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Monday's p.m. notes: Minnesota trades for a banger, Vancouver locks up Bieksa

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As the NHL prepares for the opening of free agency season on July 1, we've seen a number of teams making maneuvers to prepare their rosters accordingly. Following a weekend of major trades, we have more activity today with the Vancouver Canucks signing the versatile Kevin Bieksa to a new contract, and the Minnesota Wild making a trade with Philadelphia.

Follow after the jump for the rest of your afternoon hockey notes, which includes lots of words (and some video) of the new head coach in Milwaukee, Kirk Muller...

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Nashville Predators News

Preds On The Glass: POTG Monday Morning Headlines, News, and Links
Buddy's been busier than a bumblebee, with 33 articles between the NHL Awards and Entry Draft last week!

Paul McCann - Two to Watch, Development Camp and Randoms
Paul looks ahead to the kids coming to town, and touches on issues from around the league.

Pekka Rinne Talks Growing Up Hockey in Finland " Michelle Kenneth's Hockey & Musings
Michelle shares a video interview that Winter Adams conducted with Peks in Las Vegas, but I'll warn you, some of the audio is hard to pick up as they're on the casino floor with a lot of background noise.

Smashville 24/7: Paul Fenton comments on Preds draftees
The Preds' assistant GM talks up the team's selections.

Smashville 24/7: Kirk Muller named head coach of Admirals
Ryan shares some of word from the Preds' press conference earlier today.

Welcome Coach Muller - Milwaukee Admirals
Aaron Sims says that Kirk Muller may be the biggest hockey name to ever come to the Ads. This is certainly a red-letter day for that organization.

Muller made the call - Predators Insider
Josh Cooper shares word that it was Kirk Muller who came a'calling for the Admirals job.

And while we're celebrating the hire of Kirk Muller, let's hear from the man himself, as interviewed by Tom Callahan:

Around the NHL

Mike Chen's Retirement Speech (AKA Ha, I Steal Your Thunder Mike Richards & Brent Burns) - Battle of California
Another one of the old-timers hangs up the keyboard.

Blue Jackets send diplomatic envoy to hold Jeff Carter’s hand - Puck Daddy
What an embarrassing spectacle for Columbus.

Carter Speaks (Puck-Rakers Blog)
Yeesh, was that so hard?

The 2011 Hall class: Who should get in now - Cross Checks Blog - ESPN
This year's Hockey Hall of Fame selection is particularly interesting, considering the number of guys who have had to wait for quite a while. Come on, Mark Howe!

The Juice is not loose in Vancouver - Houses of the Hockey
The Canucks lock up Kevin Bieksa for 5 years, $23 million.

Jackets Part Ways with 7 RFAs - The Cannon
Wow, 7 RFA's being let go outright in Columbus? That's a pretty high number compared to most teams.

Penguins coach says Malkin ready, Crosby progressing - The Globe and Mail
Encouraging words for Pittsburgh fans...

Wild Trade Acquire Darroll Powe from the Flyers - Hockey Wilderness
Minnesota picks up a hard-hitting plugger from Philadelphia.

Wolves Partner Up With Canucks | Admirals Roundtable
Strange bedfellows? Ryan checks with a Chicago Wolves blogger about their new affiliation with the Vancouver Canucks.

Coming Down the Pipe!: What About Me? A List of Undrafted Players from 2011
Here are a few names which were ranked pretty highly by NHL Central Scouting, but did't get picked.

Hockey Gear HQ launches new email newsletter | Hockey Gear HQ - news, reviews & deals
I've rolled out a new email newsletter at my side project, so you can keep up with the latest deals, discounts & developments in the world of hockey equipment, apparel & accessories.