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Smashville counting down to Game One faceoff: Wednesday afternoon notes

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With just under three hours until the opening faceoff between the Predators and Red Wings, we've got a dose of afternoon hockey notes to hold you over until game time.

After the jump, we've got young players looking forward to their first playoff action, a look at how the sports gambling business is taking an interest in the Stanley Cup playoffs, and footage from Columbus as their hopes got crushed once again...

Nashville Predators News

Smashville 24/7 - Rookies set to make playoff debuts tonight; Gill update
Keep an eye on the kids.

Beyond Thunder 'Drome: Better Dead Than Red | Pith in the Wind
J.R. brings the funny while introducing tonight's villains to Nashville's newspaper-reading hipsters.

Bigger TV audience boosts betting on Preds, NHL playoffs - Nashville Business Journal
Hockey fans aren't the only ones interested in NBC Sports' increased coverage of the Stanley Cup playoffs - sports books are seeing an increase in business, too.

The View from 111: Western Conference Playoffs and Predictions
Mark makes his calls in the West.

Nashville Predators vs. Detroit Red Wings: Puck Daddy’s NHL 2012 Stanley Cup Playoff Preview | Puck Daddy
The zombie theme is pretty funny.

Predators Gameday: Make your own Rinne mask | Nashville City Paper
Before heading down to Bridgestone, you might want to print out your Pekka Rinne replica...

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

Puck Daddy’s 2012 Stanley Cup Playoff Staff Prognostications | Puck Daddy
A couple prognosticators even have the Preds in the Cup Final.

The complete Backhand Shelf staff playoff prediction list | Backhand Shelf
Lots more people picking the Preds.

All About The Stanley Cup | The Hockey Writers
For those of you who love infographics, this is a doozy.

Your Announcers and Open Thread for Night One of the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoffs " Puck The Media
Check out which crews are assigned to which series here.

Glendale selects Greg Jamison group as potential Phoenix Coyotes ownership saviors | Puck Daddy
Will this finally get a deal done? I'll believe it when I see it.

Wild owner Craig Leipold Q&A | StarTribune.com
The Wild have yet to make the playoffs during a full season of Leipold's ownership, right?

Feaster Comes Clean - Is Change Coming? Is Kipper an Energy Vampire? - Matchsticks and Gasoline
Will Calgary finally launch the rebuild which some have long been calling for?

Bruins' Horton out for playoffs - The Globe and Mail
Nathan Horton has been on the shelf for about three months, and won't return this spring.

Top 10 Greatest Stanley Cup Playoff Upsets (Picks 1-5) | The Hockey Writers
Do you believe in miracles?

Linus Omark Tweets Trade Request - The Copper & Blue

The long tale of discontent between the Edmonton Oilers and skill forward Linus Omark appears to be coming to an end.

Will Tampa Bay Lightning coach Guy Boucher lead Canada at the World Championship? - Lightning Strikes | Tampa Bay Times
Steven Stamkos isn't going, but his head coach might.

Playoffs celebrated with Cup replica in Times Square - NHL.com
Check out the gigantic replica installed in New York today.

17 players named to men's team - USA Hockey
Team USA is starting to come together for the upcoming IIHF World Championships in May.

Celebrate terrible Blue Jackets season through 8-bit video game tribute (VIDEO) | Puck Daddy
This is pretty freaking wonderful.

Lastly, watch as Columbus fans react to seeing Edmonton win last night's draft lottery ahead of the Blue Jackets. Brutal stuff...