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Friday afternoon notes: Shea Weber and the Deafening Silence

OK folks, we're officially entering crunch time in the Shea Weber/Nashville Predators negotiations, as the scheduled arbitration hearing looms ahead on Tuesday. While the lack of tangible news has the general public grasping for answers, the parties involved are going to start feeling the pressure to get the deal done, and quite soon.

As detailed recently, one interesting milestone comes on Sunday, as the two sides are supposed to exchange the written briefs that will serve as the starting point for the hearing. At this point in the proceedings there shouldn't be any surprises, but you'd have to think that once those briefs are exchanged and each side is seeing the figure the other is aiming for, compromise will become that much more practical.

At this point, all us fans can do is wait, and peruse the afternoon hockey news, which includes two NHL players heading off to Russia...

Nashville Predators News

Paul McCann - Who's Left? Who Fits?
Pete Weber stepping into a gap left open due to injury? Man, all the Preds are gamers that way...

Smashville 24/7: Will Weber sign a long-term deal?
That's the question of the day week summer...

Business briefs: Preds Power Lunch set; Chamber networking - The Daily News Journal
A "power lunch" is set for Murfreesboro on August 24, in which Preds executive Chris Parker will share insights on marketing.

Around the NHL

Boston Bruins: Summer with Stanley 2011 blog - Summer With Stanley
Former Predator Rich Peverley had his day with the Stanley Cup, bringing it home to Guelph, Ontario.

Is The End Near For Marc Savard? | The Hockey Writers
Troubling news for the Boston center, who is still dealing with post-concussion symptoms.

Hradek: Kings GM confident about Doughty deal - EJ Hradek's Analysis
For both Drew Doughty and Shea Weber, comparisons to Dion Phaneuf's 6-year, $39 million contract are obvious.

In radio interview, Mike Modano sounds like retirement is coming - Puck Daddy
Not very surprising news, this.

Looking ahead to 2011-12: Ranking the NHL’s top goaltenders - Puck Daddy
It's Tim Thomas, then Pekka Rinne, then a bunch of other guys...

Report: Kovalev to sign two-year deal with Atlant of KHL - Houses of the Hockey
Alexei Kovalev heads back over the Atlantic.

Off to the KHL! - Life of a Hockey Widow
So much for the thought of Brent Sopel being a veteran stopgap on the Nashville blueline (I wasn't a big fan of the notion, anyway).

Edmonton Oilers' Nikolai Khabibulin won't serve prison time, reports say - ESPN
Now it sounds like the Bulin Wall will only have to participate in a work release program, allowing him to go out and about during the day, and report to prison at night.