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Tuesday's notes: Heady Days In Smashville

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With an 11-2-0 record in their last 13 games, the Nashville Predators have made quite a charge of late, and are threatening to pass the Chicago Blackhawks in the standings heading into the All-Star break. My question for you this morning, Preds fans, is how this recent stretch of play should impact David Poile's strategy ahead of the trade deadline. Should he (1) make a Peter Forsberg-like "let's go for it" deal to try and position this team for a Stanley Cup run this spring, (2) stand pat and ride the horses he already has, trusting that they're good enough to make a deep push, or (3) keep the long view in mind and make sure he gets a return on hockey assets which could walk away for nothing this summer, like Ryan Suter?

The stakes are getting higher with each passing victory, making the situation even more complicated than it was before. Ponder that one while perusing your morning hockey news...

Nashville Predators News

As always, the morning after a game I encourage you to surf through the "More Predators Sites" box on the left-hand side of the main page here at OTF, as almost every hockey blog in town has a game recap for you.

TWC-MSG fight threatens Sabres’ ratings lead - SportsBusiness Journal
Finally, we get to see some ratings numbers for Preds games on FS-Tennessee, and let's call it for what it is: the numbers are up this season 50%, but off an incredibly small base. The average number of households viewing a game is a paltry 6,500, 28th in the NHL. That means last season's number was just north of 4,000. Yeesh.

Preds On The Glass: Goo-Goo Game Winner by Mike Fisher Leads Predators to 4-1 Win
Buddy's hopped up on GooGoo goodness after last night's game, and asks the hard questions of Mike Fisher, who did the deed.

Smashville 24/7: Bourque bringing energy to Preds lineup
How else do you think he got named OTF Hero of the Week earlier this month?

Francis Bouillon is a mentor to a young Nashville Predators squad - Nashville Predators Examiner
Wouldn't it be cool if The Cube was a Dementor, rather than just an older guy handing out advice?

Nashville Predators plan for All-Star break - The Tennessean
After today's game, the Preds can expect several days off (except for the guys going to Ottawa, of course).

Predators' defensive duo looks to take game to the All-Star stage | Nashville City Paper
With Suter back in action tonight, we can look forward to seeing him and Weber in Ottawa. Will they be on the same, or separate teams, however?

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

Tim Thomas, Noted Republican, Skips Bruins White House Visit With President Obama -
It appears that the Bruins' goalie decided to express his distaste for the government by skipping his team's visit with the President.

Tim Thomas Knows A Snub When He Dishes One | Jerseys and Hockey Love
James provides an insightful take on the Tim Thomas affair.

The Clarence Fund - St. Louis Game Time
A member of the St. Louis Game Time family could use your help. Please check this out.

Bristolmetrics: From Jan. 7-18, SportsCenter Devoted 13.5 Minutes to Hockey Total, And Other Fun Facts - Deadspin
Unsurprising stuff here. The NBA, which has a TV deal with ESPN, gets about 8 times the SportsCenter coverage than the NHL does.

Adjusting for Score Effects to Improve Our Predictions - Broad Street Hockey
Nifty analysis here on how to adjust team-level metrics for Score Effects.

Current Score-Adjusted Fenwick Standings - Broad Street Hockey
When that analysis gets applied to the team results, the Preds' possession numbers look just as poor as they did before. Does that bode ill for the second half?

On Frozen Blog › How Much Do NHL Players and Coaches Trust Stats to Judge Performance?
It's not surprising to hear players down on the utility of hockey stats.

Stars announce 4-year contract extension with Alex Goligoski - The Dallas Morning News
Dallas locks up one of their top defensemen for an average of $4.6 million per season.

The Philadelphia Flyers bet on the wrong horse in goal - Backhand Shelf
Right horse or wrong horse, there was little chance that Ilya Bryzgalov could live up to that contract Philadelphia gave him.

Florida Panthers’ AHL team may have world record for most dogs attending sporting event | Puck Daddy

Anaheim Ducks Casino Night: Blackjack, Booze & Boudreau - Anaheim Calling
Remember, the Predators Foundation has their big "GnashVegas" event coming up on February 15.

Down Goes Brown: An optimist's guide to the non-playoff teams
Nice - "Toronto Maple Leafs - May finally be able to get a win against the Bruins this year, now that they know that Tim Thomas will refuse to show up if you just crowd enough left wingers around him."

Canucks tested for alertness at practice - Vancouver Sun
The Canucks' mad scientists are at work again.

Rumour Blogging for Dummies | All Habs
Your handy guide for sounding like an expert during the NHL's silly season.

Alex Ovechkin Suspended Three Games - Japers' Rink
Ovie gets a sit-down, and my fantasy hockey team isn't happy.

Washington Capitals: Alex Ovechkin Buys $4.2 Million Home In McLean, Virginia
Take a virtual trip through Ovie's new pad, where he'll at least be able to hang out while not playing.

The Montreal Canadiens' Top Trade Bait Options before the deadline | The Hockey Writers
Does anyone catch your eye here?

Wild Whiskers Make Competitive Beard Growing a Follicle Folly | Playbook |
I wonder how Shea Weber might fare here.

Evander Kane vs. ‘the haters’ in Winnipeg, from restaurant controversy to maturity debate | Puck Daddy
A portion of the fan base in Winnipeg has it in for Evander Kane. Now there's a guy I wouldn't mind seeing on the Preds...

Game 48 Recap: Jackets Woes in Nashville Continue - The Cannon
Last night's game was a sad, familiar story for Blue Jackets fans.

NOW It's a Rivalry: Wings 3 - Blues 1 - Winging It In Motown
This was the matchup of the night, and Detroit kept their spot atop the Central Division.

Oilers Outplayed and Outshot By the Sharks, Somehow Get Two Points - The Copper & Blue
Don't complain, just take the two points however you can get them.

It's Still Two Points: Hurricanes 2, Jets 1 - Canes Country
Carolina is now 4-2-1 over their last seven games... might they have a push in the second half like New Jersey last season?

Toronto Maple Leafs: 3, New York Islanders: GUSTAVSSON'D - Pension Plan Puppets
Toronto got a strong goaltending effort from Jonas Gustavsson, and an opening goal from Matthew Lombardi.