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Thursday afternoon notes: Who will play first? Mike Fisher, or Matthew Lombardi?

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As word comes out of Toronto that Matthew Lombardi's recovery from post-concussion symptoms is proceeding quickly, while Mike Fisher remains on the shelf for the Preds (skating on his own rather than practicing with the team as he recovers from summer shoulder surgery), Nashville fans are left with a bit of an awkward conundrum.

Obviously, we're all happy for Lombo's return to action - many had reasonably feared that his hockey career, and quality of life in general, would be permanently affected by that fateful fall in Chicago last October. The trade this summer with Toronto was seen as an unpleasant, yet necessary task for GM David Poile; the team simply couldn't afford the risk of carrying his $3.5 million salary for two more seasons, especially in light of the Mike Fisher pickup back in February. When managing risk, it's all about balancing costs, benefits, and probabilities, and managers often have to make decisions without having all the information they would like (such as the timing and certainty of Lombardi's recovery).

Now, then, we're left in the short term with what might be the worst outcome of them all for the Preds; a healthy, speedy Lombardi adding punch to the Toronto attack, while Fisher's shoulder issue lingers for an indeterminate period. Does this turn of events change your opinion of the trade (which was deemed "Thumbs Down" by about a 2-to-1 margin at the time)? Or is it still too early to judge?

Ponder those questions while perusing your afternoon hockey notes, which conclude with a video straight from Brendan Shanahan, handing down the first suspension in his new role as the NHL's dean of discipline...

Forechecker's Fantasy Hockey System ebook now available! - Hockey Gear HQ
Just in time for all of you eager Fantasy Hockey managers, I’ve compiled a free ebook to share my experience from years of playing fantasy sports, and the system I’ve developed over time that helps me draft a competitive team that is specifically tailored to the scoring categories used in that particular league. Until Opening Night, this is the one place you'll find my offensive projections for the Nashville Predators, too.

Nashville Predators News

The NHL’s Billy Beane: David Poile’s Wizardry Part One | The Predatorial
Jeremy celebrates David's deft defenseman deals.

Preds On The Glass: Scott Ford: One Goal - Playing in the NHL
It's good to have goals, but I have to say I doubt this one's going to come true.

Preds On The Glass: POTG Thursday Headlines, News, and Links: More Cuts Coming Soon?
I'd really not rather have the 15 minutes of fame that Buddy refers to at the end here.

Smashville 24/7: Determined Wilson finding pre-season success
Wait, so does the title here mean that Kyle Wilson isn't determined?

Three Minutes With: Tyler Sloan (part one)… | Section 303
Jeremy gets Tyler to scratch his Mogilny itch.

Geoffrion discusses sliced wrist - Predators Insider
You know, a pet peeve of mine is the way cuffs on hockey gloves have gotten so much smaller over the last 20 years. It sounds like Boomer will miss the rest of training camp, which likely assures he'll start the season in Milwaukee.

Nashville Predators dealing with early injuries - The Tennessean
Ah, September, or as it's known in the NHL, "groin pulling season".

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

Lombardi inches closer to return - The Globe and Mail
Matthew Lombardi took part in Leafs practice today, without contact. Here's an interesting excerpt: "Lombardi said he has made more progress since he was traded to Toronto in early July than he had the previous eight months while a member of the Nashville Predators".

Hurricanes Re-Sign GM Jim Rutherford To Four-Year Contract Extension - Canes Country
Another term in office for Carolina's longtime leader.

Sleektooned Blog Logos: Two Prequels and a Sequel - Battle of California
More cartoony goodness from Earl here.

Islanders Bits: Did you hear the one about making the Coliseum larger and taller? - Lighthouse Hockey
Oh boy... not this again.

Video: Finland’s hockey commercials put ours to shame - Puck Daddy
Oh, those wacky, wacky Finns!

NHL Adjusted Plus-Minus, Part 1 - Arctic Ice Hockey

Sticking with the Moneyball theme, here's a fresh take on measuring individual player results.

We conclude today with the first suspension decision handed down by NHL VP of Player Safety Brendan Shanahan, and regardless of the actual decision, you have to love the way this announcement has been put together. Fabulous, fabulous stuff: