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Thursday's notes: There is no joy in Smashville

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It's with a heavy heart that I share this morning's links with you.

Nashville Predators News

Wade Belak: More Than an Enforcer |
Eloquent words from Patten here.

Wade Belak's career - Photos
A photo slideshow that takes you from Wade's early days in Colorado up through his time with the Preds.

Wade Belak’s death shocks Predators - Nashville Predators Examiner
Jim Diamond covered what he called on Twitter "the worst press conference I have ever been at". I can't imagine the mood there.

Preds On The Glass: POTG Thursday Headlines, News, and Links: RIP Wade Belak Edition
Buddy shares his remembrances as well

Smashville 24/7: Wade Belak: Gone too soon
Ryan shares his conversation with Wade about his work as a volunteer firefighter, and the future that appeared ahead.

Hockey Night in Nashville: Remembering Wade Belak
Robby rounds up reaction from other members of the team.

Remembering Wade Belak, a true NHL fan favorite - Puck Daddy
Greg brings together reaction from around the league to Wade's passing.

Walking in the Shadow of the Funny Man Wade Belak 1976-2011 | The Hockey Writers
Jas shares memories of how kids, media and colleagues enjoyed being around Wade.

RIP Wade Belak | Pith in the Wind
J.R. remembers Wade as the "perfect ambassador for the team".

Wade Belak 1976-2011 - Pension Plan Puppets
They absolutely loved Belak up in Toronto, and are as stunned as we are down here.

Around the NHL

Winnipeg Jets snag groundbreaking regional TV deal with TSN | The Hockey Writers
Given 3 years of guaranteed sellouts, blistering merchandise sales, and this big TV deal, one might ask why the Jets have the lowest payroll in the league.

OHL institutes soft-cap pads for upcoming season - The Globe and Mail
A bold move in junior hockey, getting rid of the hard-shell shoulder & elbow pads which can act more as weapons than protection.

Blame for Savard's Condition Shouldn't Rest Solely on Cooke - PensBurgh
Laura beats up a straw man. Cooke's a dangerous player, period. We'll see whether or not he can truly change his game and still be an effective NHL player.

Weber, Chara and Lidstrom lead the way for D-men -
This fantasy hockey analyst has Shea Weber at #1 among blueliners.

Czech and American Clubs Lead the Way at World Junior Club Cup - Puck Worlds
Bruce provides an update on this junior tournament featuring an All-Star team from America, one team from Canada, and an assortment of European entries.

No $50K prize for 11-year-old who made 89-foot hockey shot - Puck Daddy
A bit of a bummer, obviously...

Why you should buy hockey sticks online | Hockey Gear HQ - reviews & deals on hockey equipment and apparel
No individual piece of hockey equipment has a stronger effect on a player's confidence than a stick, so before you gear up for the new season, do your research.