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Tuesday's news: An off-season begins in Nashville

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It's too early to be looking at the off-season here in Nashville, but here we are - there is much to enjoy from this season, and much to consider going forward, but one thing I feel confident about is that the Predators franchise and fan base are both stronger today than they were a year ago. The future bodes well, too, with young talent moving up through the system and the off-ice situation improving as well.

After the jump we've got reaction from around Nashville to last night's loss, as well as video that should really get your blood boiling to cheer against Chicago the rest of the way...

First off, I want to thank all of you for stopping by this site and contributing to what I hope is an enlightened conversation about the Nashville Predators and the NHL. We're getting close to 1,000 registered members, have enjoyed over 20,000 comments, and are approaching some key traffic milestones (500,000 visits, and 1 million page-views). This is the 5th-consecutive month of record traffic here at OtF, and both the quality and quantity of FanPosts and FanShots are growing in lockstep.

Thanks also to the Preds-friendly members of the Nashville media, such as the Thom Abraham Show, WKRN, John Glennon at the Tennessean, and the "3 Hour Lunch" crew, Willy Daunic, and others at 104.5 The Zone. There are still far too many dinosaurs out there who don't know a hip check from a coat check, so we should celebrate the folks out there who do get it.

And lastly, thanks to Chris and Aditya for adding so much here on a daily basis, and thanks to the rest of the Nashville Predators blogging community for the dedicated effort to bring fresh perspectives to the discussion. If the rest of the league has learned anything over the last several weeks and months, it's that Nashville is a legitimate hockey town with its fair share of rabid, informed hockey fans.

Last Night in the Playoffs

Montreal 4, Washington 1: The Canadiens forced a Game 7 in Washington, setting up a possible #1 vs. #8 upset.

Boston 4, Buffalo 3: Miro Satan scored the winner as the Bruins knocked the Northeast Division champs out of the playoffs.

Predators News

Preds On The Glass: Game Recap: Predators Season Ends in 5-3 Loss to Chicago
Buddy's got all your post-game audio - wallow away!

Brandon Felder - Hawks Take Series 4 to 2 After 5-3 Victory In Nashville
Brandon's "Frustrated Five" concludes with the biggest question - What's Next?

The View from 111: Hawks Close Out Series with a 5-3 Victory
Mark finds a lot to be positive about, especially the way the Preds came back from two goals down to tie the game late in the first period.

See Puck City: Thank You Preds: An End To A Better Season Than Last And A Look To The Future
SPC is rightly proud of the Preds 100-point season as well.

Admirals Drop Game 7 to Chicago - Milwaukee Admirals
The Preds' AHL affiliate gets bounced from the playoffs, too, despite battling back from being down 3-1 in their series with the Chicago Wolves.

Postgame ponderings - Predators Insider
John Glennon watched the Kane goal last night skitter past Rinne from center ice, and recalls a similar goal which victimized Dan Ellis in 2008 vs. Detroit, also in Game 6 of that series.

Game 7 eludes Predators again - The Tennessean
There was an incredibly rare Joe Biddle sighting last night at Bridgestone Arena.

Chicago Blackhawks found the lucky bounce - The Tennessean
That 2nd Chicago goal last night was like a punch in the gut, but let's be honest. It wasn't much different than the J.P. Dumont goal from Game One that got the Preds rolling. The breaks evened out.

Around the NHL

Video: In pitchers' duel, Dany Heatley loses to teenage girl - Puck Daddy
This. Is. Awesome.

Satan goes from hockey purgatory to playoff hero -
Last spring, Miro Satan was put on waivers at the Trade Deadline, and nobody wanted him. Now, he's winning playoff games for Boston.

Troubling NHL numbers - The Globe and Mail
Here's a stunner - David Shoalts writes about 6 NHL teams struggling financially, and Nashville isn't included.

Rangers Analysis: Getting the Rangers On Track In 10 Not-So-Easy Steps - Blueshirt Banter
When Step #1 involves sending a $6 million man down to the AHL, I'm guessing the Rangers won't take this seriously.

Why The Sabres Lost And Can It Be Fixed? - Die By The Blade
Folks aren't happy in Buffalo, and even wonder if Lindy Ruff should go.

Retrospective on Kovalchuk to Devils Trade - Bird Watchers Anonymous
Things worked out pretty well for the Thrashers in my view - they got a few useful assets in exchange for a guy that wasn't going to stay anyway.

To the 2009-10 Colorado Avalanche - Mile High Hockey
Quite the mash note here... I don't have it in me to write something like this.

Could ESPN Be Interested In Hockey Once Again? - SB Nation
TV ratings and interest are up, so might that get the NHL back on ESPN? More importantly, is it better to be the big fish in a small pond (Versus) or a small fish in a big pond (ESPN)?

And lastly, just in case you didn't hate the Blackhawks enough, check out this, from the celebration at the end of Game 5. I missed this originally, but watch Brent Sopel hit Martin Erat from behind after the play (right in the middle of the frame, near the "Stanley Cup Playoffs" logo on the Chicago ice (at 1:28 of the clip). Utterly bush-league crap right there from Sopel.