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Thursday afternoon notes: SK74's RFA saga to drag into next week

Josh Cooper brings word this afternoon that the RFA Offer Sheet issue will linger on for a few more days:

According to an NHLPA spokesman, the arbitration case with the Predators will last two days, Friday and next Wednesday.    

Next Wednesday... yup, that's the day of the Skate of the Union at Bridgestone Arena. Will David Poile be able to attend, or will he have to be present at the hearing? At least since he got most of the RFA's wrapped up this afternoon, he's taken some of the anxiety out of the air, but Sergei Kostitsyn is perhaps the most critical of the bunch, a winger fit in reasonably well in a prominent role. Even if his goal-scoring in 2010-11 was fluky (which it was), he could be a 40-50 point guy if he plays on a major line all season, and the Predators are painfully short of such talent.

Follow after the jump, meanwhile, for an afternoon dose of hockey news, which includes a possible preview of the NHL's divisional realignment, as described by Craig Leipold in a radio interview...

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Nashville Predators News

Preds On The Glass: POTG Thursday Morning Headlines, News, and Links
Buddy's getting ready to go Xoom!

What these signings mean - Predators Insider
Josh wonders if today's signings might be an indication that the team was concerned about the outcome of the NHLPA grievance hearing. I tend to agree with that line of thinking...

New Head Coach Kirk Muller to Appear at Summerfest - Milwaukee Admirals
Milwaukee fans, this is your chance to meet Captain Coach Kirk.

My offseason scrapbook: Jordin Tootoo - Houses of the Hockey
Maybe he's got better cell coverage up there this summer, but Toots has been sharing lots of great photos from Rankin Inlet.

Around the NHL

Did Wild owner Craig Leipold spill the beans on new division alignment? | ProHockeyTalk
Could the Predators end up in a division made up of almost all Central Time Zone teams? That's a possibility, based on what Craig Leipold told a radio station. This isn't going to be decided upon for months yet, but at least the "Thrash to Smash" promotion could still go on for a few years.

Canucks sign defenceman Alexander Sulzer - Vancouver Canucks
Well, so much for that conditional 7th-round pick from Florida. Dang!

A Numbers Game -
Yet more evidence as to why hockey players are the most accessible and likable pro athletes around.

Ladies’ Hockey Clothing: Up to Size? " Michelle Kenneth's Hockey & Musings
Hey ladies... Michelle needs your input before contacting the NHL about how they handle their apparel offerings.

Habs Acquire Blunden from Blue Jackets for Russell | All Habs
Montreal and Columbus swap minor leaguers.

Wayne Simmonds finally signs contract with Flyers - Broad Street Hockey
Philly locks up the industrious winger brought over in the Mike Richards trade for two years, $3.5 million total.

Avs’ GM Greg Sherman: The buck stops here | All Things Avalanche
The Colorado GM speaks confidently, but folks are still agog over his trade for Semyon Varlamov.

Alex Semin, Eric Fehr, and Jason Chimera Potential Trade Targets for San Jose Sharks - Fear The Fin
Sharks fans covet some Caps, too.

Statistical analysis: The importance of Alexander Semin - Capitals Insider
A look at the mercurial Russian sniper from the Washington perspective.

Over-poll-ution: Imaginary Dilemmas, one offseason later! - Battle of California
Fans are antsy in Anaheim over the lack of offseason acquisitions there.

Hockey Guy: Blues moves bolster the front lines - STL Today
Optimism is building in St. Louis, as the Blues have added some effective forwards.

Dozens of Vancouver rioters turning themselves in to police - Puck Daddy
A good start, this.

What I Learned: The Dead Blog Challenge Wrap | Jerseys and Hockey Love
A good deep think on the nature of blogging, commenting, and cross-site discussions. 

Does QualComp matter? - Arctic Ice Hockey
I've opened a discussion over at what was formerly Behind the Net, to get some input from fellow stats geeks as to what actually correlates with an individual's performance.

NHL and KHL are closer - Eurosport
Feel free to run this through the Google Translator, but it doesn't mean much, and certainly won't play a role in the Radulov situation.