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Coyotes & Devils face increasingly hostile mayors: Wednesday afternoon notes

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Hosting an NHL team in your city is supposed to be a source of civic pride, a rallying point for fans to gather around and for businesses to associate themselves with. Especially with the Stanley Cup playoffs approaching, a hockey team can set a city buzzing with excitement and anticipation.

But for the Phoenix Coyotes and New Jersey Devils, their local governments are growing frustrated over two long-simmering (but quite different) financial matters which remain unresolved...

Nashville Predators News

Eric Shuff's Tumblr - I made some Preds wallpapers for the upcoming...
Quite the spiffy desktop here, which I gather you can put on a PC or your phone.

Nashville Junior Predators create their own "Miracle" - USA Hockey
Here's a nice background story on the Junior Predators team which just won the U12 Tier II 1A National Championship.

Paul McCann - And Then There Were Two... to go.
Paul notes that the Preds are now eligible to receive that fourth-round pick from Toronto next summer, now that Matthew Lombardi has played 60 games.

Future Predators Chasing Championships - Predlines
Preds draftees can still win a Memorial Cup or NCAA title.

Inside Smashville " Anything, but Wild – Predators beat Minnesota 2-1 in shootout
Seth breaks down what went right last night.

Nashville Predators' Nick Spaling toughens line | The Tennessean
Offensive contributions from Spaling are always welcomed, but with 2 points in his last 18 games, I do wonder if he's the weak link in the whole "three scoring lines" approach.

Nashville Predators expect Pekka Rinne back on Thursday - The Tennessean
John Glennon shares a number of practice updates.

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

Glendale at War with the NHL | The Hockey Writers
It's getting real ugly in Phoenix...

Mayor rips Devils owner after ruling in rent spat - The Globe and Mail
They aren't happy in Newark, either, as the mayor launches into a tirade against Devils ownership.

The Quiet Room Pre-Playoffs Update: Chicago and Vancouver | Backhand Shelf
Get the scoop on exactly how banged up the Blackhawks and Canucks are these days.

I Know The Pieces Fit - Second City Hockey
It looks like Jonathan Toews is about to return, for a Blackhawks which has played well (11-2-3 in their last 16).

Parity |
Tyler examines to what extent the gap between the top and bottom of the league has narrowed under the modern CBA.

Spector on Canada: Changing of the guard -
When you start thinking about Team Canada for 2014, Shea Weber jumps right to the top of that blueline.

It’s not just a cliche – you have to take the hit to make the play | Backhand Shelf
At this time of year, focusing on winning the battle for the puck has to be paramount.

Tampa Bay Lightning GM Steve Yzerman on coach Guy Boucher: "He's not going anywhere" - Tampa Bay Times
Stevie Wonder seems to quash any talk of Boucher going to Montreal.

Kennedy: Reasons for optimism from non-playoff teams - The Hockey News
A bit of silver lining for the downtrodden.

Off-Day Banter: Quincey, Shanahan, and Bad Judgement - Predlines
Dan questions whether Brendan Shanahan should issue a suspension before the extent of an injury resulting from a hit is known.

How to shift momentum: Just score - Capitals Insider - The Washington Post
Fun stuff here, dissecting a common hockey saying.

The "Anatomy" of a Good Hitter - Arctic Ice Hockey
Trying to parse some meaning out of the NHL's hit statistics is a dicey endeavor.

Lastly, this video has been making the rounds all afternoon, it's an epic piece of work chronicling the Toronto Maple Leafs' turbulent season - it's well worth the 14 minutes (if only to realize how lucky we are here)...