Originally posted on Goon's World  |  Last updated 7/24/12
18, Nathan Horton, Bruins RW Washington Capitals at Boston Bruins, December 18, 2010 (Photo credit: Wikipedia) In the middle of the dog day of summer when we should be thinking about which watering whole we should be cooling ourselves off in - there are quite a few stories - on this date 24 July, 2012... It's hot summer days like this that makes hockey fans long for the hockey season.

First off the Boston Bruins got some really good news when they got two of their top players back from concussions. Adam McQuaid and Nathan Horton have been cleared to resume contact.
Douglas Flynn, NESN.COM --- There was also positive news to report for the players Julien will have at his disposal in the coming season, with general manager Peter Chiarelli offering optimistic updates on all of the Bruins recovering from injuries suffered last season.

The biggest of those is top-line forward Nathan Horton, who suffered his second concussion in less than a year on a hit from Philadelphia's Tom Sestito on Jan. 22. Horton did not play again last season, but Chiarelli confirmed that the rugged winger should be ready to go when the Bruins get back on the ice.

"Nathan Horton has been cleared for contact," Chiarelli said. "And by all accounts from our medical staff will be ready to play when it's time to play." Horton's first season in Boston ended in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final when he suffered a concussion on Aaron Rome's late hit.

After a slow start, he had returned strong from that injury with 17-15-32 totals in just 46 games last year, putting him on a 30-goal pace before suffering his second concussion in Philadelphia. Horton's absence had a ripple effect throughout the lineup and contributed to Boston's struggles to score at times, most notably in the first-round loss to Washington in the playoffs.

His return to the lineup, and his return to his pre-injury form, will be a key for the Bruins in the upcoming season.

The Bruins will also benefit from the return of defenseman Adam McQuaid, who has been "completely cleared" to return from his season-ending concussion, according to Chiarelli. The Bruins GM also noted that the oblique injury that hampered center Patrice Bergeron in the postseason will not be an issue going forward. "
In case we need to have our memory refreshed this is the hit that took out Nathan Horton. Getting Horton back is like a free agent pickup.

In one of the more shocking hockey news stories of the day - the Nashville Predators matched the Philadelphia Flyers offer sheet. It was nice to see the Predators step up and match the Flyers offer sheet. It's kind of a thumb in the eyes for the Flyers.
Nashville, Tenn. (July 24, 2012) – In the most important hockey transaction in franchise history, Nashville Predators Chairman Tom Cigarran, President of Hockey Operations/General Manager David Poile and CEO Jeff Cogen announced today that the team has matched the 14-year, $110 million offer sheet between the Philadelphia Flyers and defenseman Shea Weber, insuring that the Predators' captain will remain with the franchise for the next 14 years. The decision to enter into the largest contract in franchise history was made by all parts of the organization, including ownership, hockey operations and business operations.

As the organization analyzed the overall situation and worked toward a conclusion, the decision boiled down to three questions:

- Was Shea Weber the individual that this franchise wanted to lead our team, a team that would compete for the Stanley Cup every year, for the next 14 years?

- Would matching the offer sheet be in the best long-term interest of the team and organization?

- Would a decision not to match the offer sheet send a negative message to current Predators players and other NHL organizations, a message that the Predators would only go so far to protect its best players and be pushed around by teams with "deep pockets?"

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