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WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 03:  Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators celebrates with Marcel Goc #9 after a 3-0 victory against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on October 3 2010 in Washington DC.  (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON - OCTOBER 03: Pekka Rinne #35 of the Nashville Predators celebrates with Marcel Goc #9 after a 3-0 victory against the Washington Capitals at Verizon Center on October 3 2010 in Washington DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)
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At long last, we've got some honest-to-goodness competitive NHL hockey to look forward to this week as the 2010-11 season opens Thursday evening. The Preds, of course, get rolling Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena against the Anaheim Ducks. You, however, can trick out your PC already with Aditya's latest masterpiece, a wallpaper featuring a shot of the team and the complete schedule.

For now, get your juices flowing with a podcast preview of what we'll see out of the Preds this year, a look at the teams heading over to Europe for their opening games, and an approving word from a wizened hockey scribe in Montreal as to how the Preds are handling Blake Geoffrion...

Are you all set for Saturday night's opener? Readers of On the Forecheck can take advantage of a special offer to save big on Nashville Predators tickets.

Nashville Predators News

The 303:30 – Season Preview w/ 5 of Nashville’s best bloggers | Section 303
... and I got to participate, too! We had a lot of fun with this, it's a great way to get you pumped for the season.

Preds On The Glass: Predators End Preseason On A Roll and Monday Round-Up
Buddy's got all your Florida strip club news covered today...

Predators End Preseason With 3-0 Shutout Win Over Ovechkin’s Capitals - Predlines
Amanda closes by wondering how Sergei Kostitsyn might react if he's a healthy scratch to open the season (setting aside his foot injury). I'd say the Preds need to find out how he handles that sort of issue sooner, rather than later.

Preds On The Glass: Ward Leads Predators to Final Preseason Win in Washington
Buddy notes that once the Preds turned their focus towards preparing for the regular season rather than just evaluating talent, they ripped off consistent wins.

Hockey Night in Nashville: Saturday Night!!
Robby's counting down the hours... will he make it to Saturday?

Photo Set " Welcome to!
A cool photo gallery from a recent trip to the Hockey Hall of Fame, with exhibits featuring Bobby Orr, Bobby Hull, and representing your Nashville Predators, a Greg de Vries jersey.

Geoffrion is in good hands - Montreal Gazette
Red Fisher, perhaps the most respected writer in hockey, gives David Poile credit for taking it slow with Blake Geoffrion.

Admirals Trim Roster | Admirals Roundtable
The move of interest here is that Jeremy Smith is heading back to Cincinnati of the ECHL. He's got a tough bunch of goalies to compete with these days.

Thirty for Martin Erat? - Nashville Predators Examiner
30 goals for Martin Erat? Sorry, I'd bet that Patric Hornqvist hits 40 first.

Nashville Predators remained concerned with improving offense - The Tennessean
Ouch, I've got a few problems with this piece from Josh Cooper. First of all, 3 teams made the playoffs last season while scoring fewer goals than the Preds, so there's little reason to believe Nashville doesn't have enough offense to qualify once again. Secondly, to say the Predators scored and gave up 225 goals is incorrect. When you look at the team standings on, they include "phantom" goals awarded for winning a shootout game in those totals. In reality, they scored 217 goals, and gave up 221.

Boclair: Fabric of the Predators' success completely ignored by franchise - Nashville City Paper
David Boclair has an off day, too, proposing the notion that the Preds should raise a banner to the rafters of Bridgestone Arena to commemorate their appearances in the playoffs. I can't think of anything that would be more embarrassing to an NHL franchise - after all, in a 30-team league where 16 teams make the playoffs, just being average gets you an 8th-seed.

Around the NHL

Hawks Cup hangover difficult to cure - The Globe and Mail
And to be clear, when we're talking about Chicago, we're talking about a real hangover.

Blackhawks defenseman Brian Campbell injured, out with knee sprain - Inside the Blackhawks
Chicago's depth will get tested early this year as they lose their high-priced blueliner.

The broader view of the NHL in Europe — and the size of the San Jose entourage flying to Stockholm | Working the Corners
What else are you going to do on the long journey from San Jose to Stockholm? Why, chat up the NHL's Deputy Commissioner as to why this is such a good idea.

Brendan Morrison played well, but couldn't agree on a contract with Vancouver. Might he land a job elsewhere? He would seem to make a good depth option down the middle for several teams.

How does the NHL handle the Cammalleri incident? - Habs Eyes On The Prize
Montreal's Mike Cammalleri can expect to hear from the league office for slashing Islanders rookie Nino Niederreiter, too.

Derek Boogaard Spears Chris Neil Below the Belt -- NHL FanHouse
Which is crazier? The fact that Derek Boogaard is in the NHL, or that Glen Sather is paying him $6.4 million over 4 seasons?

Puck Daddy chats with NHL VP Mike Murphy about rules changes, icing injuries, the War Room and 'intent to blow' - Puck Daddy
A great interview with a guy who's always on the hot seat during hockey season.

Islanders cashin' on Yashin to avoid cap floor -
Larry Brooks, who sometimes write insightfully on NHL labor matters, really misses the mark when he blasts the New York Islanders for barely qualifying to meet the salary floor. He fails to even identify the harm in what the Islanders are doing.

Greatest Hockey Great From The Outset: Larry Murphy
Joe Pelletier should make Josh Cooper pretty happy with this one...

Fowler closes in on NHL debut with six June picks still in camp - Buzzing The Net
Cam Fowler is one of six draft picks from this summer who is on target to make an NHL roster this fall. Of course, it helps that Anaheim has lost a ton of talent on defense over the last few seasons...

La Marche en Bleue - The Globe and Mail
60,000 hockey fans rallied in Quebec City for the return of Les Nordiques. If they can get the arena built, I'd love to see another French Canadian team in action.

Brodeur is a Fraud: Some Help from the Official Scorer?
Have Pekka Rinne's stats been boosted by a generous official scorer at Bridgestone Arena? Maybe not... but hockey has a real problem with the continuing bias shown in various arenas when it comes to recording shots on goal.

Best Goaltenders In The NHL: Post-Lockout Qualifying Seasons - The Copper & Blue
When you look at straight save percentages, Nashville's goalies have done very well over the years. Could that be the result, in part, of bias by the off-ice officials?

Clicks and Clippings: Rock Stars in Russia - Canes Country
Before opening the season in Helsinki, the Carolina Hurricanes prepare for an exhibition game in St. Petersburg.

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