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Wednesday's notes: At long last, the Cup Final is here

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It's nice to finally get back to having some hockey to watch, isn't it? With the formal announcement of the Thrashers-to-Winnipeg move yesterday, most of that speculation is now behind us (except the name of the new team, and a few other items). It's time to look ahead to Game 1 between the Canucks and Bruins for the Stanley Cup, beginning tonight in Vancouver at 7:00 p.m. Central on NBC.

So follow after the jump for a preview of tonight's game, lots of reaction to yesterday's press conference, and a consideration of whether Nashville Predators assistant coach Peter Horachek might be ready for a head coaching job elsewhere...

Nashville Predators News

The View from 111: Gone With the Winn(ipeg)
Mark offers a number of deep thoughts on the NHL's return to Manitoba.

Stars coaching candidate: Peter Horachek - ESPN Dallas
Let's be very clear that this article profiles Horachek as a "possible" coaching candidate for Dallas, it doesn't indicate that he's actually included in their search.

Trotz talks Winnipeg - Predators Insider
Barry Trotz comes Manitoba, and knows that while excitement is in the air right now, there are legitimate long-term questions about Winnipeg's ability to support an NHL team.

Atlanta Thrashers never had Nashville Predators-like consistency - The Tennessean
Comparing how Nashville fought through the difficulties of 2007, while the Thrashers succumbed.

NHL Entry Draft

2011 NHL Draft Prospect Profile #30: Matthew Puempel - The Cannon
Here's a look at a scoring forward who could conceivably drop to where the Preds are currently sitting with New Jersey's pick in the second round.

2011 Entry Draft Primer: The Usual Bust-pects Part 1 (15-11) - Lighthouse Hockey
I like the angle here, offering a "Mike Milbury Thought" on each potential pick.

Around the NHL

Bruins At Canucks Game 1 Preview: Fight Fire With Fire. Ending Is Near. - Nucks Misconduct
Finally, we've got Game 1 previews in anticipation of some hockey tonight.

Boston’s potential strategy to deal with Vancouver? Play like Predators | ProHockeyTalk
I can see this... relying on Chara & Seidenberg to keep the Sedins in check. But what about the Kesler line?

Down Goes Brown: 2011 Stanley Cup preview
As always, funny stuff from DGB.

The Thrashers Chapter Comes to a Close - Bird Watchers Anonymous
I was glad to get the chance to meet The Falconer when he came up to Nashville for a couple Preds-Thrashers games, and here he writes eloquently about the end of an era in Atlanta.

Thrashers, Atlanta were never given a chance by NHL, Spirit | Jeff Schultz
You've got to feel for the diehards as they vent their frustration. The bottom line is that Phoenix is staying in place because the City of Glendale is willing to write a $25 million annual check to keep them there, while that wasn't the case in Atlanta.

The Hockey News: Headlines: Fans of Winnipeg's NHL team will pay second-highest prices in Canada
The fans in Winnipeg are going to pay dearly for their seats, and that's not surprising given the buzz over their new team. Again, the concern is for 5-10 years down the road, and whether they'll still pay through the nose is this team isn't competitive.

Atlanta Thrashers Relocation To Winnipeg No Big Deal For ESPN, Others -
Yesterday's big news wasn't so big outside the hockey world.

Spector on Winnipeg: Southern exposure -
Marc Spector must've written this column on a maple syrup-driven sugar high. It was "inevitable" that a southern team would fail and relocate to Canada. Hockey players come from places like Winnipeg, not Nashville, etc. There's a point where celebration of the NHL's return to Winnipeg crosses the line into arrogance, and Spector just keeps on cruising here.

Don Waddell talks about his role in the Atlanta Thrashers’ demise - Puck Daddy
The longtime GM of the Thrashers (and lately president of hockey ops) held forth on his time leading the team.

What The Atlanta Thrashers Could Have Been - Houses of the Hockey
A cautionary tale for those who favor building a team around a star forward.

Home | Drive to 13,000
Here's where you can keep track of Winnipeg's drive to secure 13,000 season ticket commitments. I'll give True North lots of credit here for having learned the lessons that Jim Balsillie failed to; there's only general NHL branding here, and they've played ball the NHL way (slow, steady and privately) to land their team.

Behind the Net moves to All-Winnipeg Jets Format - Behind The Net
Gabe had dibs on running SB Nation's blog if Winnipeg ever got a team back...

Gillis: Canucks have several options for AHL affiliate with Moose on move - The White Towel
With the Manitoba Moose heading east to make room for the new NHL team, there will be a lot of change going on with multiple NHL-AHL relationships over the next few months.

Quebec City hockey fans hope they’re next - The Globe and Mail
They kind of need to get that arena built first...

Gill To Return to Montreal - Habs Eyes On The Prize
The Habs extend their giant defenseman to a one-year contract.

Blues re-sign Berglund to two-year deal -
The Blues re-up one of their key young forwards for a couple seasons at $2.25 million each.

Ales Hemsky - Dehumanized and Commodified - The Copper & Blue
Whither Edmonton's top offensive player?

Kevin Dineen: New Coach of Florida Panthers - On Frozen Pond
Dineen was widely respected as a player, and now gets his shot behind an NHL bench.

Coming Down the Pipe!: Maineiacs are done, Sherbrooke joining QMJHL
A bit of a shuffle in the Quebec junior ranks sees one team disappear, and another pop up out of nowhere.