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Thursday's news: Many Predators make enticing free agents

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Tonight the Nashville Predators begin a back-to-back set in Phoenix and Colorado, so first, be sure to check out Chris' Game Day Preview, then load up on your hockey news for the day (don't forget yesterday's interview with Preds prospect Taylor Beck, either!).

After the jump, we've got lots of speculation on the future of the Nashville roster, whether it's how Kevin Klein's new contract impacts the defense, which upcoming free agents might be most attractive on the open market, and a scoring winger from the Eastern Conference who was apparently asked for a trade out West. All that, and the Stanley Cup getting lost at an airport....

Predators News

The View from 111: Toronto Tabloid Stirs Tempest in Tennessee Teapot
Mark takes David Shoalts out to the woodshed for his ridiculous article about the Predators and the Sports Authority from the other day.

Predators back on road sweet road - Nashville Predators Examiner
Jim Diamond writes about how the Preds are perhaps better off away from Nashville these days.

What does Klein’s 3 year extension mean for Preds?… | Section 303
Jeremy wonders out loud about what Kevin Klein's deal could mean for the future of the Nashville blueline.

Game Night - Playoff Preview? and Thursday Notes - Paul McCann
Paul looks at tonight's "Balsillie Bowl" and offers up a few other thoughts. Be sure to check out his latest  HockeyBuzz Radio podcast as well.

Attention to detail keeps Spaling with Preds - Nashville City Paper
David Boclair showcases exactly whey Nick Spaling has managed to stick with Nashville, even while injured players return to the lineup.

Hamhuis would have many suitors if he tests free agency -
Kevin Allen estimates that if he hits the free agent market, Dan Hamhuis could get something close to Ryan Suter or Shea Weber money. Considering what Jeff Finger got from Toronto last year, he just might be right. Top 10: 2010 UFAs
John Grigg at The Hockey News looks forward to the summer free agent market, and includes 2 Nashville Predators in his Top 10 UFA's.

Around the NHL

Pacific: Petersen earning ice time increase -
Just in time for the Preds' visit to Phoenix, features an article on up-and-coming Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle.

Here come the injuries | All Things Avs
Meanwhile in Denver, the sick ward is filling up as the Predators come to town on Friday.

The Macomb Daily Blogs: Lightning default on Palace loan
This situation sounds a bit different than the Preds' potential default on the Sommet Center lease. It looks like a change in ownership is the preferred outcome here.

When do NHL Teams play for the tie? - Behind The Net
Thanks to the NHL's idiotic points system, you can expect more teams to play it safe, rather than go for a win, late in regulation of a tied game over the next several weeks.

Oilers lead NHL in man-games lost - The Globe and Mail
You might find it hard to believe, but the Preds have gotten off fairly easily in terms of injuries so far.

Is Ales Kotalik on the way out? - Blueshirt Banter
I normally don't pass around trade rumors, but this one seems to have some meat behind it, as the mercurial winger has supposedly asked for a trade out of New York.

Captain Eric Staal Joins Elite Group - Canes Country
In what they hope is the first step out of the long dark of this season, the Carolina Hurricanes named a new captain yesterday. Rod Brind'Amour was very gracious about the move, and will continue to wear an "A".

A Candid Commissioner? - Hockey or Die
Jonathan Willis gives credit to AHL commissioner David Andrews for a candid "state of the league" address he gave recently.

Bettman says head-shot solution could take time - The Globe and Mail
While the Commish says that NHL GM's will examine the head shot issue at their meetings in March, he's trying to lower expectations for an immediate solution. Don't worry, I doubt expectations are that high to begin with!

On Frozen Blog › The Bluechip Options in Net Are Numerous
While there may be questions about Washington's current goaltending, OFB says there may well be hope for the future.

Greatest Hockey 1920 - Hockey Debuts At Summer Olympics
A "betcha didn't know" piece from Joe Pelletier.

Low pay, high abuse: For the love of the $@*%&# ref - The Globe and Mail
Sarah Boesveld uses the Burrows/Auger incident to demonstrate how poorly on-ice officials often get treated at a variety of levels. Especially for beer-league refs, it's all about doing it for the love of the game itself.

Lastly, in case you missed it yesterday, check out the Smashville Express video that debuted yesterday. Be sure to pass this around to your football-loving friends, to help them catch up on where the Predators stand these days:

The Preds return home Saturday, January 30 vs. the Atlanta Thrashers. For discounted tickets to this or any other Nashville Predators home game, you can follow this link and use the special offer code "PREDS".