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Wednesday p.m. notes: Preds progress up ESPN's list

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Just ahead of a session with the press ahead of next week's NHL Awards, David Poile got down to business today by locking in Peter Horachek and Teemu Laakso with the organization for the upcoming season. Expect other restricted free agent signings to dribble in gradually over the summer (last year, for example, Nick Spaling signed during the middle of August, and Cody Franson in early September)

We'll have a Stanley Cup Game 7 Thread posted later today, but for now, enjoy some afternoon news & notes, including our old pal Ken Campbell of The Hockey News having one of his articles publicly retracted due to shoddy reporting, and an upward surge for the Nashville Predators in ESPN's annual Sports Franchise rankings...

Father's Day Gift Idea #3: NHL-themed wrist watch | Hockey Gear HQ
Get Dad a new wristwatch, but one designed around his favorite NHL team. There are a wide variety of options available (and deals, too) from the sites listed here.

Nashville Predators News

Ultimate Team Rankings - All Sports - SportsNation - ESPN
The Nashville Predators jumped from #29 last year to #18 in ESPN's annual ranking of pro sports franchises across all the major sports, including a #6 overall ranking in "Fan Relations". Can't argue with that.

Preview: Predators’ Offseason | Hockey Independent
David assesses where the Preds stand relative to next season's likely budget, and the key decisions David Poile will need to make.

Wednesday AJenda – Going Against Convention for Game Seven | Pull My (Fang)Finger
AJ's chomping at the bit for Game 7, and sets aside a longstanding grudge to pull for one team tonight.

Paul McCann - Game Seven
Keep an eye on the role players, writes Paul - they often step up and seize the spotlight in games like this.

Preds On The Glass: POTG Game Seven Day Headlines, News, and Links
As usual, Buddy has a bounty of hockey links for you today.

Off-Season Game Plan: Nashville Predators - TSN
A basic overview of the team as part of Scott Cullen's series touching on every team. If, and I say if, Matthew Lombardi is able to return (and I doubt seriously he will ever be the player he was before this concussion), the Preds will have wonderful depth at center.

Around the NHL

Bruins and Canucks set for Game 7 - Stanley Cup of Chowder
Boston fans have got to be over the moon heading into tonight's game, having survived elimination in Game 6.

A little reflection on the eve of Game 7 - Nucks Misconduct
Tension is high in B.C., but they're enjoying the ride, too.

Matching lines an intricate cat-and-mouse game - The Globe and Mail
A look at how the coaches have been approaching the matchup issue.

Who will be the 2nd player to lift Stanley Cup after Game 7? - Puck Daddy
Bodog has odds on J.R.'s parlor game.

Ranking: What’s the greatest Game 7 in Stanley Cup Final history? - Puck Daddy
Take a walk through the decades, with a post that includes some very cool video.

Game 7s stand alone - The Globe and Mail

It's a clean sheet of ice tonight in Vancouver, so toss out the history, writes Eric Duhatschek. 

How the Conn Smythe voting shakes down - The Globe and Mail
This one should be pretty obvious.

Down Goes Brown: A detailed look back at game seven, which due to a scheduling error had to be published twelve hours early
10 Tons of Awesome from DGB here, this might be my favorite DGB piece yet!

Defensemen at the Draft - The Copper & Blue
Just in case you need a reminder, look how far ahead of the pack Ryan Ellis is when you compare NHL Equivalency against the last five years of draft classes. Of all the "trade some D for a scorer" options, he's the last guy I'd move (outside of Suter & Weber, obviously).

Video: Sean Avery goes to Albany for gay marriage lobbying - Puck Daddy
Agitator on the ice, advocate off of it. 

One small step for the NHL - The Globe and Mail
Hockey's a dangerous sport. Can it be made less dangerous without making it, well, not hockey?

The Hockey News - Top 10: NHL buyout candidates
Good old J.P. Dumont shows up high on this list. The buyout period begins 48 hours after the Stanley Cup Final completes, and runs through June 30.

Talking about Islanders Third Jersey Ideas - Lighthouse Hockey
Can they possibly come up with something worse than the monstrosities from years past?

The Hockey News - The Hockey News apologizes to Minnesota Wild owners Craig Leipold and Phil Falcone
THN chows down on a plate of crow.

Wild owner Craig Leipold responds to Hockey News retraction |
...and Craig Leipold puts the boots to Ken Campbell (our old favorite) for serving up that story without even talking to the Wild organization.

And lastly, ahead of tonight's big game NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman joined CNBC's Darren Rovell to talk about how business is going: