At Tuesday night's game, I sat with a good friend, Mark Manning, who is a Tampa Bay Lightning season ticket holder and a recent cancer survivor. He was here a couple of days early and missed seeing his Lightning play and celebrating with the other cancer survivors.
When I first saw him on the plaza, he told me how happy he was to see me and it was a greeting like I had never felt before. He was happy to be alive to see me, which is different than the normal casual greeting. It was something that has stayed with me ever since.
He explained the ordeal that he had been through and the work that the doctors did in a nine hour surgery that he underwent almost a year ago to remove his cancerous thyroid gland. He truly is happy to be back out and about and enjoying every day.
Seeing Mark reminded me of the special meaning of tonight's celebration and made me happy to be alive and relatively healthy too. There are few people anywhere who have not been touched by cancer. I lost two parents to cancer and saw how they suffered in their final days.
Thanks to the NHL and the Nashville Predators for their support in finding a cure.
Here is all the information on Hockey Fights Cancer at tonight's game as well as our game preview from earlier today.
Other previews come from Ryan Porth, Amanda DiPaolo, Robby Stanley, Dirk Hoag, Preds.com, and The Tennessean. Smashville 24/7 also has the Morning Skate.
- News from Tampa can be found at Tampa Bay Online, TampaBay.com, Beasts of the Southeast, Lightning Strikes, Bolts Report, Raw Charge, Lightning Hockey Blog, Don't Trade Vinny, Bolts By The Bay, Bolt Prospects, and Hockey Bay Blog Wars.
- Here are the game notes from NHL Media Services.
Make the jump for all of today's news and links...
In Pred Nation...
Mark Willoughby has the returning home edition of The Ekholm Dairies.
Ryan Porth caught up with Brian McGrattan for a conversation at Smashville 24/7.
Jim Diamond reports on the day after Frankie Bouillon's return. He also chronicles NHL referee Mike Hasenfratz's battle back from heart surgery.
Bryan Mullen has updates from Wednesday's practice and a bit about Jordin Tootoo. He also has a great story about Andi Lambert's personal battle against cancer.
David Boclair looks at the pain associated with blocked shots.
Robby Stanley discusses the Suter family legacy.
Mike Organ warns that if the Preds' defense slips, Tampa will roll tonight.
The Nashville Post looks at the cost of a night out at Bridgestone Arena. They also claim that Nashville has the best NHL food.
Jeremy Gover has started a new feature, recapping the prior game with Tweets from Preds' fans.
Last night on SlapShot Radio Paul's guests were Craig Custance and Rick Pekham. Check out the podcast if you missed it.
Barry Trotz and Trace Adkins will be honored at the T.J. Martell event on Saturday at the Curb Center.
The Milwaukee Admirals have a big weekend on tap with home games on Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
Around the NHL...
The NHL is scheduled to make a major announcement from the CONSOL Energy Center at 2 p.m. CDT today. There is little secret that they will announce that the 2012 NHL Entry Draft will be in Pittsburgh on June 22 and 23. The press conference will be streamed live on Pittsburghpenguins.com and NHL.com.
So Montreal fired assistant coach Perry Pearn and then beat the Flyers 5-1. After a rough start, they celebrated like it was 1999.
Several junior eligible players are approaching the tenth game which is do or die time for staying in the NHL this season.
Edmonton's City Council is finally on board with a new arena.
Tyler Dellow exposes that Phoenix is not the only NHL team getting a shot in the arm from the NHL. He claims that Dallas has been propped up by the league in spite of public denials.
Matt Reitz looks at the sad reality that hockey is not a major American sport.
Lane Lambert and Kirk Muller make Darren Dreger's list of ten potential NHL coaches.
Justin Bourne looks at the different types of shoot out shooters.
We really enjoyed Puck Daddy's History Will Be Made video on Columbus winning a game. In my mind, Columbus may have surpassed Calgary as being the most messed up on-ice franchise in the NHL.
Adam Proteau has an early look at the top ten players of the month. When does November start?
The Flyers' "Legion of Doom" will return for the legends game at this year's Winter Classic.
The Fourth Period's Radio Show on NHL Home Ice is expanding to three hours on Saturday afternoons starting November 5.
Odds and Ends...
PETA is now suing Sea World for violation of the 13th amendment for keeping whales in slavery.
If you like orange tinted donuts, then check out Dunkin's Boston Scream or Krispy Kreme's "Screams."
I don't get out much it seems since I have never heard of Carrefour which was the first "big box" chain that started in 1963 and has been surpassed worldwide by Wal-Mart.
Women are more likely to be injured in an auto accident since most safety features are designed for men.
Buddy Oakes for PredsOnTheGlass