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Predators Update, March 24 2009

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As the Preds prepare for a big game against the Anaheim Ducks tonight, here's all the news that's fit to print render in pixels:

John Glennon profiles the unlikely season of Joel Ward, the career minor leaguer who has made a huge impact on this team. In the salary cap era, getting maximum production out of players making minimal money is essential, so I expect Ward to draw a great deal of attention as a free agent this summer.

Everyone's favorite near-Predators owner, Jim Balsillie, is rumored to be on the list of likely suspects to purchase the Montreal Canadiens. The basic story here is that George Gillet (former owner of WSMV-TV, Channel 4 in Nashville from 1981-89), owner of the Habs, along with Tom Hicks, owner of the Dallas Stars & baseball's Texas Rangers, owe a boatload of money that's due this summer, and with the credit markets the way they are, simply refinancing the deal isn't as easy as it might have been a year ago. Gillet is investigating ways to raise cash, and one of the more obvious ones is to sell the hockey team.

Just as the Minnesota Wild got scorer Marian Gaborik back, they've lost center Mikko Koivu for the season with an injured knee. In my book, Koivu means more to that team because he's an excellent two-way player. With Gaborik expected to leave the team as a free agent, there's little reason to believe his head & heart are truly on board with the Wild's playoff push.

Remember, Saturday's game against L.A. starts at 5:00, to coordinate with Earth Hour in Nashville beginning at 8:30 that night.