Despite the ugliness of last night's 5-0 loss to Calgary, the Nashville Predators can kick off the month of December knowing that they've righted a ship that was listing dangerously early on. Not only are they in 2nd place in the Central Division (6th in the Western Conference), but observers around the league are noticing their improved play as well.
After the jump, we've got a series of recaps from the Flame-out, word that a key defender on a division rival will miss the next several weeks, and video of the knee-to-knee hit last night involving Alex Ovechkin...
Predators Flame Out " Pull My (Fang)Finger
AJ got to watch last night's debacle from the comfy surroundings of a suite...
Preds On The Glass: Flames Burn Predators 5-0
As usual, Buddy's recap has lots of post-game audio that's worth a listen.
Preds Fall Into A Burning Ring of Fire - Fall To Flames 5-0 - Brandon Felder
In his recap, Brandon points out that at least the Preds picked the right time to lay an egg on home ice; last night's crowd was the smallest of the season.
Financial woes plague Nashville owner - The Globe and Mail
You can almost here David Shoalts cackling with glee as he writes about David Freeman's cash flow issues. He also makes an ill-informed comparison of this season's average attendance so far with the average from all of last season, to portray the Preds as drawing 1,300 fewer fans a night. A more accurate reading would compare figures after the same number of home dates.
Around the NHL
Twitter / Bob McKenzie: Savard's extension is for ...
Boston's star center Marc Savard is set to sign a new 7-year extension with Boston at a lower cap hit than Martin Erat. Grr...
Ten NHL Players Who Should Shoot More Often - Die By The Blade
A good choice from Nashville makes this list...
Helene Elliott's NHL rankings -- latimes.com
The longtime L.A. hockey writer puts the Predators in the Top 10... respect is really starting to come around for what the Preds have done lately.
Line shuffling a popular weekend pastime for coaches - NHL.com
See, folks? Barry Trotz isn't the only compulsive line-shuffler in the NHL.
Is Rebuilding the Path to Success? - The Copper & Blue
Scott looks at recent NHL examples to see if the "burn it to the ground and rebuild" approach is the one Edmonton should take.
Could the Columbus Arena District be a model for Edmonton? - Cult of Hockey
David Staples looks at how Nationwide Arena and the surrounding area was developed in Columbus, and how that might apply to Darryl Katz's desire for a new stadium for his Oilers.
Ten questions about the NHL's stellar rookie class - Puck Daddy
Greg Wyshynski looks at the big stories among the NHL's first-year players. It's still early enough for Colin Wilson to make some noise if he can produce when he eventually returns to the Predators' lineup.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY FIVE FOR HOWLING! - Five For Howling
Somebody get the Coyotes blog a little cake and have the camera ready...
Should new owners "rebrand" Coyotes? - Five For Howling
An interesting essay on how new ownership in Phoenix might jump-start the business.
Referee Homer Bias - Behind The Net
Hawerchuk breaks down the trend in penalties calls for home vs. away teams, to see which referees are perhaps "homers".
A give and take between players and 'old school' coaches - USATODAY.com
Justin Bourne's latest covers a range of issues upon which the old and new school often disagree.
Sharks Gameday: Hello, Old Friend - Battle of California
The Senators visit the Sharks tonight, which brings Jonathan Cheechoo and Milan Michalek back for a visit. I imagine next season, when the Sharks head to Ottawa, will be a much bigger story involving Dany Heatley.
SB Nation's 2010 Olympics Hockey Preview - SB Nation
I added Nashville entry yesterday, but you should check out the series of features by NHL team as to who will be suiting up in the Vancouver Games.
Lastly, we've got the video from last night's knee-to-knee hit involving Alex Ovechkin; Washington fans are anxiously awaiting word as to how badly he's hurt after this collision with Carolina's Tim Gleason. Reaction is mixed as to the intent here, but I don't think this was intentional - the quick cut by Gleason led to a bad outcome for both players.