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Tuesday's notes: The Stretch Drive Is Upon Us

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Now that the silly season which is the NHL Trade Deadline is behind us, the time has come for teams and fans to focus on the road ahead, which leads the Stanley Cup playoffs. The Predators have added some nice pieces - some size, some nastiness, a bit of talent. Will it be enough to help lift the team to new heights, like a Central Division title, or Conference Finals appearance in the post-season?

Those and many more questions are ripe for investigation over the next several weeks, but for now, jump in to your (belated) hockey notes...

Nashville Predators News

Why the Preds did NOT Overpay for Gaustad and Other Deadline Musings | The Predatorial
Of course the Predators overpaid for Gaustad, but the difficulty is that the Trade Deadline is not a fluid market, where there's another just-as-good option available at a more reasonable price. Given the impetus to win now (either to impress Suter/Weber, or take advantage while they're still here), it was still a good move.

PredneckNation | The home for everything Nashville Predators
It's a good day when another Preds website launches, and yesterday Crazy Charlie Saunier announced the debut of this on the Thom Abraham Show, make sure to drop by and check it out, as it aims to rally fans from around the Southeast to the Predators' cause.

New Predators help present, but future still cloudy for star defensemen - Nashville Predators Examiner
Forget about what all us pundits think of yesterday's deals, how will Ryan Suter & Shea Weber respond?

Trades excite Predators, but focus is on wins - The Tennessean
Mike Organ's review of yesterday's trades begins with an excitable Willy.

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

Habs legend Beliveau in hospital after suffering a stroke - TSN
The 80-year-old Jean Beliveau is a legendary figure not just in Montreal but for the hockey world at large, and we wish him a speedy recovery.

Predators, Canucks show the most improvement –
Kevin Allen puts the Preds at the top of the Trade Deadline heap. I can't argue with that.

The real trade tracker: Twitter breakdowns by traded player | Backhand Shelf
A real perty infographic on how the trade deadline played out on Twitter, with Nashville's two moves among the most-talked about.

BlueJackets Xtra | Columbus Dispatch
Rick Nash provides his spin on his trade request. Asking to leave, so you can be part of the Blue Jackets' rebuild (by bringing them assets in return)? That's rich.

Scott Howson tosses Rick Nash under the C-bus, reveals captain’s trade demand | Puck Daddy
Could this get any uglier?

Down Goes Brown: Beyond the trade deadline: Other dates to look forward to this season
"March 8 – Jeff Carter returns to Columbus for the first time as a member for the Los Angeles Kings and is greeted with a lengthy ceremony, if Rick Nash following him around and sobbing "Please take me with you!" all game long can really be considered a ceremony."

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The next big thing is coming...

Costas Tonight, Studio Edition Debuts Thursday with Gary Bettman " Puck The Media
The new Bob Costas show launches with a look at the NHL.

How much did Dale Tallon improve the Florida Panthers? - Arctic Ice Hockey
Gabe poo-poo's the sunny optimism in Miami.

Same Old Blues: score on PP, outskate, outmuscle, battle way to road win over Calgary Flames - St. Louis Game Time
St. Louis keeps rolling along, as they've now caught Detroit for the Central Division lead.

Oilers Return To Winnipeg, Win 5-3 - The Copper & Blue
Winnipeg's run for the playoffs took a wrong turn, with a misstep at home vs. Edmonton.

Avs Win 4th in a ROW, Defeat Ducks 4-1 - Mile High Hockey
Finally, someone slowed down the Ducks.

Rangers Vs. Devils: Rangers Slip Ahead Of Devils In Hard Fought Game - Blueshirt Banter
Henrik Lundqvist notched shutout #8 for the Rangers.

And lastly... here's a better look at what Vern Fiddler did the other day to get Vancouver head coach Alain Vignault all cracked up: