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Friday's notes: A sour sports summer in Nashville

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What is it about Nashville this summer that has the town's two biggest sports stars caught up in squabbles with their teams? First, Shea Weber and the Preds ended up in salary arbitration, and now Chris Johnson's holdout drama with the Titans is taking things to another level, as he still hasn't even shown up at training camp.

Was it the cicadas this summer or something? What's gotten into these guys?

That's just an odd thought that struck me while compiling this morning's hockey notes...

Best of Nashville 2011 - Nashville Scene
The voting has opened in the "Best of Nashville" competition, and I'd appreciate your support for Best Local Blog. Just enter On the Forecheck and click the vote button, although you have to enter votes in 20 different categories before you can submit your ballot. If you have the time, you can even come back and vote every day!

Nashville Predators News

The Next Legwand, Only More Cost Efficient | The Predatorial
Here's my question - is a "two-way player" who doesn't contribute hardly at all offensively really a two-way player? Spaling's an "effort" guy who we all love to watch out there, but I want to see further development (which is entirely possible, given his young age) before labeling him as more than a PK/checking specialist.

Tied to the Whippin’ Post | The Predatorial
Kudos to Jeremy for giving Kevin Klein some due. The guy took a big step forward last season, and was the team's top PK man.

Preds On The Glass: POTG Friday Headlines, News, and Links
Forget the Titans, Buddy's ready for some roller derby.

Are the Titans on the brink of losing the fans? - Nashville Scene
J.R. Lind looks at the Titans' relatively slow ticket sales and points to the Colorado Avalanche as a potential comparison should things turn worse. I enjoy a good dig at the Titans (heck, we're having a "Titans Day" at work today, and I'm wearing a Preds shirt), but they've got plenty of time to sell out their games.

Around the NHL

NHL 12 Overnight Update: The First Three Official Legends - Cluster Pucks
News is leaking out about the "Legends" to be included in EA Sports NHL 12 .

Leaf won't rush Lombardi - Toronto Sun
Toronto is getting more and more hopeful that Matthew Lombardi will play this season.

Boston Bruins’ Alternate Captain Tango | The Hockey Writers
Stepping into a leadership role on a defending champ can be a tough task, but the Bruins need to back-fill Mark Recchi's old spot.

Season Series Preview: St. Louis Blues | The Predatorial
While I doubt the Blues are playoff material yet, they should certainly make for a tougher opponent this season.

Blues chat: Any heat on Davis Payne this year? -
Are expectations rising in St. Louis? And if they don't make the playoffs, could their young coach walk the plank?

Zetterberg would like to see Nylander in the NHL - Hockey Expressen
After playing an exhibition game in Sweden (along with Patric Hornqvist, who scored twice), Henrik Zetterberg talks up Michael Nylander's ability to possibly make an NHL return.

The Strange Case of Keith Ballard | The Hockey Writers
Just last summer, Keith Ballard was seen as a big free agent pickup by Vancouver, but now he's seen as a boat anchor. Can something be done to reverse the trend there?

Welcome Raleigh Center Ice: Grand Opening August 13 - Canes Country
Those lucky dogs in North Carolina are getting a spiffy new ice rink, something SORELY needed around Nashville.

Obscure Moments in Senators History: Jani Hurme vs. Felix Potvin - Silver Seven
Good old Jani Hurme! Back when my wife & I were dating, we used to see him play for the IHL's Indianapolis Ice.

2012 WHL Draft Outlook | The Scouting Report
Here are some names to keep an eye on in anticipation of next summer's draft.

CHL Countdown: Who’s most likely to go to The Show? - Buzzing The Net
A review of five high draft picks who may bypass this year in junior hockey to go straight into the NHL. 

Bourne Blog: How to pass so your teammates won’t hate you - Puck Daddy
Celebrating the under-appreciated art of making, and receiving, a crisp pass.

Is it October yet? Part 2: Trent McCleary " Puck, that hurts!
More outstanding detail on what severe hockey injuries can be like, in this case a fractured larynx suffered by Trent McCleary when he took a shot to the throat.

Ohio State to play Michigan in hockey at Indians' Progressive Field -
Nice, another outdoor game coming up, this one on January 15.

And lastly, a little non-hockey related video for you  - I just saw this bit about an upcoming documentary on Ayrton Senna, who was far and away the greatest racer I've ever seen. I was a HUGE Ayrton Senna fan back in the 80's & early 90's before he died on the track, crashing while leading the San Marino Grand Prix. Watching this trailer just gave me chills: