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Thursday's news: Previewing the Central Division, and more NHLPA drama

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We're counting down the days until training camp opens (just one week until that first Rookie Practice), and have lots to bring you this morning. After the jump, we have analysis on Nashville's 3rd line, a preview of the Central Division that includes one local blogger, and news that NHLPA head Paul Kelly just might have deserved his hasty ouster earlier this week, based on allegations that are beginning to surface.

All that,  and a sigh of relief up in Barry Trotz's hometown of Winnipeg this morning...

Predators News

Roundtable Discussion: Central Division Preview - Hockey From the Cheap Seats
The series of division previews continues, with Mark from The View From 111 representing our Predators.

Joel Ward may anchor Predators' third line - The Tennessean
John Glennon reviews the options on Nashville's 3rd line this fall, with Joel Ward a likely "responsible winger", tasked with minding things defensively while giving young players room to work.

"We have completed our assessment and due diligence and at this time..." - Music City Miracles
Yesterday Winnipeg native Barry Trotz was on "104.5 The Zone" in Nashville joking about the news that Adam "Pac Man" Jones had signed with the CFL's WInnipeg Blue Bombers, and what that might mean for the police in his hometown. Well, strike that thought!

Predators Roundup - Nashville Predators Examiner
Jim Diamond goes over the training camp rosters and notes some number assignments, including a new guy pulling on Vern Fiddler's old #38.

Around the NHL

Snooping might have cost Kelly his job - The Globe and Mail
Finally, word is starting to come out as to why the NHLPA dumped executive director Paul Kelly this week. If true, these allegations are certainly serious given the union's history.

NHLPA will be looking for a strong leader - Winnipeg Sun
Toronto Maple Leafs defenseman Garnet Exelby sounds upset over the escrow that NHL players have to pay into as part of the current CBA. "We are supposedly sharing the pie with the league, but the players keep paying," Exelby said. "It's almost like the players are being held hostage." When revenues decline relative to expectations, that's what happens, pal. If this is the direction the NHLPA is planning to take, we should all be worried as hockey fans.

The View from 111: Is the Kelly Firing a Sign of Union Militancy?
Mark sums up the NHLPA's leadership history, and sees nothing positive from the firing of Paul Kelly. Is a confrontational old-guard in danger of leading the league into another lockout in 2012?

Luongo now a $64-million man - The Globe and Mail
In another salary-cap circumventing deal, the Vancouver Canucks lock up Roberto Luongo for 12 years, at a cap hit of $5.33 million per season.

Cory Schneider: What to do? - Nucks Misconduct
Now that the Vancouver Canucks have locked up Roberto Luongo in a 12-year contract, what should they do with young goaltender Cory Schneider?

Coyotes Court in Review - Nothing Ruled On - Five For Howling
Yesterday's court date in Phoenix didn't result in any rulings, but Jim Balsillie's team did state that they might keep the Coyotes in place for one season, if the NHL agreed to split the losses, a step back from their insistence on moving them immediately.

Jason Smith to retire - Silver Seven
Ottawa Senators defenceman Jason Smith has decided to retire after 17 years battling in the NHL. Black Dog Hates Skunks shares some memories from his Edmonton days as well.

Lowetide: The Guy is a Winner
Lowetide heaps some lofty, and well deserved, praise on Sam Cogliano for how he's handled the mess of being publicly dangled for Dany Heatley this summer.

September' Previews - Atlanta : Paul McCann
Paul has launched a series of team-by-team previews, and his latest looks at the Atlanta Thrashers, who may take a moderate step forward this year.