himself in KHL; should he be on Team USA radar? - ESPN
Over in Russia, Robert Esche is off to a great start; does that put him in the mix for a Team USA goaltending job at the Winter Olympics?

Schenn fighting sophomore slump - The Globe and Mail
Look who got called up to the big leagues! SB Nation's hockey manager James Mirtle is on the Toronto Maple Leafs beat for the Globe and Mail temporarily, and checks in on how Luke Schenn is working through some struggles.

On Hotstove, head shots and Gemini honours - The Globe and Mail
Al Strachan has been ousted from Hockey Night In Canada's popular "Hotstove" segment, and speculation abounds that it's related to his new book which trashes the Toronto Maples Leafs.

Lastly, we have Chicago captain Jonathan Toews getting blindsided as he took a pass at center ice by Vancouver's Willie Mitchell. Cheap shot or not?

Personally, I don't think so; it was a shoulder-to-shoulder hit, and Toews just wasn't aware of his surroundings (before and after the hit).