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2012 NHL Playoffs bring excitement, anxiety: Monday's notes

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The next 48 hours seem like they're going to take forever to tick away, don't they? For hockey fans, the start of the Stanley Cup playoffs is like the NCAA basketball tournament on steroids, an all-you-can-eat buffet of intense, physical hockey played at the highest level.

Here in Nashville, of course, the stakes seem especially high this year; between the Predators' having earned home-ice advantage over Detroit, all the players brought in to load up for a Cup run, and the impending summer of free agency, this spring will be perhaps the most pressure-packed in team history...

Nashville Predators News

Hockey Night in Nashville: Nashville's time is now
It's odd to hang that phrase on such a young team, but given the free agency issues coming up...

Smashville 24/7 - Series preview: Predators vs. Red Wings

Ryan makes his call.

Smashville 24/7 - Early comebacks highlight regular season
Those big comebacks against Columbus did wonders for the Preds' confidence.

A Moment Five Years in the Making - Predlines
Dan sees the Preds as having come full circle from the last time they entered the playoffs as a team expected to go far, in 2007.

Inside Smashville " The morning after: Predators end season on mile high note
Assorted observations from Saturday's game.

Winging It In Motown Radio: Episode 21 - Winging It In Motown
Chris represents Smashville.

NHL Playoffs Round 1 Preview: Detroit Red Wings (5) vs. Nashille Predators (4) - Winging It In Motown
J.J. makes his call...

Helene St. James: Predators' size advantage poses big challenge for Red Wings | Detroit Free Press
Here's a look at how the Red Wings view the Preds.

David Climer: Can Barry Trotz push Preds to play their best? | The Tennessean
The paper's general sports columnist chimes in with a Preds article.

Nashville Predators feel more prepared for NHL playoffs | The Tennessean
Josh Cooper sums up the two sides.

Predators like geographic side of matchup with Detroit - Nashville Predators Examiner
If you plan on going deep into the playoffs, it's nice to have this first round against a relatively close opponent.

Preds, Suter enter playoffs with high expectations, uncertain future | Nashville City Paper
Cue up the Elvis...

X-Factor: Radulov's return adds to Preds' offense -
Rads certainly changes the equation.

Admirals Move Up To 5th In The Conference With Shootout Win | Admirals Roundtable
At long last, the Admirals have climbed back into a playoff spot, but 5th-10th are all separated by just one point.

if you want the scoop on what Barry Trotz is thinking these days, just listen to his press conference yesterday:

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

Playoff fever grips NHL fans everywhere - The Globe and Mail
Even in markets left out of the playoffs, this is a special time of year.

How to Watch West Coast Games and Not be a Zombie - St. Louis Game Time
Handy advice here for those of you wanting to keep an on the West Coast action as well.

NHL forecast dire in desert, but just wind in Chicago - The Boston Globe
The Chicago Blackhawks are losing money? Yeah, I don't believe it either.

Larry Brooks: Pittsburgh Penguins get away with murder -

"I Don't Know What the Future Holds" Jarome Iginla - Matchsticks and Gasoline
A change in rhetoric from Calgary's captain?

2012 FHS Playoff Pool - Fantasy Hockey Scouts
Our SB Nation fantasy hockey blog is running a free (yes, FREE) playoff pool with a host of fabulous prizes, so check it out...

Team Playoff Experience and the Rebuilt Florida Panthers - Litter Box Cats
An interesting look at teams' accumulated playoff experience.

Report: Serge Savard takes permanent post as Habs' VP - The Globe and Mail
At first thought to just be advising the Habs as they determine a new direction for the front office, Serge Savard now takes up residence.

Ranking the 2012 Stanley Cup Playoff first-round series: Which ones are must-see? | Puck Daddy
Folks around the league are going to keep on eye on Nashville/Detroit.

Malkin deserves Hart Trophy - Edmonton Journal
Jim Matheson puts Ryan Suter ahead of Shea Weber on his Norris Trophy ballot.

Most Goals Scored in Every NHL Arena | The Hockey Writers
And the leading goal-scorer in the history of Bridgestone Arena is...