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The roller coaster takes a dip for Nashville Predators fans - Friday's notes

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"Hands Go UP!" (Photo via <a href="">Jim Grady on Flickr</a>.)
"Hands Go UP!" (Photo via Jim Grady on Flickr.)

Sometimes it's hard for fans to stay engaged for the long grind of the 82-game NHL regular season, but now that we're into the final quarter of the campaign, each night takes on that playoff-like atmosphere, with spots in the standings riding on every outcome. Of course, this week that means that Nashville Predators fans are an unhappy lot, with back-to-back shutouts against key opponents. Fans and players alike are searching for answers, in hopes pulling out of this recent dive.

NOTE: I know things are getting tense with the team and the playoff chase, but let's watch the language in the comments, OK? We like to keep things on a "prime time TV" level here, well, besides intermission interviews with that potty-mouth Patric Hornqvist (NSFW language from last night's game).

With that out of the way, follow after the jump for a heapin' helpin' of hockey news...

The Columbus Blue Jackets are here Sunday afternoon, so take the OTF Discount and save money on Nashville Predators tickets for this, or any other home game!

Nashville Predators News

Trade Deadline Roundtable: Twitter Style – Central Division
Our buddy AJ represents Nashville in this divisional preview of the Trade Deadline Bonanza.

Hockey Night in Nashville: Chicago Shuts Down Putrid Preds
Robby is starting to question this team's character, based on what we've seen the last two games.

Jonathon Blum ‘outstanding’ in home debut - Nashville Predators Examiner
Is Blum squeezing Alexander Sulzer out of a spot here in Nashville?

Preds On The Glass: Predators Lose a Tough One to Chicago 3-0
The effort was probably better last night than in Columbus on Tuesday, but the Preds need to get a win.

The View from 111: Impotent Predators Fall to Blackhawks 3-0
Mark's frustrated to see Pekka playing so well, but getting no help at all.

Preds On The Glass: Predators Frustrated after Loss and Friday Findings
Buddy's trolling for a King Cake...

Thoughts from a True Fan – The Ice is Melting Fast | The Predatorial
Marty's not at all happy with the way the Preds have played lately.

Paul McCann - Storm's A-Blowin'
Among other items, Paul wonders what the heck is going on with the refs.

Discovery is in space, but did Pekka Rinne’s jersey make the journey? - Nashville Predators Examiner
No, I won't share the answer to that question with you.

Nashville Predators give an effort, get loss to Chicago Blackhawks - The Tennessean
I'd agree with the headline here that the effort was better last night, but as the pressure builds over the final weeks of the season, results are what count.

Another scoreless night leaves Predators talking to themselves | Nashville City Paper
After the game last night, the Preds had a closed-door meeting. Oh, to be a fly on that wall...

Around the NHL

Hurricanes Acquire Cory Stillman For Ryan Carter and 5th Rounder - Canes Country
It's "Back to the Future" in Carolina as they bring back Cory Stillman for their stretch drive.

Ellis Sent to Anaheim for McElhinney
Hey, look who's back in the Western Conference! It's our old pal Dan!

Canadiens acquire Sopel, Dawes from Thrashers | Habs Inside/Out
So much for that speculation about trading a D to Montreal, they picked up journeyman blueliner Brent Sopel from Atlanta instead.

Penguins Re-Acquire Forward Alexei Kovalev - PensBurgh
Moments after picking up Marek Svatos on waivers from the Preds, Ottawa shipped the high-priced yet underperforming Kovalev to Pittsburgh. Blog: Time for the NHL to do away with divisions
I really can't stand this line of thinking, that the league should just go 1-15 in each conference to determine playoff seedings. I say, go back to the old days when you had 4 divisions, and the first two rounds of the playoffs determined the division champs, who then met in the conference finals. That's what fostered genuine rivalries between teams.

The Illusion Of Intangibles In The NHL - The Copper & Blue
I love this stuff.

NHL Trade Deadline 2011: Craig Rivet Heads Back On Re-entry Waivers
If the Preds do decide that they need a veteran defenseman, here's one available for half-price (he makes $3.5M this season, and will be a free agent). Granted, he hasn't played much lately...

The Inherent Immorality of the Trade Deadline - The Copper & Blue
A contrary view to the typical outlook on the NHL trade market (most media members clamor for more, more, more deals). I entirely disagree with Ben's proposal here, but it's an interesting read.

Fair or not, Craig Ramsay should be held accountable and shown the door | Atlanta Thrashers: Ice Man
Yeesh, Ramsey hasn't even been around a whole season yet and a local writer wants to run him out of town.

Down Goes Brown: What an official NHL trade call sounds like
Who knew that the NHL had automated call handling like this? If you are calling to report a completely fictional "rumour" in a desperate attempt to trick stupid people into visiting your terrible web site, press e5.

BZS 3- and 4-Year-Average Leaders, 2007-08 to 2010-11 - Behind The Net
This one requires following some of the links for further explanation, but it makes a case for Kevin Klein actually being consistently one of the better defensemen in the league in terms of pushing the play up-ice.

And remember, for a massive overdose of Trade Deadline coverage from around the league, head over to:

NHL Trade Rumors and Hockey Blogs - SB Nation NHL Trade Deadline