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Wednesday afternoon notes: Celebrating the yeoman

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If there is a single player who typifies Barry Trotz's preferred method of play, it's probably Jerred Smithson, the tireless PK specialist and faceoff man extraordinaire who has carved a steady, if low-profile career here in Nashville. A late-bloomer (he was 26 before playing his first full NHL season in 2005-6 with the Preds), Smithson has found his role and seems to thrive in it, soaking up PK time and taking pressure-packed defensive zone draws which then free up greater opportunity for the offensive players who end up getting more of the credit for the team's success.

Make no mistake, though, coaches and GM's love having a veteran like Smithson around.

Follow after the jump for your afternoon notes, which begins with a piece I wrote on Smithson for the Preds' website, and then heads off in just about every direction!

Nashville Predators News

Jerred Smithson Shoulders The Load - NashvillePredators.com
Thanks to the Preds for including me in their Guest Blogger series, in which I extol the virtues of the Preds' veteran plugger.

Jack Hillen – Ask and Ye Shall Receive | The Predatorial
Jeremy was glad to see the Preds pick up an experienced hand in Jack Hillen.

The bus is waiting. Will you be on board? | Section 303
There's a novel idea, a video trailer to get appetites whetted for 303's road trip coming up in October.

What Does The Shea Weber Deal Mean For Nashville? | The Hockey Writers
Will the captain's intransigence this summer motivate the team to start spending more in the pursuit of a Cup? Personally, I don't buy that story line, but I know it's popular in many circles.

Nashville buys out Brett Lebda, former Stanley Cup champion - Puck Daddy
Greg chronicles Brett Lebda's journey from blueline to punchline.

Weber, Poile enter couples therapy in hopes of avoiding messy divorce | Intent to Blow
It's good when a hockey article can work in the word "canoodling".

Around the NHL

Rick Reilly vs. The Yahoo Sports Bloggers: A Tale of the Tape : Outkick The Coverage
Hats off to Clay Travis for this look at how ESPN and Yahoo! have taken divergent strategies in their online sports coverage, and how Yahoo! is winning by a landslide. Just look at hockey, where Puck Daddy has assumed a commanding position atop the internet hockey scene, while ESPN is largely an afterthought, going with conventional reports & columns by Pierre LeBrun and Scott Burnside.

Four NHL rule changes that would revolutionize power plays - Puck Daddy
I'm not a big fan of this... if you want to increase scoring look at more action in 5-on-5, not power plays.

Brian Burke’s MLA Interview " Toronto Maple Leafs Hot Stove
Alec shares an excerpt from an interview that will be part of the 2011 Maple Leafs Annual, which I'll have an article in once again.

Brophy on NHL: Still play in Mr. Gray - sportsnet.ca
Despite all the focus on hockey's younger stars, there are still some golden oldies out there leading their teams.

NHL jerseys re-imagined as soccer kits? Yes, please - Puck Daddy
Very, very cool stuff here... NHL marketing, get on this, stat!

Colgate men's hockey team to skate in Italy - The Observer-Dispatch, Utica, New York
A pretty good deal for a college hockey team, making a trip to play teams in Switzerland and Italy.

Cranky coach and a bucket of pucks? Not these days - The Province
Hockey training sure has changed over the last several years, particularly for youth players.