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Thursday's news: Predators resume practice with healthy Franson & Smithson

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With the Final Four now set in the Olympic hockey tournament, we can also start looking forward to next week, and the resumption of NHL action.

Your morning hockey news includes a wealth of reaction (including Mike Milbury's now-infamous "Eurotrash" statement) to last night's huge Canada/Russia quarterfinal game, an analysis of the critical role Shea Weber is playing, and yet another bizarre turn of events for the Tampa Bay Lightning...

Predators News

Preds On The Glass: A Conversation with Pekka Rinne and Thursday Thoughts
Buddy's morning notes include a recap of his interview with Pekka Rinne, and a bushel of links from the hockey world.

Weber leads Canadians' shutdown effort vs. Russians -
The Preds' defenseman stood out last night as Alex Ovechkin was neutralized.

Preds ready for return to ice - Predators Insider
As the Preds resume practice this morning (10:30 at Centennial, open to the public) it's good to hear that Jerred Smithson and Cody Franson are both back in action.

The Nashville Predators resume their home schedule after the Olympic break with 10 home games in the month of March. For discounted tickets to any Nashville Predators home game, follow this link and use the special offer code "PREDS".

Around the NHL

Canadian, American women set to collide for Gold Medal - - All-Access Vancouver
Tonight at 5:30 p.m. Central (MSNBC) the US and Canadian women play for the gold - if you've never watched women's hockey, these US/Canada games are always high-intensity, I strongly recommend you check this out.

Dan Boyle’s cheap shot! | The Hockey Writers
Jon Gabrielle calls out the Canadian defenseman for a dangerous, cowardly slew-foot that he delivered to Alexander Semin in the closing minutes of last night's game, after Semin rocked him with a hard shoulder-to-shoulder hit behind the net.

Mike Milbury not a fan of Russia's 'Eurotrash game' - Puck Daddy
Criticism is pouring in after Mike Milbury characterized Russia's effort last night as a "Eurotrash game". I thought the remark was dead-on, reflecting the way that many European players who came over to the NHL back in the 80's and 90's weren't able to match the physical intensity of the North American game.

Russia again fails to deliver at Games - ESPN
Pierre LeBrun writes that last night's debacle against Canada marks a brutal failure on the world stage by the KHL, which supplied a large portion of the Russian squad.

Ovechkin after loss: "We Tried, and Did Everything We Could" - Japers' Rink
Translated comments from the press conference with Russian media after the game.

james mirtle: 2010 Olympics: The Canada 'bias'
James had said all along that he didn't like Russia's depth, and that certainly was exposed last night.

Should Bykov have gone to Bryzgalov earlier? -
This is the big question from last night's Canada/Russia game. Why the Russian coach didn't pull Evgeni Nabokov until it was 6-0 is a mystery.

One Hell of a Day of Hockey - Behind The Net
Gabe got enjoy three games in person yesterday, and shares his thoughts on each.

Learning About the Western Hockey League and Major Junior Hockey - Five For Howling
This one is really worth your time; an excellent primer on how junior hockey works, from the WHL's Manager of Player Development and Recruitment.

Tampa Bay Lightning coach Rick Tocchet said he wasn't consulted about staff change - Lightning Strikes
Just when we thought normalcy might return to Tampa Bay with the franchise sale, GM Brian Lawton orchestrates some bizarre coaching changes.