It's going to be a pivotal week for the Nashville Predators, with 3 home games which include matchups with division rivals Columbus and Detroit. Along with Vancouver Tuesday night, that makes 3 opponents who are all nipping at the Preds' heels in the Western Conference standings. Will they give themselves some breathing room with a few victories this week?
For now, however, let's tackle the morning news first. After the jump we've got a look at which NHL teams have been managed the most effectively over the last decade, the return of Preds On The Glass radio, and a Christmas party for Nashville's sports fans that you won't want to miss...
Before the news, I wanted to pass along word that sports radio host Thom Callahan is hosting a Listener Appreciation Christmas Party this Saturday, December 12, from 11-1 at Bleachers in Franklin. He, along with co-host (and former Tennessee Titan) Brad Hopkins will be there with a host of goodies that you can win just for showing up. Trust me, it's a better way to spend your Saturday than fighting mall traffic!
Preds On The Glass: Weekend Wrap-Up and POTG Radio Returns
Buddy's latest includes his lineup for tonight's POTG show, which includes Eric Smith who covers the Blue Jackets, and Anthony Curatolo who writes about the Islanders and Flyers.
Best Managed Teams of the Last Decade - Bird Watchers Anonymous
The Falconer looks at how teams have fared both in the regular season and playoffs relative to payroll. For Nashville fans, that's a mix of good and bad news.
Michael Russo's Sunday Insider: A Nashville state of mind
Good stuff from the Minnesota beat writer, talking about the culture that Barry Trotz has established with the Predators, that makes no excuses about the ability to compete without being able to spend to the salary cap.
Desperate Rangers eye injured Demitra - Ottawa Sun
In the middle of a bushel of rumors, Bruce Garrioch talks about upcoming free agents Pekka Rinne and Dan Hamhuis, both of whom will likely get big raises in their next contract.
Around the NHL
December schedule action packed - From The Rink
Mirtle got some nerd to crunch the schedule numbers for him. December should be a busy month for more than just Santa and his elves...
NHL players on Twitter - From The Rink
Mirtle also sums up the current NHL presence on Twitter (where you can follow me at @Forechecker), and will have a chat with agent Allan Walsh on the topic tomorrow.
Wings Need "Play-off" Ozzie, NOW - Nightmare on Helm Street
The Red Wings are about to the point where they're going to switch all the calendars in Chris Osgood's house, in the hopes of convincing him that it's playoff time.
What We Learned: Suspension debates; wrong coach for Flyers? - Puck Daddy
Ryan Lambert sums up a busy NHL weekend, and raises a great question about how well Peter Laviolette will fit with the uber-truculent Philadelphia Flyers.
Sucker Punch Earns 4 Days and 29 Minutes In Penalties! : Hockey Beat
Dan Carcillo continues a long-standing Philadelphia tradition of goonery with a sucker punch that earned him a 4-game suspension.
Payola : Tom Benjamin's NHL Blog
A reliably cynical view of the NHL's hiring of Brendan Shanahan as a new VP, from the Canuck-loving curmudgeon. It's definitely worth questioning how Shanny is possibly qualified to serve as an executive on the business side of the game.
30 Opponents To Appreciate | Hockey From the Cheap Seats
Matt picks one player from each team that stands out, an interesting exercise.
Projecting: Three Scenarios for Rick DiPietro's Return - Lighthouse Hockey
Whenever Rick DiPietro returns to the Islanders, it's going to create some awkward moments for a team potentially looking at juggling three #1 goalies.
Lastly, remember that the Detroit Red Wings come to town this Saturday; and while Niklas Kronwall may be injured, defenseman Brad Stuart can bring a big hit, too:
Hat tip to Kukla's Korner for the video.