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Wednesday's news: Checking in with the two Gregs, de Vries and Zanon

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After a long break, the Nashville Predators get back into a frenzy of action with three games in four nights, beginning tonight on the road against the Wild. After that, they return to Nashville for home dates with Chicago tomorrow and Dallas on Saturday. Can they spring back into form now that Dan Hamhuis is ready to return to the lineup, or will the tailspin continue?

This evening I'll be co-hosting HockeyBuzz Radio once again with Paul McCann from 6:00-7:00 on WNSR, as Pete Weber is with the Predators in Minnesota for tonight's game. Guests include analysts Ray Ferraro from TSN and Darren Elliot from Versus, along with Steve Carroll, the radio play-by-play voice of the Anaheim Ducks.

Until then, check out this interview from the Pipeline Show with Theo Fleury about his troubled past and his new book which chronicles it. He makes some outstanding points that prevailing attitudes go a long way towards keeping abused individuals (whether in the hockey world or not) from coming forward to get help, and the people who ask "why didn't he do something about it" really miss the point entirely.

After the jump, your daily dose of news and notes includes a look at two former Predators defenseman, and the sobering tale of an NHL linesman who was horribly injured by a skate that ended his on-ice career.

Predators News

Preds On The Glass: Predators Travel to Minnesota and More
Buddy previews tonight's game and has links from around the web.

Predators miss Greg Zanon's zeal for shot-blocking - The Tennessean
John Glennon speaks to Barry Trotz about how much the Preds miss Greg Zanon, who they'll face tonight in Minnesota. He echoes my criticism of Zanon, that a big part of why he blocks so many shots is because he spends too much time in his own end with the opposition firing pucks.

Catching up with former Predators defenseman Greg de Vries - Nashville Predators Examiner
Jim Diamond checks in with the unsigned free agent, who still lives in the Nashville area with his family and is keeping in shape.

Preds work to fix power play outage - Nashville City Paper
David Boclair writes that the Preds are trying to simplify their power play; if it gets any simpler, they'll have to call in the Geico cavemen...

GUESTING FROM THE PERCH – Mike Barnes: Time for change… | Section 303
Another guest columnist at Section 303 discusses the Preds' woes.

The Dreamland Chronicles - Hockey for the kids…
One dad's chronicle of participating in the Predators GOAL program; if you have kids 4-7 years old that would like to try out the game of hockey, you need to keep an eye out for this. The Preds supply the equipment and ice time, your kid just has to have fun.

Around the NHL

Buy this book to help beat cancer -
A nice feature at about a new book of hockey photos that benefits Hockey Fights Cancer. You can order the book at the online hockey store (orders fulfilled by Amazon).

For First Time, Dapuzzo Reveals Anguish, Depression After Skate Severs His Face -- NHL FanHouse
This is something every hockey fan should read - NHL linesmen and referees are just at risk for serious injury as players are, and the tale of Pat Dapuzzo is a sobering one.

Kings and Kopitar hit on winning combination --
They're giddy in La-La Land over the fact that Anze Kopitar is leading the NHL in scoring right now.

***Per Capgeek, Ducks Sign Kyle Calder*** - Anaheim Calling
Anaheim picks up a gritty winger whose best goal-scoring days are likely behind him.

BBC - Ollie Williams' blog: From the NHL to Altrincham
Talk about a non-traditional hockey market... Jolly Old England! Hat tip to Kukla on this interesting story of hockey fans across the pond.

Potential Coyotes owners: 'We frankly don't have backup plan' - Puck Daddy
As the NHL prepares to close on a purchase of the Phoenix Coyotes, the Ice Edge group waits in the wings to close a deal to buy the team shortly thereafter. Can they succeed where Jerry Moyes failed so spectacularly?

Driving To The Net: The Matrix Revisited - Puck Prospects
A really disappointing attempt at categorizing NHL teams by level of ability and age; while the basic idea seems sound, it totally ignores the defensive side of the game. Instead of just using Goals For to measure team talent, using the Goals For/Against ratio would be pretty easy to do, and provide far superior results.

Lastly, check out the tumble into the boards taking by Ryan Johnson (younger brother of former Nashville captain Greg) in last night's Vancouver/Detroit game. Ryan suffered a concussion as a result, but appears to be otherwise OK: