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Friday's notes: Preds on the rise again

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The NHL regular season is a long haul, filled with ups and downs for every team along the way, and for now, the Nashville Predators are enjoying a nice run. Key players are getting back on the ice after missing time with injury, they've earned 7 out of 8 possible points in the last 4 games, and of course there's a lot of buzz left over from yesterday's signing of Pekka Rinne to a 7-year contract.

Our hockey notes today start off with more reaction to that major deal, then move on to find a ray of hope for hockey at Alabama-Huntsville, a six-game Red Wings losing streak, and a whole lot more...

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Nashville Predators News

Paul McCann - A Win, Another Win, and an Epic Fail.
Paul enjoyed the way Tom Ciggaran responded to Ken Campbell's "Slashville" article in The Hockey News.

Re-writing history twice: If Nashville didn’t re-sign Pekka Rinne - Backhand Shelf
Well-written stuff here discussing the perils of Pekka's contract, in a league where decent goaltending is cheap and plentiful.

The New Guys: The Charlotte Checkers | Admirals Roundtable
Milwaukee prepares to face a new opponent tonight, so Ryan got the scoop.

Signing loosens up Predators - Predators Insider
The joy is back in Smashville.

Halischuk thrives in set-up role - The Tennessean
Assorted post-game notes include word that Nick Spaling is traveling with the team, but doesn't have a timetable for when he'll be ready to play.

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

Has Lars Eller Helped Habs Fans Forget No. 41? | All Habs
With the way Carey Price has prospered in goal, they're not missing Jaroslav Halak at all, really.

Of Goalies and Value. Plus This Week's Mailbag - The Spin
Remember when Steve Mason was the next great thing, and he beat out Pekka Rinne for the Calder Trophy? My, how things have changed.

Devils’ bankers look to escape debt - The Globe and Mail
Money troubles in New Jersey don't appear to be getting any better. Hey, isn't there a Russian hockey player there with a load of cash? Maybe he could buy the team...

Kovalchuk leaves with pulled muscle -
Well, if he can't play for a while, maybe he should review some financial statements?

New donors claim potential to fully fund dismissed UAH hockey program |
Could there possibly be hope to revive hockey at Alabama-Huntsville? Thanks to @PredPAPaul for sharing this on Twitter.

Cards' Carpenter skates with Blues -
The World Series hero got out on the ice with the Blues.

Patrick Kaleta: The Headbutt, 10 Reasons why Sabres Fans Love Him, & Matthew Barnaby, too! - The Hockey Writers
Has Kaleta assumed the mantle of biggest lightning-rod in the league?

The NHL's Three Stars of Comedy - The Triangle Blog
The man behind Down Goes Brown sets up shop with a weekly contribution at ESPN's Grantland.

A Theory of Ice: Hockey Exegesis #3: The Moth of Madness
Clear away the distractions and set aside some time for a good read.

ANIMATED: Cal Clutterbuck Fights Max LaPierre, Punches A Referee -
It's tough work, being an NHL linesman.

USA Roster Set For Deutschland Cup | Ice The Office
A few former Preds are included on Team USA's entry.

What Has 40 Thumbs and Sucks? Red Wings Lose - Winging It In Motown
Detroit has now lost six in a row, after Calgary thumped 'em at Joe Louis Arena.

Sharks cap off mammoth comeback with 4-3 shootout win over the Penguins - Fear The Fin
San Jose is rolling along these days, and will present a tough test for the Preds tomorrow night.

Game 13 Recap: The Crying Game - The Cannon
After getting punked on home ice by Toronto, can things get much worse for the Blue Jackets?

Rangers Vs. Ducks: Marian Gaborik The Hero In The Shootout; Win 2-1 - Blueshirt Banter
Well, that's what they're paying him for, right?

Minnesota Wild vs. Vancouver Canucks: Game Recap - Hockey Wilderness
This one features a dynamite backhander by Guillaume Latendresse.

Tonight We're Gonna Give It 35% - Hawks 2, Panthers 2 (Hawks Win Wolfenstein 3D) - Second City Hockey
The current Blackhawks beat the team made up of lots of former Blackhawks in the shootout.

Ondrej Pavelec Goes Deep, Don't Get No Sleep: Jets 3, Islanders Zilch - Arctic Ice Hockey
It's a two-game winning streak for the Jets! Break out the champagne!