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Tuesday's news: Nashville buzzing about hockey as Predators home opener approaches

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With a couple more days left until the home opener on Thursday (for which some seats still remain available), the Nashville Predators have a chance to get some of their injured players back in the lineup, but so far it appears that Joel Ward is the only one with a hope to play against the Avalanche.

But that doesn't mean that all we're doing around Nashville is massaging sore groins - nay, tonight is the Meet the Team party for full season ticket holders, and tomorrow evening Social Media Club Nashville presents "The Puck Drops Here", which features a panel discussion about the online community of Predators fans, and how we connect in different ways. It should be a great time, and I'm looking forward to a big turnout.

In the meantime, you can get your daily dose of Preds and NHL news after the jump. While you're here, don't forget to vote on the Play of the Week, a new feature whipped up by Michaeltastic...

Predators News

Predators benefit from Marcel Goc's experience - The Tennessean
Bryan Mullen profiles Marcel Goc as bringing in experience that was somehow lacking last season. Considering that the 26-year-old Goc is basically replacing the 33-year-old Radek Bonk, and that his playoff experience consists of four disappointing runs with San Jose with a grand total of 8 points in 37 games, I'm not buying that storyline. All the same, I hope he works out here.

Some Preds think about Cup and the Rings - Nashville City Paper
David Boclairs checks in with several Predators who aspire to play for their national team in the Olympics, like Pekka Rinne and Ryan Suter.

Tuesday Tidbits and POTG Podcast - Preds On The Glass
Buddy's update this morning includes some must-see video from CBC's "Battle of the Blades". Watching Bob Probert dance on ice is a jarring experience to someone like me who remembers him as the greatest enforcer of the last 30 years.

Around the NHL

Game 3 – 43 Shots, No Cigar | CANUCKS HOCKEY BLOG
It was an ugly opener for the Canucks at home last night, as they dropped a 5-3 decision to Columbus, and Roberto Luongo got pulled after a Lu-ousy effort. At 0-3, the Northwest Division favorites are scrambling for answers.

It looks like Daryl Reaugh is indeed working out the details on how he can live up to his guarantee to buy Dallas Stars fans who attended the opener a ticket to another game.

Modano fine, going on trip to Canada - Dallas Morning News
Mike Heika writes that when Mike Modano left Saturday's game it was due to a spear in the ribs, but he's OK to go on the Stars' road trip this week.

Can GM Joe juggle the finances? -
With two big contract extensions announced last week (for Loui Eriksson and Stephane Robidas), Mike Heika wonders how well new Dallas GM Joe Nieuwendyk will do at managing his payroll under the salary cap.

Top 5 Tuesdays: Hobey Baker Candidates - Coming Down the Pipe!
Guy Flaming gives you 10 candidates for US college hockey's player of the year. So much for truth in advertising...

Road Trip - Mile High Hockey
When the Avalanche come to Nashville on Thursday, they're starting a pretty epic road trip...

Final escrow number for last season set at 12.9% - Bob McKenzie at TSN
The accountants put the final touches on the numbers from the 2008-9 NHL season, which means the players forfeited 12.9% of their pay into the escrow fund to cover the shortfall in league revenues. Since they withheld more than that ahead of time, that means they'll actually receive a check soon covering that amount.

Coyotes' soap opera could have a happy ending -
Kevin Allen wonders out loud whether the new-fangled Phoenix Coyotes might make a run to the playoffs. In a related development, USA Today implements drug testing for its hockey writers. I kid, I'm kind of pulling for the Coyotes to do well, too.

NHL Hockey Power Rankings - National Hockey League - ESPN
Talk about a joke - the New Jersey Devils lost their only game 5-2 to Philadelphia, but jump 6 spots from #24 to #18, leaping over the Preds, who actually dropped two spots after beating Dallas.

Win your chance to hang with Glenn Anderson at Hockey HOF - Puck Daddy
Greg Wyshynski takes his New Media Hockey Writer of the Year award and turns it into an opportunity to raise funds for charity. Well done, Puck Daddy.

Review: NHL Network Asks the Different Questions on "Off the Ice" - Puck The Media
Steve Lepore says there may be good reason to check out the NHL Network's latest program.

Player to Watch: Craig Anderson - Hockey Or Die!
With the Colorado Avalanche coming to town on Thursday, you should check out their new starting goaltender. Signing Anderson might well turn out to be one of the best free agent moves throughout the NHL last summer.

Can Alex Ovechkin Score Fifty Goals in Fifty Games? - Japers' Rink
Here's a worthy question to follow early in the season. Can a torrid AO do what hasn't been done in almost 20 years?