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The market for defensemen is on the rise: Wednesday afternoon notes

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March 2, 2012;Washington D.C., USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Dennis Wideman (6) passes the puck past New Jersey Devils right wing Petr Sykora (15) at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE
March 2, 2012;Washington D.C., USA; Washington Capitals defenseman Dennis Wideman (6) passes the puck past New Jersey Devils right wing Petr Sykora (15) at Verizon Center. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-US PRESSWIRE

A trade & sign transaction today has observers wondering just how high some of the contracts might climb when free agency opens on Sunday, as defenseman Dennis Wideman, set to become a UFA, instead signs for 5 years and over $26 million with the Calgary Flames today...

There are just a few days left! Go to People & Places -> Best Blog & cast your daily vote for OTF in the Toast of Music City 2012!

Nashville Predators News

Hockey Night in Nashville: Q&A: Development Camp Day 1
Robby caught up with Pontus Aberg, Colton Sissons and Vic Bartley after practice yesterday.

Fourth round pick Vainonen taken in CHL Import Draft by Kingston… | Section 303
The Preds' pick might come over and start learning the North American game as early as this fall.

Paul McCann - Pred Notes/PreSeason Sked/ Randoms & Season Finale - SlapShot Radio Tonight
Paul sets up tonight's final radio show of the season, and plans for a road trip to Washington.

PredGold: Taglines - #mysmashville
Here are a few entries in the Preds' grassroots marketing campaign.

The Suter situation updated - Predators Insider
If Ryan Suter takes a few days (or more) to decide on where he'll sign, the other quality UFA's might already be scooped up.

Five Hole: Cap can't concern top teams; Shanahan better than Sundin - NHL - Sporting News
While David Poile spoke to David Boclair recently about how he dare not approach too closely to the salary cap given the uncertainty over the next CBA, Philadelphia's Paul Holmgren sounds much more cavalier.

Predators' Pekka Rinne buys West Meade home for $1.3M - Nashville Business Journal
Pretty modest stuff, considering his new contract. You've gotta like that.

Around the Wide Wide World of Hockey

Black Dog Hates Skunks: On Kreuger and Some Thoughts On The Draft Schmaft
While a new head coach lift the Oilers back into the playoffs? Certainly not all by himself.

KuklasKorner : KK Hockey : Blues Extend The Contract Of Ken Hitchcock
No surprise here.

Nearing labor showdown, Bettman stays focused on NHL’s future - NHL - Sporting News
The Heavyweight Champ sounds like he's limbering up for a long bout.

NHLPA unveils 31-player negotiating committee - The Globe and Mail
Shea Weber is Nashville's lone representative on the NHLPA crew.

With shallow free agent pool, NHL GMs anticipate summer of trading | Puck Daddy
The wheeling & dealing might at least distract us from CBA talk.

The Dark Blue Jacket: Could Jack Johnson Be the Blue Jackets Rod Langway?
Um, sorry, not buying this one at all, even after reading the explanation.

Why was Brendan Shanahan snubbed for the Hockey Hall of Fame? | Puck Daddy
...because Mats Sundin was captain of the Maple Leafs, and the HHOF is in Toronto, obviously. Sundin deserves to be in there, but not ahead of Shanny.

Bure and Gallagher : Tom Benjamin's NHL Blog :: CanucksCorner.com
Keep stuff like this in mind whenever you hear a newspaper, TV or radio guy portray bloggers as irresponsible rumor-mongers.

The Quiet Room HHOF Edition: Pavel Bure | Backhand Shelf
Everything you always wanted to know about the knee injuries which ultimately felled Bure's career.

Searching For Hockey's Tuffy Rhodes | Overtime
What, no Linus Klasen?

Hockey coach trips teen players during post-game handshakes; RCMP investigating (VIDEO) - Buzzing The Net
BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO...