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Thursday's notes: The World Juniors Approach

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As the Nashville Predators jump into a back-to-back set of games tonight vs. Columbus and tomorrow at Dallas, the focus of the hockey world is starting to shift away from the NHL, as the World Junior Championships are set to begin on Monday, December 26 (coverage is on NHL Network). Today's notes include an update on one Preds prospect who hopes to compete in this year's tournament, and the story of a current Predator who had his opportunity snatched away...

At 10 PM tonight, the Preds are raising prices on single-game tickets! Take the OTF Discount now & save!

Nashville Predators News

Nashville Predators get surprise visit from Brent Peterson - The Tennessean
Coach Brent was already back at the arena working out after the completion of his DBS procedures.

Coming Down the Pipe!: USA Tunes Up on Switzerland
It's by no means certain that Austin Watson will play for Team USA in the World Juniors. UPDATE: He has indeed made the roster of 22 players!

Untimely illness cost Nick Spaling his World Junior dream - Nashville Predators Examiner
'Twas mono that felled young Nick.

Hockey Night in Nashville: Tootoo becoming complete player for Preds
Tootoo is on a roll these days, which will certainly help him earn a new contract. He's due for unrestricted free agency this summer.

Smashville 24/7: Blum and Geoffrion use demotion as motivation
Hmm... I wonder who else should get sent to Milwaukee then.

NHL Rookies: Studs and Duds- Part II - The Hockey Writers
One Pred made the Studs list, another makes the Duds.

Nashville Predators' Kevin Klein likely to sit out again - The Tennessean
The flu is still getting to Kleiner.

A Look To 2012 - Tom Callahan's Blog
Tom examines the Gordian Knot that is the Ryan Suter situation, and how that meshes with Nashville's approach to the Trade Deadline.

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

Alex Radulov’s contract with Predators makes NHL return tricky - Puck Daddy
There's really not much new here. Alex Radulov could come back next summer if he wants to, but has a year left on his NHL deal. Dmitry wonders out loud whether that contract can get torn up, and with a new CBA to be negotiated, theoretically anything is possible. Like monkeys flying out of my butt.

Puck Daddy’s Top 10 shootout goals of 2011 - Puck Daddy
Here's an entertaining way to burn a few minutes of your time...

Five Things Fast Food Taught Me About Sports Business | The Business of Sports
I'd say the Preds do a pretty good job on these points.

Foot injury at practice sidelines Stars' ironman Robidas - The Dallas Morning News
Looking ahead to tomorrow's trip to Dallas by the Preds, it sounds like the Stars' top defenseman is questionable for that game.

HBO 24/7 Flyers Rangers Episode 2 Recap - Blueshirt Banter
Loads of spoilers for those of you who may not have caught the latest episode of the HBO series.

Christmas comes early: Maple Leafs sign Bieber - Pension Plan Puppets
Toronto takes truculence to a whole 'nother level.

VIDEO: Peter Laviolette Shoves Steve Ott In Locker Room Tunnel During Flyers Vs. Stars Game -

Could Brian Elliott actually win the Vezina? - Backhand Shelf
It's still early for this kind of talk, but the former Ottawa castoff is having a great year with St. Louis.

The Joy of Losing - Puck Drunk Love
The Oilers are dropping back towards the Western Conference cellar, so one Edmonton fan embraces the quest for another #1 overall draft pick.

For Ovechkin and Backstrom, breaking up is easy to do - Puck Daddy
Might the key for Washington be something we saw Tuesday against the Preds, to keep Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom on separate lines?

Building a Better ACC Atmosphere " Toronto Maple Leafs Hot Stove
I think the folks in traditional hockey markets could learn a thing or two from Nashville.

How To Get Last-Minute Hockey Gifts In Time For Christmas | Hockey Gear HQ
There's still time to order last-minute Christmas gifts for hockey fans or players & get them delivered in time for the big day, if you know where to shop. Here I'll point you to a few places which even have discounts on Next Day Shipping or Saturday Delivery.

Wings At Canucks Recap ; There's A New Kid In Town (4-2W) - Nucks Misconduct
This one had a little bit of everything. Nicklas Kronwall left his feet to make a big hit and Ryan Kesler went knee-on-knee with a Red Wing.

Claude Giroux, Peter Laviolette are incredible; Oh, and Flyers beat Stars, 4-1 - Broad Street Hockey
Claude Giroux returned to action with a vengeance, recording 4 points in the Flyers' win.

Home for Christmas: Hawks 5 - Canadiens 1 - Second City Hockey
The Blackhawks are zipping along in the fast lane, ranking 1st overall in the league and with an 8-1-1 record in their last 10 games.

Blues at Avalanche Recap: Avs Beat Blues 3-2 Behind 37 Saves By Giguere - Mile High Hockey
After stinking up home ice early on, the Avalanche have won 7 straight in Denver.

Offense rises - Sharks score seven against Lightning - Fear The Fin
The Sharks manhandled Tampa Bay, 7-2.