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A villain, a Nashvillian, and a cunning linguist

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Things are really starting to heat up in the Stanley Cup Final, as Game Five represents a critical turning point; not only will the winner take a 3-2 lead in the series, but tonight in Detroit Pavel Datsyuk is finally expected back in the lineup for the Red Wings. The Penguins, meanwhile, think they just might be starting to wear the defending champs down physically.

A Game Thread will open up a couple hours before the game, so check back and join the conversation during the game.

Until they drop the puck at 7:00 Central (on NBC), however, here's a few links to get your weekend started...

Rodier a dogged strategist behind the scenes - The Globe and Mail

This profile of Jim Balsillie's legal representative, Richard Rodier, confirms what Predators fans already know - the guy is persistent, even when his overly aggressive tactics backfire on him. "A series of off-the-record conversations paint him as someone out of his depth and often too clever by half, having hatched an unlikely plan that he's clinging to with all his might in the absence of an alternative."

Nashville Predators - News: Freeman honored as Kiwanis Club's Outstanding Nashvillian of the Year Award

After graciously accepting the "Nashvillian of the Year Award" for his successful effort to keep the Predators in Nashville, David Freeman lit a Blackberry on fire and tore it shreds with his bare teeth. OK, I made that last bit up...

Puck the Media Interview: Daryl Reaugh on Finding New Words, Sid vs. Alex and The Tragically Hip " Puck The Media

Steve Lepore at Puck the Media lands a downright "Mastadonic" interview with one of the most popular hockey analysts in the game today, Daryl Reaugh.

My 2008 NHL mock draft - Allan Muir - SI.com

Let's keep an eye out for Allan Muir's mock draft for 2009 - last year he correctly pegged the Predators as taking both Colin Wilson and Chet Pickard...

First Run at a 2009 Mock Draft - Western College Hockey Blog

SB Nation's college hockey blog takes a stab at a mock draft. Study up, as we're now under 3 weeks away from the real thing!