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Wednesday afternoon notes: Shea's on center stage

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The news this morning about Shea Weber's agent using the word "stalemate" to describe the current state of negotiations has caught the hockey world's attention, as not only does it introduce a little drama around the biggest name on the free agent market at the moment, but it also leads to pivotal questions about the Predators' future. Sam kicked off the debate over which of the Big 3 should be traded if one had to be moved a few weeks ago, and The Predatorial got it rolling again yesterday based on the latest developments.

Follow after the jump as two major national blogs weigh in on the issue, with one of them recruiting a bunch of us locals to offer opinion. We've also got more RFA's signing contracts to avoid arbitration, the birth of a new Preds blog, and a whole lot more...

Nashville Predators News

Predators roundtable: Which one of Shea Weber, Ryan Suter and Pekka Rinne is most expendable? | ProHockeyTalk
Thanks to James for inviting myself along with a selection of other Preds bloggers to chime in on what is perhaps the hottest hypothetical question of the summer in Smashville.

What will happen to Nashville’s Big 3: Weber, Suter, Rinne? - Puck Daddy
Greg Wyshynski also jumps into the conversation.

Three Minutes With (Preds prospect edition): Vic Bartley… | Section 303
Bartley sounds excited for a second chance at making it in North America, and should be able to provide some leadership in Milwaukee.

Big Picture Sports: To All Who Come To This Happy Place: Welcome.
...and another Predators fan gets bit by the blogging bug. Give Zack a hearty hello.

Nashville’s options - Predators Insider
There may be cash available in the budget, but the free agency options are vanishing, writes Josh Cooper.

Around the NHL

George McPhee: ‘We like Semin because he can score goals’ - Capitals Insider
The Washington GM tries to shoot down trade rumors.

Teddy Purcell and the tale of the two-year deal - Raw Charge
The Lightning agreed to a new contract with the winger shortly before their arbitration hearing was set to start.

Korpikoski Signs 2 Year Deal Before Arbitration Hearing - Five For Howling
...and the Coyotes lock up Lauri Korpikoski to avoid arbitration as well, for $3.6 million across two seasons.

Wings Sign Ty Conklin - Winging It In Motown
After Chris Osgood's retirement, this was pretty much expected.

Jeff Carter, James Wisniewski and avoiding the misery of losing - Puck Daddy
Can the Blue Jackets' shiny new acquisitions turn around that team's on-ice fortunes?

Big signing bonuses becoming NHL's new norm - The Globe and Mail
Teams are finding an interesting way to load up near-term cash in some of their contracts.

Yakupov aims to be NHL's first Tatar superstar -
Cool stuff about the first NHL hopeful from the Republic of Tatarstan, who is playing Canadian junior for the Sarnia Sting.

Patrick Lalime Should Be Hall Of Fame Bound, Too -
Does Chris Osgood have a rival for the 2014 Hall of Fame class?

Know Your Enemy: Northwest Division Off-Season Analysis Part 1: FA/Trades. - Hockey Wilderness
Can anyone challenge Vancouver's dominance here in 2011-12?

How Will the Toronto Maple Leafs’ 2011-2012 Defence Shape Up? | The Hockey Writers
Interesting speculation about where Cody Franson will fit on the Toronto defense.

Ducks sign Mark Bell… yes that Mark Bell - Houses of the Hockey
This is a head-scratcher. Bell has been over in Switzerland the last two years.

Shannon on NHL: Darkness and light -
John Shannon riffs on Charles Dickens to recap the major stories from the summer so far.

WHL: NCAA rules a net loss for Laplante - Buzzing The Net
Wow, playing just one period in an exhibition junior game will apparently cost a goaltender at least a year of college hockey eligibility. 

NFL concussion lawsuit: Ottis Anderson, Rodney Hampton, Mark Duper among group suing league over concussions. -
While saying that the NFL has covered up concussion data for 90 years sounds a bit sensational, this legal approach could add considerably to the push to reduce head injuries in contact sports, including hockey.