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Predators' injury woes include a financial hit, too - Thursday's News

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While the Nashville Predators have continued to play well despite a stupendous assortment of injuries to key players, one area in which this does impact the team is on the bottom line. Instead of carrying 21 or 22 players, as has been typical in recent years, the Preds now have 26 guys on the current roster, which includes all the guys on IR. In addition, you have Jordin Tootoo's salary to account for while he goes through the league's SABH program.

In his interview with J.R. Lind of the Nashville Post regarding the recent debt refinancing, team chairman Tom Cigarran pointed out how the ownership group is better positioned to deal with that budgetary challenge than in years past:

"That's very expensive. If this had happened three years ago, we would have had a serious problem, but we're keeping this team competitive," he said. "If you look at our total payroll, this is the best team we've ever had."    

Carrying 4 or 5 extra players, even at sub-$1 million salaries, makes for a pretty large hit for a budget-conscious team like the Preds. Right now they are projected to spend near the mid-point of the salary cap range, which is about $3-4 million higher than what they've done in the last two seasons (recall that there is a fixed $16 million range from the floor to the ceiling):

 Season  Total Cap Hit   Cap Room 
 2008-9 (per NHLNumbers) $45.4 MM $11.4 MM
 2009-10 (per NHLNumbers) $44.8 MM $12.6 MM
 2010-11 (projected by CapGeek) $50.6MM $8.8MM

Just remember, even calling up a low-paid player from Milwaukee to fill in for an injured player carries a cost. Thank goodness the fan support has been there to help carry that burden, and that the ownership group has continued progress on shoring up the overall financial position of the team.

Follow after the jump for the rest of this morning's hockey news...

The Minnesota Wild are the next victims vistors to Smashville, as they come in Tuesday, January 11. Save a few bucks and use our promo code for discount Nashville Predators tickets to this, or any other home game.

Nashville Predators News

For reaction to last night's Duck Hunt head over to Section 303Fang Finger FeverPreds On The GlassThe View From 111PredlinesThe Tennessean, and the Nashville City Paper.

Paul McCann - Win, Game Night and notes from a busy hockey night
Paul gives thanks to the hockey gods and has a few thoughts on the World Juniors, too.

Preds On The Glass: Preds Hope To Extend Streak Versus Kings and Thursday Thoughts
Buddy looks ahead to tonight's battle in L.A., and points you to where you can watch all of the "24/7" episodes if you don't have HBO.

Hockey-less in Memphis: Fangtastic 5K
Rebecca finds that the Preds' annual 5K is a great way to get going on that New Year's resolution. I should probably get my butt rolling...

Should Nashville Pursue Iginla? | Hockey Independent
This is nuts, but some folks love to chew over this stuff ahead of the trade deadline.

Webers discusses visors - Predators Insider
Like most NHLers, Shea Weber feels that a visor would restrict his on-ice vision. You have to wonder, however, at which point the league will mandate that players begin wearing them.

The Peterborough Petes recently held a holiday Fun Camp, and Preds 1st-round pick Austin Watson was mic'ed up while he worked with the kids on the ice:

Around the NHL

Canada has no monopoly on heart - National Post
Last night, Canada had a 3-0 lead heading into the 3rd period of the gold medal game at the World Juniors, but Russia put together an epic comeback to win it 5-3. While many will focus on what they see as a Canadian failure, Bruce Arthur recognizes a gritty effort by the Russians, overcoming steep odds and injury to pull off a tremendous win.

Ellis Earns Top Defenseman Honors at 2011 World Junior Championships -
Well, at least Ryan Ellis took home some individual awards. He surpassed the career tournament scoring record by defenseman as well, passing one of the all-time great hockey names, Reijo Ruotsalainen.

Are "True" Hockey Fans Trying To Kill the Sport of Hockey? - View From My Seats
I love, love, love this rant. When the NHL tries something different to market the game (Winter Classic, Guardian Project, etc.) you often hear die-hard fans clucking in discontent. Guess what, it's not about you.

Commodore Requests Trade (Puck-Rakers Blog)
He may ask for one, but with two more seasons at more than $3 million apiece, who would trade for Mike Commodore?

Is the Sharks defense bad? - Behind The Net
Why aren't the Sharks dominating like recent years? Gabe has the answer.

NHL Official: We Should have Reviewed Bryan McCabe's Goal ... With Video From FSN/NHL - On Frozen Pond
It was "nuts and bolts" in Florida last night...

Comparing The Team Under Two Thrashers Captains: Ilya Kovalchuk And Andrew Ladd - NHL Hot Stove
Could the change in captain have as much to do with Atlanta's success this year as the personnel moves?

Dwayne Roloson, Welcome to a Land of Positive Shot Differential - Behind The Net
The old goalie may have gone from the NHL's outhouse to the penthouse.

How the Winter Classic Did in Each NHL Market " Puck The Media
Among US NHL markets, Nashville finished in the middle of the pack for Winter Classic TV ratings.

No Need to Fix NHL Winter Classic–Just Improve On It - SportsMoney
The last line sums it up: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

Red Light District: The Pittsburgh Experience
Ryan shares the details of his trip to cover the Winter Classic. You have to love the way the NHL has opened up opportunities for bloggers to cover league-wide events like this, the NHL Awards, and the Entry Draft.

Black Dog Hates Skunks: Deeper Thoughts
A collection of mostly lucid (but always entertaining) observations on the Edmonton Oilers.

A Down Year For Many Of The NHL’s Top Agitators - From The Rink
Cory takes a look around the league and isn't impressed with the best of the pests.

The In Lou We Trust Guardian Project - In Lou We Trust
A different take on the NHL's Guardian Project, assigning existing heroes to each of the league's teams. (hat tip to DonBorvio).

Goalie Has Johnny Cash On His Mask - Smart Ass Sports
An ECHL goalie has a mask that Nashville fans would likely approve of.

And lastly, how about a puck shot so hard that it shatters upon hitting the goalpost? Never seen that one before...