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Tuesday's notes: New-look NHL excites the hockey world

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Three years clean & sober? Now that's worth cheering about.
Three years clean & sober? Now that's worth cheering about.

Last night's announcement of NHL realignment has bloggers and columnists alike pondering the implications for individual teams around the league, so this morning's hockey notes are loaded with reaction there, including the unusual sight of a Canadian columnist singing the praises of Gary Bettman.

Besides, that issue, however, we have two powerful and important stories related to the game's enforcers; first, Brain McGrattan marks a milestone in Nashville, while a medical analysis of the late Derek Boogaard's brain reveals disturbing news...

Take a break from holiday shopping and use the OTF Discount to save on Nashville Predators tickets!

Nashville Predators News

A clean and sober Brian McGrattan celebrates a big anniversary - Nashville Predators Examiner
Congratulations to the big guy for fighting a much more important battle than any he'll see on the ice.

Preds On The Glass: Pekka Rinne Near Perfect in Games after a Night Off
Now there's a reason for optimism.

Smashville 24/7: What does realignment mean for Preds?
Ryan breaks down the implications for Nashville, including a marginally tougher job to make the playoffs.

Smashville 24/7: Preds see opportunity with upcoming stretch
Opportunity is an awfully open-ended word. This could be an opportunity for success, or...

Nashville Predators Q & A with Ryan Porth -
It was a busy day for Ryan, as he also participated in a fantasy hockey article on the Preds.

Watson Invited To US World Junior Camp - Nashville Predators
The Preds' 2010 1st-round pick is in the running to play for Team USA and the World Juniors later this month.

Initial Thoughts on 2012 U.S. National Junior Team Preliminary Roster | The United States of Hockey
And here is an analysis of what that team looks like so far.

Nashville Predators ponder ticket tax hike - The Tennessean
As part of the negotiations which will take place with the city, the idea of raising the seat user fee ($1.75 per hockey ticket, up to $2 for other events) for funds dedicated to the arena is being floated.

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

Uh-oh: Realignment and the Bettman Point - Jewels From The Crown
Outstanding point by Quisp here - the abomination that is the OTL "loser point" will only get worse under the new format. When you play more games against teams with whom you aren't competing for a playoff spot, there is greater incentive to just let the game go to OT so both teams earn points.

The biggest lingering mystery about NHL’s realignment - Puck Daddy
Whither the Price of Wales Trophy and Clarence Campbell Bowl?

The NHL's Strangest Divisions - Arctic Ice Hockey
If you think anything about this current realignment is weird, that's nothing compared to some previous situations. This doesn't even include "Tampa Bay in the Norris" from the early 90's.

Spector on NHL: Bettman got one right -
It's rare indeed to see a Canadian columnist praising the commish.

Derek Boogaard - A Brain ‘Going Bad’ -
Here's the bombshell in this series on the life and death of Derek Boogaard - even though he was just 28, he was posthumously diagnosed with CTE, the brain disease which is thought to be brought on by long-term, repeated head trauma. The fact that it appeared in a guy so young was unexpected, and you have to think that down the road, this will have an impact on how fighting is viewed within the NHL.

Down Goes Brown: Take the quiz: Should you fire your coach?
Hmm... if GM's read this, a few more guys might walk the plank.

Down Goes Brown: Is Alexander Ovechkin a coach killer?
Whoa boy...

You Don’t Run Tim Thomas - KuklasKorner
The latest example of a player-on-goalie collision (along with the absurdly homerish Jack Edwards on the play-by-play).

Fraser: The take on Miller, Carlson and the Hawks-Blues - TSN
For those who think Ryan Miller got away scot-free the other night, retired referee Kerry Fraser agrees.

Frequently Asked Questions on Neilson Numbers | Edmonton Journal
Scoring chances are the currency which many coaches evaluate their teams and players. They only problem with them is that they take a lot of time to study, and are usually applied in a subjective manner.

Burke's becoming an embarrassment - Toronto Sun
The Maple Leafs' GM has clearly pushed the media out of their comfort zone.

VIDEO: Dion Phaneuf Crushes Michael Sauer, Dad Loves It -