The countdown to the regular season is finally down to single-digit days, so it's time to get up to speed, hockey fans. There are previews to read, snack selections to nail down for game nights, and, of course, you may just need to switch your TV provider if DirecTV and Versus don't get their act together.
While you're reading this morning, be sure to check out "The Program" podcast; I was a guest on last night's show, to talk about the Preds, and a variety of other topics. Thanks to Chris & the gang for having me on.
After the jump, there's a full slate of Predators and other hockey news. NHL.com boasts a series of feature article on Nashville this morning, we get word that 1st-round draft pick Ryan Ellis is on his way back to his junior team, and one of the great goaltenders of the last 15 years hangs up his pads...
Unexpected gift: Timmins back as a Spit - Windsor Star
While the bulk of this article is about Scott Timmins returning to the Spitfires, it also includes this note: "Ryan Ellis will arrive today after the first-round pick by the Nashville Predators was returned."
Predators' penalty kill needs to improve - 2009-2010 Season Preview
John Kreiser at NHL.com points to an area of the team that is usually among the league's best. But particularly on the road (where they were 27th in the league), the PK could use some work.
Nashville counting on young players to step up - 2009-2010 Season Preview
One reason for optimism in Nashville is that the kids coming up through the system show more offensive punch than the 3rd- and 4th-liners which left the team over the summer.
Sullivan looks forward to playing a full season - 2009-2010 Season Preview
Rocky Bonanno writes about what is to me the single biggest factor in the Preds' chances for improvement this season. A healthy Steve Sullivan brings a fresh dynamic to the Nashville attack.
Judging a game by its stats - Nashville Predators Examiner
Jim Diamond looks at last night's game solely through the box score and stats files, because "I really do not like listening to hockey games on the radio". As a kid, radio was my primary means of following hockey, and last night was a fun flashback to those times. Tom Callahan brings a classic style to the Preds' radio broadcasts with a modern sensibility. My favorite bit? When the Atlanta PA announcer mispronounced #9's name, prompting Callahan to wonder out loud, "Who's GOK?"
Training Camp - Day One - Admirals Short Shifts
Eric Kent brings us the scoop from the opening of Milwaukee's training camp.
According to Vegas oddsmakers, your 2009-10 playoff teams - Puck Daddy
Vegas picks the Preds to take a step backwards this season...
Eye of the Tiger, Baby… " Pull My (Fang)Finger
A friend of AJ's gets a great quote from J.P. Dumont in the Nashville penalty box...
Game Brain: GQ Features on men.style.com
Set aside a few minutes to read this important story on the issue of head trauma in the NFL, and the debilitating effects that afflict some retired players. In hockey, there is a movement in some circles to reduce or eliminate legal hits to the head, and after reading this piece, you can understand why.
It all starts in the net - The Globe and Mail
James Mirtle's fantasy hockey series moves on to the goaltenders. Pekka Rinne shows up as an "underrated gem".
Manny Malhotra is officially a Shark - Working the Corners
David Pollak writes that the checking center finally inked a contract with San Jose, for less than half of what he made last year in Columbus.
Blueshirt Banter talks with Rangers radio analyst Dave Maloney - Blueshirt Banter
SB Nation's New York Rangers blog landed a great interview with the team's radio analyst, Dave Maloney. With powerful personalities like Sean Avery and John Tortorella on hand, it should be an interesting season down at Madison Square Garden.
An end, a beginning, a new home - Inside the Kings
In an interesting twist, LA Daily Times writer Rich Hammond has now been hired directly by the Kings, for the purpose of providing coverage of the team via LAKings.com. On the upside, "For the first time ever in my career, I will be able to dedicate every working hour to covering the Kings." On the downside, we'll have to see over time whether such relationships mute criticism of the team's management and/or players.
The End of an Era: Kolzig Quits - On Frozen Blog
In the end it was merely a formality, but the retirement of the greatest goaltender in Washington Capitals history is surely deserving of note. Olaf Kolzig won the Vezina Trophy in 2000, and led the Caps to the Stanley Cup Finals in 1998.
David Poile on Olie Kolzig - In The Room - Washington Times
The Preds GM ran the show in Washington when Kolzig was drafted back in 1989, and shares his memories of "Olie the Goalie".
Phoenix Coyotes will stay in Glendale for 2009-10 season - AZCentral.com
Jim Balsillie's legal team finally gave up the insane notion that he could move the Coyotes to Hamilton this season if he won control of the team.
Coyotes tickets slashed to $25 or less for home opener - From The Rink
The Coyotes are pulling out a heck of a promotion to try and sellout their home opener. Here's to hoping the folks in Phoenix can have a fun night of hockey, after a summer of pure ugliness.
Another NHL Team In the Northwest? - Nucks Misconduct
After the city of Everett, Washington hosted a pre-season game, people are openly asking whether Seattle or Portland might serve as NHL markets. For my money, Seattle would be a great option.
Foppa’s back! ****** : All Things Avs Colorado
Peter Forsberg is apparently attempting to set the professional hockey record for most comebacks, after signing a tryout contract with Modo in the Swedish Elite League.