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Friday's facts: As the Predators' short-term outlook improves, what about the long term?

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Optimism is slowly returning to Nashville's hockey fan base, as the Preds played what was probably their best game of the season so far in the 2-0 shutout of Chicago last night. For recaps and reaction, check out Preds on the Glass, Brandon Felder and See Puck City.

After the jump, however, it's time for your morning news and notes, which leads off with the question of Nashville's long-term survival as a hockey market...

Predators News

Part 6: Final thoughts on Nashville as a hockey market and its future in the NHL - From The Rink
James Mirtle wraps up his series on hockey in Nashville with a look forward. It's well worth your time reading, as James actually took the time to the time to come down here and examines the situation with his own eyes, unlike many columnists who work off of tired assumptions and stereotypes.

Predators goalie Pekka Rinne finds groove in goal - The Tennessean
John Glennon celebrates Pekka's fine work over the last two games, but we shouldn't forget that he also set a new franchise record by allowing 5 goals in the 3rd period in Ottawa in his previous game. What the Preds need to see is consistency...

Around the NHL

Chris Thorburn and Coach Anderson talk with BWA - Bird Watchers Anonymous
The Falconer gets a few questions in during a blogger day that the Thrashers hosted recently.

Puckarinen " Golden Näslund
Risto Pakarinen celebrates the upcoming 50th birthday of Swedish star Mats Naslund with a look at his storied career. I was surprised to find that he's still the last Montreal Canadien to top the 100-point mark in a season.

Edmonton - Detroit Post-Game: Ol' Yellow Pants is Back - The Copper & Blue
They're not happy in Edmonton after giving up a late lead to Detroit, before finally winning 6-5 in the shootout (a story somewhat similar to the Preds game in Ottawa recently).

Wings lose Filppula for 6-to-8 weeks with broken wrist - Puck Daddy
Another big injury hits the Red Wings, as Valtteri Filppula will miss the next two months.

Dallas Stars unheralded forwards - Hockey Independent
With the Stars coming to town tomorrow night, it's good to review a relatively unheralded bunch of Dallas forwards, who are the real strength of that team.

Inside the NHL's social media innovations, growing pains - Puck Daddy
Greg Wyshynski talks with the NHL's Mike DiLorenzo about social media ventures by the league, including a new Facebook page, and how that translates into bottom-line results.

Unfortunately, Trading Ray Whitney Makes Sense - Canes Country
As the Carolina Hurricanes flounder out of the gate, speculation begins about trading away talented players who are in the final year of their contracts. Might the Preds have a use for a gifted, yet undersized winger?

Evgeni Malkin has shoulder strain, out 2-3 weeks - PensBurgh
Imagine an All-Star lineup of NHL players on IR; this is getting ridiculous!