While the US and Canada as basking in the excitement of the NHL playoffs, much of the world is preparing for the opening puck drop of the IIHF World Championship at Veltins Arena in Gelsenkirchen, Germany today at 1:15 CDT.
The game will feature Team USA playing Germany in a sold out game at the home of the Schalke 04 football (soccer) team. The expected crowd of 76.152 will eclipse the previous record for a hockey game of 74,554 spectators that was in 2001 at a game between Michigan State and Michigan.
It will also break the previous World Championship attendance record of 55,000 that was in 1957 in Moscow.
Several Predators are participating including Pekka Rinne for Finland, Marcel Goc, Alexander Sulzer and Robert Dietrich for Germany, and Denis Grebeshkov for Russia. Ex-Preds Chris Mason and Tomas Vokoun are also participating.
The Preliminary round will run through May 13 and then the Qualification round will be from May 14 to 18. The quarterfinals will be May 20 and the semifinals will be on May 22. Here is the full schedule. Many of the games will be carried on Universal Sports in the US and can also be found on the internet.
The Gold medal game will be on Sunday, May 23.
Last Night's Playoff Action...
There is no doubt who was the player of the night last evening with Johan Franzen having four goals and two assists in Detroit's 7-1 blistering of San Jose. Facing elimination, the Wings jumped out with 5 goals in the first period with Franzen originally being credited with four of them. After one was changed to an assists, he only had a natural hat trick remaining and then picked up another goal in the final period. The Wings are still down 3-1 but at least showed signs of life.
The other game was more competitive with Montreal scoring two goals in the third to beat Pittsburgh 3-2 and tie the series 2-2.
In the early game tonight at 6:00 CDT on Versus, Boston will try to close out Philadelphia in the series where they hold a 3-0 lead.
In the West coast game, Vancouver will try to salvage a win on home ice as they play the Blackhawks at 8:30 CDT, also on Versus. Chicago leads the series 2-1.
In Pred Nation...
David Poile was one of the three finalists for GM of the Year. Here is our story from yesterday. David Boclair discusses Poile's nomination at The City Paper
Jim Diamond looks at the crazy world of being an NHL scout.
The 303:30 Season in review (Part 1) with Tom Calahan is now up at the site.
Pekka Rinne is expected to carry the load in net for Team Finland at the World Championships.
Pete Weber breaks down the Western Conference playoffs on XM 204's Hockey This Morning.
Preds101 looks at too many men on the ice.
Mark Willoughby's weekly My View is a tribute to all the folks of Nashville and elsewhere that have pitched in and helped the flood victims.
Around the NHL...
In the never ending saga in Phoenix, ESPN reports that the Jerry Reinsdorf deal that seemed to be a lock a few days ago is dead. The City of Glendale now returns to negotiations with Ice Edge Holdings to try to land a buyer.
In the neat story of a quest for hockey knowledge, Chris Hayes at Freddy Charles is Looking for a Hero. If you want to find out more about Chris and his year long goal of becoming fully educated in hockey, you can hear his story on POTG Radio on Monday.
Ryan Porth has the first version of his mock draft up at the RLD.
The finalist for the Ted Lindsey Award were announced. Crosby, Ovechkin and Sedin will face off in Las Vegas. It will be good to see Sidney attend this year after being noticeably absent last year.
With two teams down 3-0 in this round, Lighthouse Hockey looks at the last 3-0 comeback 35 years ago when the Islanders beat the Pens in game seven.
Puck Daddy discusses big Buff's third goal on Wednesday and whether it should have been goalie interference. At the time, I was amazed that it wasn't since Luongo never really had a shot at stopping it due to his retreat into the net.
Individual market ratings are out for the quarterfinals at Puck The Media. Nashville was way up in spite of the preemptions.
Matt Reitz tells the truth about the Eastern Conference. I'm sure this will rankle some feathers.
Brian Duff has an interesting post about teams holding on to players too long and getting strangled by their contracts.
Sports Illustrated has a poll of the five toughest places to play in the NHL. The Bridge is not included.
You can watch and vote on the best five fights of the 2009-2010 season at Freddy Charles. This is an interesting site in it's infancy that we will keep an eye on. Oddly enough, it was the Pred's loss in game five that inspired the origin.
Russia has trimmed it's roster to 25 at the World Championships. On paper they appear to be a top contender but the Russians did not fare well at the Olympics.
Our friends at Illegal Curve are now Ustreaming their weekly radio show. POTG Radio could not do that without a major renovation to the studio.
Here's some awards that you won't see in Las Vegas courtesy of The Program.
The Business of Sports Awards are posted.
A large amount of money ($1.7 Million) was collected via a WSMV telethon last night and several Country Music stars stepped up with sizable donations including Vince Gill and Taylor Swift. Thanks to all that contributed.
The We Are Nashville post just keeps on going. It was read by Rush Limbaugh on his show on Thursday. Here is a nice video with exurbs from the 303 article.
Kate O'Neill has a "Heart to Heart with America" over the catastrophe in Middle Tennessee. HotAir also has a post about the lack of coverage by the national media.
Odds and Ends...
Dearly Beloved's new EP get's rave reviews from Chart Attack. It is indeed a good one.
It's hard to believe there are only three Space Shuttle flights left. As this post suggests, if you've never seen a shuttle launch you should make plans to do so.
The Phoenix Suns wore special "Los Suns" jerseys on Wednesday to protest the state's new immigration bill and it has raised the ire of their fans. Maybe the Coyotes will pick up a few fans from the disgruntled bunch.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass.