And by national in this case I mean a different local perspective, not American or Canadian national. If you want to read hockey coverage from TSN, THN, ESPN or Sportsnet go right ahead. Many of these websites and writers have original material that comes out before reaching the State of Hockey.
The New Jersey Devils (devils.nhl.com/@NHLDevils)
Despite getting flack for the team's attendance in Newark, the Devils' success over the past twenty years - including coming within two wins of the Stanley Cup this season - has had the effect of cultivating a younger fanbase that is internet-savvy. It has paid off with having a big presence online and culminated with being the first to unveil a fan-ran social media campaign from inside the team.
Plus being around the media capital of the U.S. in New York City doesn't hurt either.
So with that, here is a good group of writers and bloggers to read and follow. Sorry but Snooki, Bruce Springsteen, Kevin Smith or any Kevin Smith affiliated character (it's Silent Bob's fault), your preconceptions of Newark, Andrew Largeman, Nucky Thompson, Ace Enders, The Ram, Jon Bon Jovi, Tony Soprano, the emo band you may have liked 6 years ago, Paul Kinsey and that penguin from the Warner Brother shorts who lived in Hoboken are not on the list.
Tom Gulitti of The Record does a great job covering the team and his Fire and Ice blog is Jersey's equivalent of Russo's Rants. That information a couple days ago about Parise not signing with the Rangers that everyone spread like 7th grade gossip? Came from Gulitti.
Follow him on Twitter @TGFireandIce.
In Lou We Trust is the New Jersey SB Nation website and a good blog that is diving headfirst into the Parise situation. Lot of good analysis and opinion over there and there are a few guys to follow like Kevin Sellathamby, Tom Stivali, Matt Evans and John Fischer.
Down Goes Avery is the Michelangelo of the New Jersey bloggers with an almost always sarcastic look at the Devils and a possible love of pizza (we're still investigating that last point). You can find DGA on Twitter @downgoesavery.
Chris Wassel is a renaissance man, writing for a half-dozen different sites (including THW, Dobber and The Hockey Program) and hosting a podcast. He does a little more on the fantasy hockey side but is knowledgeable and a good, inevitable read. Follow Chris @theprogrambtr.
Greg Wyshynski, the editor of the Yahoo! Puck Daddy blog, is a big Devils fan. Not everything is going to be New Jersey-related but he will always give his two cents on the team and Parise. If that isn't enough, Wysh is one of the better hockey follows out the regardless - follow Greg @wyshynski.
The Nashville Predators (predators.nhl.com/@PredsNHL)
South of the Mason-Dixie line lie the Confederate Predators, not to be confused with those Union sympathizers in East Tennessee. Since joining the NHL in 1998 as part of the most recent stretch of expansion along with Minnesota, Columbus and
And they have a large variety of blogs - even more than their expansion cousins in Minnesota - but not as much ice. So without further adieu, here is the hierarchy of writers and websites.
General Nathan Bedford Forrest (Beat Writer)
Josh Cooper is the team's beat writer for the Tennessean with his Predators Insider. He has already written a book on Ryan Suter (including this year in review) and helped out Minnesota writers like Pat Knight over at KFAN.com. He has a past relationship with Suter and if anyone is going to break news on the defenseman, it's Cooper.
You can follow Josh on Twitter @JoshuaCooper.
General Albert Sidney Johnson (Bloggers)
One of my favorite blogs out there is On The Forecheck. It's Nashville's award-winning SB Nation blog and has that great mix of analysis, commentary, stats, sarcasm and news which makes OTF a must-read. The guy behind OTF is Dirk Hoag and you can follow him @forechecker.
Inside Smashville is the brainchild of Amanda DiPaolo and combines access (she is credentialed) with opinion and information to the point where IS feels like it could be a newspaper. You can follow Amanda @ADPreds.
Seth Lake is Nashville's prospect guru and a big follower of their AHL team in Milwaukee. Most importantly he is someone who I've dealt with in my Gopher gig and would recommend. Seth is @SLakePreds
Smashville 24/7 was originally a spinoff of Ryan Porth's Red Light Hockey blog but has taken over as a life of its own. Between constant updates, a podcast and great reporting all around (besides this, Ryan writes for Sportsnet), the Predators-specific blog has reached a point where Porth decided to shut down RLD this week. Check him out @smashville247.
Buddy Oakes and his six year-old son Jackson (seriously, how unique and cool is the idea of a father-son hockey blog) run Preds on the Glass. That's all that needs to be said...no wait there's a weekly radio show. Buddy is @predsontheglass.
Last but certainly not least is Section 303, named after the scalawags in said Bridgestone Arena section, whose blog looks as professional as it is written. There's plenty of goodies inside to the point where anyone doubting hockey's passion in the Music City will be a believer. Follow them @cellblock303.
The Commonwealth of Kentucky (Semi-related)
Neil Sheey is Ryan Suter's agent and has already been outspoken in debunking rumors like telling Michael Russo of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that there is no list of teams the former University of Wisconsin D would go. Sheehy represents a lot of Minnesota and Wisconsin players - the list is on his site - and for that reason he and fellow agent Paul Ostby (@sheehyhockey) should make their mark in this timeframe.
That's a huge number of people to follow but I made it easy with a list that you can subscribe (also while you're at it, if you don't follow me @gopherstate or First Round Bust @FRBHockey do that too). If there's anyone I missed or you think should be added, leave it in the comments.