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Thursday afternoon notes: Hockey's past, present & future

As the Nashville Predators prepare for a divisional battle in Columbus tonight, our afternoon hockey notes touch on all stages of the game - from the foundation of backyard rinks, to an unusual technique being applied in the college game, all the way up through the pros and how their life turns out once they've hung up the skates.

Oh, and I know I missed posting a game preview this morning, so I covered it on Twitter:

My apologies for no game preview today at OTF. Columbus stinks & they're crippled by injuries. 6 p.m. start on FS-TN. There, you're all set!

Now that we've got that out of the way... on to your hockey news:

Where to buy Nashville Predators jerseys online | Hockey Gear HQ
Here is an assortment of recommended online retailers, to help you find the best price, widest variety, and high-quality service for a new Nashville Predators jersey.

Nashville Predators News

What To Do With Ryan Suter? | Hockey Independent
David wants to see the Predators go all-in for a playoff push this season, and worry about Ryan Suter's situation after the season is over. The big risk there is that you'll do well to get a 3rd-round draft pick for Suter's rights at that point, as opposed to much, much more if a deal is done now.

Lambert passing on wisdom - The Sault Star - Ontario, CA
It sounds like former Predator Denny Lambert is ready to move on to a post-hockey career of firefighting or police work, after having been let go as Soo Greyhounds coach a year ago.

Steadying influence of Trotz remains foundation for Predators' success -
I do give Trotz lots of credit for having this team in the mix again, despite the youth movement undertaken over the summer.

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

PHOTO: This Is What 'Feeling Better' Looks Like For Taylor Hall -

2012 Winter Classic cash split troubles NHL alumni -
Yeah, the NHL needs to do something about this. There's no way the alumni who are invited to play at the Winter Classic should have to pay their own way.

Western Michigan University scores with "double one-timer" volleyball formation - Backhand Shelf
I LOVE THIS. I think we saw it once before this season from WMU, but can't recall when.

How are the 2011 off-season’s biggest acquisitions performing? - Backhand Shelf
There's a real mixed bag here, some big successes (Jagr, Campbell) and some stinkers (Bryzgalov, Heatley).

For Your Consideration: 10 Players Not Generating MVP Buzz That Should Be | The Hockey Writers
Guess which Pred shows up here.

Sab(re)metrics: Is Thomas Vanek Overpaid? - Die By The Blade
Bonus points for pretty graphs here.

Video: Chris Pronger's wife Lauren speaks about his concussion - Broad Street Hockey
Whether you like Chris Pronger as a player or not, it sucks to see guys suffering from concussions like this.

Build a Backyard Hockey Rink :
Man, I wish we could do this here!

Advice to the Washington Capitals: Shoot the puck -
Since Dale Hunter took over, the Capitals' Shots For totals have gone into the tank.

Daily Debate: Devils surging, Pens surviving - Cross Checks Blog - ESPN
Scott Burnside and Pierre LeBrun sum up the situation in the Eastern Conference.

And lastly, a pretty incredible piece of work as found at Canucks Hockey Blog: