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Monday's news: Going gaga over Goc

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Sure, the Chicago Blackhawks pulled back into sole possession of the Western Conference lead by beating Detroit yesterday, but the Nashville Predators are riding high these days, and so are their fans. Perhaps one of the most satisfying elements of the team is that contributions are coming from almost every portion of the roster.

After the jump, our morning news and notes includes two pieces which focus on one such surprise, center Marcel Goc. Signed off the free agent market as a depth forward, he's stepped up in recent days to create some offense in addition to his solid faceoff and defensive work.

Predators News

Five reasons why Nashville announcer Paul McCann loves hockey - Puck Daddy
The man behind "Thanks, Paul..." is the latest participant in the long-running Puck Daddy series, and his answers are pure gold.

Preds On The Glass: POTG Radio with Russ Cohen - World Junior Preview and More
Buddy's got your morning update, including the lineup for his podcast tonight.

Nashville Predators' Dan Ellis to appear on NHL Live! - NHL Network
The Preds goalie will be a guest on the radio today...

In Goc We Trust – Player Feature #2, Marcel Goc " Point-2-Point
A bit of background in celebration of Marcel Goc's contributions to the Preds this season.

Nashville’s Weber and Suter wait for Olympic calls -
Have you heard? Nashville's dynamic duo of defensemen are likely headed to Vancouver (for the Olympics, not just the game tomorrow).

Predators surprised by Marcel Goc's offense - The Tennessean
All it took to light up Goc's offensive game was to get him out of San Jose and plug him in to the Nashville juggernaut.


Around the NHL

Blue Jackets notebook: Mason is no longer No. 1 | BlueJacketsXtra
Steve Mason hasn't looked at all like the Calder Trophy-winning goalie of last year, and Ken Hitchcock has officially adopted the "hot hand" approach to choosing the starter each night.

A Theory of Ice: Fragile Things
E is one of the most thoughtful, entertaining hockey writers you'll find anywhere, and today opines on the "play through pain" culture of the sport, and how it relates to the current debate on head-shots and long-term brain damage.

Coming Down the Pipe!: Memories of a WJC Hero
With the World Juniors starting in just a few days, Guy Flaming walks us through some heroes of tourneys past.

Objective NHL: Even Strength Data for Games 1-500
Taking a look at total Shots For & Against data at even strength so far this season; the Preds come out as a pretty impressive bunch.

On Frozen Blog › Forgotten No Longer: The 1960 U.S. Olympic Hockey Team
In preparation for the Winter Olympics, check out a new documentary about the original "Miracle on Ice".

Red Light District: Sorting out the playoff picture in the West
RLD attempts to clarify a jumbled situation in the West.

Kovalchuk Contract Talks Intensify - Bird Watchers Anonymous
The Russian superstar's agent makes an appearance in Atlanta... is a new deal close?

Lastly, Bloge Salming and Down Goes Brown bring us secret footage from the Toronto Maple Leaf's Christmas party...