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Wednesday afternoon notes: Cryin' over Ryan

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 24:  Ryan Suter #20 of the Nashville Predators skates against the Winnipeg Jets at Bridgestone Arena on September 24, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 24: Ryan Suter #20 of the Nashville Predators skates against the Winnipeg Jets at Bridgestone Arena on September 24, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
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The question of Ryan Suter's short- and long-term status with the Nashville Predators has been the topic of the day. When will he return to the lineup, after taking a hard hit against Philadelphia last Saturday? What are the prospects for signing a contract extension prior to this season's Trade Deadline? If the team has to let one of their star defesenmen go, which should it be?

Those issues kick off our afternoon hockey notes, but there's a whole lot more, including the story of the greatest hockey player the world has ever known, who is now facing his greatest challenge.

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Nashville Predators News

Suter says he won't be back Thursday vs. Jackets -
Dan Rosen adds a bit more detail to his tweets from earlier today.

Suter may be more important to Preds than Weber… | Section 303
Could trading Shea Weber help David Poile lock up Ryan Suter? If forced to choose between the two, I think I'd keep Suter (in part because Weber would likely bring more back in return, and cost more in salary long-term). Of course, the big issue is how badly each guy wants to be here, as opposed to playing somewhere else.

Pressing the Issue: The Ryan Suter Dilemma | The Predatorial
We've only had a few games to compare with, but Suter without Weber has looked better than Weber without Suter.

Nashville's Pekka Rinne may be great. But with goalies, - Sports Illustrated
In the upcoming edition of SI, Michael Farber breaks down the tough business of figuring out how to manage goaltending.

The Backpage: Awaiting the Goo Goo Goal | Nashville City Paper
JR takes hockey stats analysis into bold new territory.

The Mysterious Case Of Ryan Thang | Admirals Roundtable
Remember all the excitement when Ryan Thang got a short tour of duty with Nashville? Well, it doesn't sound like things have worked out since then.

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

SN Magazine: Mr. Hockey's toughest fight -
This is the article of the week... a profile of Gordie Howe carrying on without Mrs. Hockey, who passed away three years ago. Set aside some time as it's a bit long, but well worth the read. (found via Kukla's Korner).

NHL Attendance Up 2.1%; Blackhawks Filling United Center To 104.9% Capacity - SportsBusiness Journal
Well, at least the fans in Columbus are doing their part. Attendance at Blue Jackets games is up 7.8% this season. The Preds are up 4.1%.

Can we all agree that NHL regular-season champions banners are tremendously stupid? - Puck Daddy
No, division titles and Presidents Trophies are certainly worth a banner. This notion that the league playoff championship is the only thing that matters is one of my biggest pet peeves.

O’Brien back tonight; Yip put on waivers | All Things Avalanche — Colorado Avalanche news — The Denver Post
Former Pred Shane O`Brien is ready to play again...

Capitals doubtful Tom Poti will be able to play again - Capitals Insider - The Washington Post
A real bummer for the Washington defenseman, who has had trouble recovering from a groin injury.

Six reasons Maple Leafs vs. Red Wings 2013 Winter Classic is a stroke of genius - Puck Daddy
I've got to get back to Ann Arbor for this. Somehow, someway!

When the helpful "stick-push boost" goes wrong - Backhand Shelf
Funny stuff here, and something to keep an eye out for in the future.

Rookies facing the toughest assignments -
Craig Smith shows up as having a relatively tough workload here, while Edmonton's Ryan Nugent-Hopkins has been more protected.

Do we care about the hits statistic? If so, Matt Martin could be on a record pace - Puck Daddy
No we don't. Hits are recorded entirely differently from one arena to the next, and there's been no evidence to show that high or low levels have anything to do with winning hockey games. This stat is a waste of everyone's time.

Like or Dislike: Daniel Alfredsson and Zdeno Chara named all-star captains - Backhand Shelf

Devils Financial Situation - A Brief Look Back - In Lou We Trust
Stories have simmered for many months now about trouble in New Jersey.

Capitals prepare to face Rene Bourque -
Rene Bourque knocked Caps center Nicklas Backstrom out of the lineup with an elbow thrown when Bourque was still with Calgary. Tonight, he'll face the Caps as a Montreal Canadien and will likely face some on-ice justice.

Brophy on Reimer: The honeymoon is over -
How many times have we seen this story? Rookie goalie delights fans with surprising success, then comes back to earth as a sophomore. The pressure is raised because the team relies on him now, rather than looking at him like a $20 bill found in a pair of jeans you haven't worn in weeks.

Richard Bachman learning in several areas during wild rookie season - The Dallas Morning News
Let's keep an eye on Bachman next season, keeping Reimer in mind.