Sure, the Nashville Predators are still in the middle of a 3-team race for the #4 spot in the West, but elsewhere in the NHL, where teams are already pretty certain about their first-round playoff opponent, fans and players alike seem ready for the puck drop, which is still 8 days away.
In particular, our morning hockey notes focus on Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, who already had a pretty good rivalry going even before Sunday's dust-up...
Just two home games remaining in the regular season, take the OTF Discount and save!
Nashville Predators News
A Year to Remember: 2011-2012 Predators Milestones - Predneck Nation
Miranda highlights some of the major achievements made by the Preds on and off the ice.
Smashville 24/7 - Versatility the name of Gaustad’s faceoff game
Look for Paul Gaustad to be deployed for loads of defensive-zone faceoffs in the playoffs, coming to the bench and switching for a sniper once the play moves up-ice. It's a relatively minor role, but when you dress 18 skaters per game, there's room for a few specialists.
Preds' Hornqvist and Fisher are in midst of their own game within the game | Nashville City Paper
David Boclair profiles the race to be Nashville's leading goal-scorer this season.
Nashville Predators want chemistry for forwards, rest for Rinne | The Tennessean
Wherein Barry Trotz about the top priority being Pekka's readiness for the post-season. Since the playoffs don't start until next Wednesday, do they really need to give him a game off?
Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey
Mike Milbury calls Sidney Crosby 'little goody two shoes' - The Globe and Mail
Joe Vitale, Marked Man: Penguins forward knocks both Danny Briere, Nick Grossmann out of lineup - Broad Street Hockey
The playoffs are a week away, but the blood is already boiling in Philly.
Penguins, Flyers on a collision course + 30 Thoughts | Hockey | CBC Sports
Elliotte gives a good reason why Detroit, Chicago and Nashville should all fight to avoid 6th place.
Canucks’ Daniel Sedin improving every day says brother Henrik - The Globe and Mail
The amazing thing about this update is that Henrik didn't actually speak to Daniel, he just closed his eyes, concentrated, and remotely connected with his twin's consciousness.
NHL: New York Islanders Cut Pat LaFontaine Out of the Picture - WSJ.com
Just when you thought things couldn't get more ridiculous on Long Island.
Down Goes Brown: The Montreal Canadiens' application form for the vacant GM job
Looking for a hockey job, are ya?
No shortage of great storylines in 2011-12 season - NHL.com
Dan Rosen sums up some of the major themes of the year. What, no Clockgate?
"Paralyzer" Matt Hendricks is Quietly Leading the Caps to the Playoffs - The Hockey Writers
Our last rec-league game went to a shootout, and one of my teammates tried Hendricks' signature move (unsuccessfully).
Don't Shut the Door on Brent Sutter | The Hockey Writers
How much of the blame in Calgary rests with the head coach?
Kyle Quincey Suspended 1 Game - Winging It In Motown
The Red Wings should be able to muddle through this.
Behind The Numbers: The Wild West - Who do you Fear? (part 1) - Nucks Misconduct
Something odd is going on with the poll, but the article is interesting.
Renowned children’s singer Raffi debuts new hockey song, ‘On Hockey Days’ | Puck Daddy
I think it might take a while for this one to stick. Of course, my kids are 10, 10 and 9 now, so my perspective's a bit different than it was several years ago!
5 Games That Could Have Made the Difference - Mile High Hockey
A Colorado fan cries over spilled milk.
Sharks Gameday: You Can't Play - Battle of California
I'm sorry, but I'm really digging Megalodon's game previews these days.
Recap: Lightning 4, Caps 2 - Japers' Rink
The Capitals blew a golden opportunity to control their playoff destiny. But hey, Steven Stamkos scored twice, and is just two away from 60.
Edmonton Oilers 0, L.A.Kings 2 – "Maybe they need Hollywood in the playoffs, I’m not sure" | Edmonton Journal
The Los Angeles Kings, on the other hand, took care of business, even though Edmonton coach Tom Renney wasn't happy about the officiating.