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Saturday's notes: My Thank You For A Great 2011

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On this final day of 2011, there are so many impactful stories to reflect on regarding the Nashville Predators and the NHL in general - we had the playoff series win over Anaheim, the Mike Fisher trade, the departure of important players via free agency, the unexpected rise of rookie Craig Smith... and of course the horrible losses of Wade Belak, Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, and the entire Yaroslavl Lokomotiv team in the KHL plane crash.

Rather than rank these myself, I'd be more interested to get your thoughts in the comments below about what events you'll remember from this year of Nashville Predators hockey, both the good and the bad.

But first, after the jump, I want to give you my thanks for what's been an eventful year here at OTF:

These are just some of the highlights of the year gone by:

  • We topped major traffic milestones such as 2,000,000 visits and 4,000,000 page views, with activity roughly doubling year-over-year. The site now has over 6,000 Twitter followers, 2,600 registered members, and 1,400 following our Facebook page.
  • Marc & Sam jumped on board as contributing writers, bringing new, fresh voices to the site (and I mean something by voices - stay tuned...).
  • I've been invited by Willy Daunic to join the pre- and post-game radio shows during a few of the Predators' road games, a fascinating peek behind the scenes of what it takes to bring these games to life on radio.
  • I got rolling on my side project, Hockey Gear HQ. The figurative wheels are lifting off the ground over there, and I'm really excited for the prospects there in the year ahead. As part of that rollout, I put some structure to my fantasy hockey draft strategy and published that as an eBook. The strategy is working so far, as I'm in first place across all 3 leagues I'm participating in, and I hope to further flesh out the document for next season.
  • In October we were recognized as the Best Sports Blog in Nashville by the Nashville Scene, an honor I take seriously and hope to build upon in the year ahead.

My thanks for all of those bright spots goes out to you, the OTF readers, for making this place a vibrant, welcoming environment for informed discussion of the Nashville Predators and the NHL. That's been the #1 reason why I started this thing in the first place, and it's amazing to see how far it's come over the last few years.

And now, back to your regularly scheduled programming...

Nashville Predators News

Barry Trotz a fan of 24/7 and its depiction of his friend John Tortorella - Nashville Predators Examiner
24/7 is probably the most popular TV show across the entire league...

The 303:30 ON LOCATION IN ST. LOUIS: the Gold Record doc, a visit with Chet Pickard | Section 303
Patten & Robby join Jeremy to talk about rookies, Pekka Rinne, and where they expect the Preds to finish up this season.

Smashville 24/7: Smashville On The Glass - Sean Henry featured
Buddy & Ryan chat up the COO of the Preds, the guy who makes sure Bridgestone Arena performs for the fans just like the guys on ice do.

Should Nashville Reload or Rebuild (Part I) | Hack Whack and Snack
The first of a 3-part review of where the Preds are, and what they should do going forward.

Failed breakaway shot helps Martin Erat score winner - The Tennessean
On a shorthanded breakaway earlier in the game, Marty went five-hole and Halak made the save, so in the shootout, he changed things up.

Gabriel Bourque and Ryan Ellis fly in style - Predators Insider
The fresh-faced kids are digging the NHL lifestyle.

Postgame ponderings - Predators Insider
Roll out the old "best players are your best players" line here.

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

Down Goes Brown: 2011: An NHL year in review
Of all the "year in review" posts out there, this is one of them.

Scotty Bowman Inducted into the Order of Canada - The Hockey Writers
A high honor for hockey's greatest coach.

Puck Daddy’s 10 best players of 2011 - Puck Daddy
Shea Weber lands solidly in the middle of this list.

Rangers Waive Sean Avery -
It looks like the New York Rangers' pest is heading back to the AHL.

How Long Will The Maple Leafs' Window Be Open? - Pension Plan Puppets
A nifty look at how goal scorers' careers tend to develop as they get older.

Teenage Canucks Fan And Brain Tumor Survivor Slapped In Head At Sharks Game | ThePostGame
Well, this is despicable...

Group of Death Claims the Americans - Puck Worlds
Team USA has pretty fallen on its face at the World Juniors, with losses to both Finland and the Czech Republic bouncing them out of contention.

Late Night Poll: The Shootout, like stinky Uncle Tony, has overstayed its welcome. - St. Louis Game Time
Here's your look at last night's game from the St. Louis perspective.

Round 1 To Gondor: Scum 2 - Hawks 3 - Second City Hockey
So... is Toews Boromir and Kane Faramir?

Alfredsson's 400th is overtime winner as Senators beat Flames 4-3 - Silver Seven
While most are watching Jarome Iginla's march to 500 goals, it was Alfie hitting the 4C mark to lead Ottawa to the win.

Rangers capitalize on shaky goaltending to sink Panthers - Litter Box Cats
The Blueshirts are heading in to the Winter Classic on quite a roll.

Recap: Caps 3, Sabres 1 - Japers' Rink
Alex Ovechkin was Alex Ovechkin again, with two goals to lead the Capitals to victory.