Happy New Year to all of you coming back to work today, and get ready to strap yourselves in for what should be an exciting second half to the season for the Nashville Predators. Make sure to grab your January wallpaper to spruce up that PC of yours, review how the guys are doing so far, and get your daily dose of hockey news before getting too bogged down in the workday grind.
After the jump we've got updates on Nashville's prospects and how they're doing, concern that another Central Division rival might fire their coach, and one blogger's mid-season report card for the Preds...
Predators prospects roundup - Nashville Predators Examiner
Jim Diamond brings the latest word on the developmental pipeline, including word that Gabriel Bourque has been traded to a new junior team.
Spitfire Ellis sets scoring record for defencemen - Canada.com
Preds 2009 1st-round pick Ryan Ellis is lighting it up for his country at the World Juniors.
The View from 111: Predators Mid Season Report Card
Mark hands out the grades to the Predators. I wonder if he had to pin them to their shirts to make sure they got home properly.
My Gain is Your Gain " Pull My (Fang) Finger
AJ has a few tickets to spare this week, if you're interested!
Preds 101: Anatomy of a Goal: Crisp Passing
Another detailed breakdown, this time of Jason Arnott's game-winning goal from Saturday. What's a good play by the Preds, however, can also be seen as lousy defense by Anaheim. It's our team, though, so celebrate!
Olympic snub doesn't deter Pekka Rinne - The Tennessean
Geez, I should hope not; if a player went into a funk because he didn't get selected for his Olympic team, I'd be really worried.
Around the NHL
Five Hole Fanatics: On Andy Murray's Firing
What goes up must come down... that sounds like the epitaph on Andy Murray's time in St. Louis.
Michael Arace commentary: Blues coach lost his job; should Hitchcock? | The Columbus Dispatch
One division rival axed their coach last week... is another headed to the chopping block?
Blackhawks Add Bob Verdi To Front Office - Chicago Blackhawks
A very cool move by Chicago, adding a veteran sports writer to their staff as a "team historian". Given the bandwagon that's loading up in the Windy City, this is a wise move to educate those new fans about the team's storied past.
Flames have returned to defense-first philosophy - NHL.com
The Flames come to town tomorrow, and it sounds like they've gotten their defensive game in order.
The biggest cheapskates in pro sports? Oilers make hockey's case - The Globe and Mail
As if the Edmonton Oilers weren't losing enough on the ice, they've embarrassed themselves further in a dispute over a New Year's Eve tab at a fancy restaurant in Calgary.
Shot Distribution By Game State - The Copper & Blue
Some nice context is added to the typical goaltender save percentage, breaking down how many saves each goalie has to make at even strength vs. PK & PP time.
And lastly... um... wow: