QUALIFIED MESS: It could be a Blackhawks snafu situation all over again. Late Wednesday night the NHLPA filed a grievance claiming the Nashville Predators failed to tender qualifying offers to its restricted free agents such as Sergei Kostitsyn (not Shea Weber, who was taken to arbitration). NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly had said earlier in the day that the NHL wasn't aware of any issues, but the official grievance came later. If the ruling goes in favor of the NHLPA, the players will all become unrestricted free agents. You might remember this happened to Chicago under Dale Tallon, forcing the team to re-sign its players to inflated prices, eventually helping to put the team in salary cap hell, which it is just recovering from.
KONTINENTAL DIVIDE: Last season, the Capitals had, I hesitate to call it a problem, but an issue with three goaltenders for two roster spots. Perhaps that problem is taking care of itself. While it's still not clear, it appears as though Semyon Varlamov is likely going to ply his trade in the KHL next season instead of with the Caps. That leaves Michal Neuvirth and Braden Holtby to tend the goals in the capital, if it happens that way (or to sign a veteran backup and leave Holtby to get more playing time in the AHL). But adding intrigue to the situation is Varlamov's agent throwing the Capitals team doctors under the bus a bit, saying they aren't as good as the doctors in Russia and it led to some injury troubles for Varlamov in D.C.
REALIGNMENT MAP: Are you the type of person that has a difficult time visualizing such things as realignment? Well here's a handy little map with one of the proposed plans. In this rendition -- not a very likely one if you ask me -- it keeps 15 teams in each conference, moving only Detroit to the East and leaving Columbus in the West. It does chop the league down to four divisions instead of six.
TRUE KEEPER OF THE CUP? A few of the Blues players recently attended a screening of the movie Zookeeper with the movie's star, Kevin James. While at the screening, James pointed out he knows what the Blues need to do if they want to win the Stanley Cup: have him film a movie in St. Louis. "I shot [a movie] in Chicago and the Blackhawks win the Stanley Cup. I shot in Boston recently, I just wrapped. Who wins? The Bruins win it," James said. "So St. Louis, you better bring me here to shoot my next movie. That's all I'm saying ... I'm just throwing that out there right now." Now St. Louis must weigh the pros vs. cons of winning a Stanley Cup or giving the world another Kevin James flick.
JAGR WATCH BEHIND THE SCENES: Think the big, seemingly never-ending stories that drag on are tough to read every day? Imagine the task of covering it. Penguins beat writer Rob Rossi of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review details the dizzying experience he has had keeping tabs on all things Jaromir Jagr, including an invasion of turtles and a superstar lost in transportation.