A Few Issues with Realignment and Injury Problems Continue
Hopefully this topic never comes up again, Tootoo received a 2 game ban for charging Miller Saturday night. Good, end of story, hopefully the Sabres let it go too. Now onto the NHL radical realignment that puts the NHL into 4 conferences, which in fact I hate that they are calling them conferences instead of divisions. If they are divisions you can keep the East and West format. Anyways I digress, I like how the conferences are set up, everyone is happy in a way, nobody got left out of a West to East conference shift, and rival teams stayed in the same conference. Now the bad, how does Tampa and Florida end up in basically the Northeast Division? Splitting Stamkos and Ovi might not have been the best decision in the world, but in honestly when you look at it they didn't really have a choice. A bigger issue I have is the 16 teams in the west and 14 in the east. This sets up the expansion theory, which I think would be a terrible terrible terrible idea! They're too many teams having trouble already (NYI, Florida, Columbus, Phoenix, and Dallas) making this a 32 team league would be outrageous. The obvious places for expansion would be Quebec City, 2nd Toronto team, Hamilton, and Hartford. Hockey already failed in two of those places and the other two places teams already exsist close by (Buffalo and Toronto). If anything the NHL should go to 28 teams cut out Phoenix if they can't stay in the dessert and either the Islanders or Panthers go. The last large problem I have with the new realignment is the playoff system of rounds 1 and 2. I am all for creating rivalries, but how old will it get seeing Buffalo v Boston every year or Philly v Pitt or Ovi v Sid. What about the playoff rivalries of Buffalo and Philly? Chicago and Vancouver? Boston and Philly? Detroit and Colorado? Carolina and Buffalo?. Those playoff matchups will rarely happen unless those teams can make it to the new Frozen Four and they still might not matchup then.
Onto the Sabres and there list of growing injuries, heres a recap of the current players out for at least Wednesday's game: Myers, Weber, Gaustad, Boyes, Kaleta, Leopold, and maybe McCormick. Will this team ever get healthy? If you look at the list of injured players the bad news is they are losing their size and strength (Kaleta, Myers, Weber, Goose, McCormick). Sure Kassian and McNabb have proven to be good replacements and Finley is big but has trouble skating. This cannot continue for the Sabres they are staying afloat right now but another big injury and this team could be done. Look at the players who have missed at least 1 game this year: Gerbe, Stafford, Regher, Goose, Weber, Miller, Myers, McCormick, Hecht, Kaleta, Ennis, and Leopold. That's 12 of the 23 man opening night roster! This reminds me of the 05-06 playoffs against the Canes when they lost almost the entire D core and Connolly (still bitter that was our cup). Pregame blog for Flyers v Sabres tomorrow , I'll be in the First Niagara Center as the Amerks/Sabres try to pull out a much needed 2 points at home.