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  1. Welcome – My name is Blake Friars, I am co-host onThe Debate Hockey Podcast. Over the summer we decided that I will start doing weekly posts on my 6 thoughts about topics in the NHL. I am a diehard Vancouver Canucks fan, I would love to hear from you guys in the comments for opinions and feedback. Looking forward to a great hockey season. Broken Wing We all know about the back issues that have been hindering the play of the Detroit Red Wings captain Henrik Zetterberg over the last two seasons. None of us thought it would come to him possibly missing the entire 2018-19 season. Zetterberg had this to say on his setback; https://twitter.com/reporterchris/status/1034559239728099328 “I have not been able to train and I cannot play NHL matches without being well prepared, especially not at my age.” Zetterberg, 37, will turn 38 October 9th. If this is in fact it for the Wings legend what a run it was. Zetterberg is 5thon the Wings all-time scoring list with 337 goals and 960 points. Vancity Crazy On August 22ndSportsnet’s Elliot Freidman dropped a bomb on the hockey world when he tweeted that the Vancouver Canucks were in on the Erik Karlsson sweepstakes. https://twitter.com/FriedgeHNIC/status/1032296716014219264. Canucks GM’ Jim Benning entering his 5thyear with the club has transformed what was once the teams’ biggest weakness into its biggest strength’ the prospect pool. With the likes of Brock Boeser, Elias Petterson, Quinn Hughes, and Thatcher Demko, Canucks fans for the first time since 1999 actually have something to look forward to. Let’s shift back to a possible Karlsson to Vancouver trade just for fun. The conversation would start with the Canucks 7thoverall pick in the most recent NHL draft Quinn Hughes. Add a first-round pick in the 2019 draft which could turn out to be Quinn’s’ younger brother Jack, from a Canucks point of view this just doesn’t make sense to mortgage the future that look almost a decade to build. Benning has said on record “I’m not trading the Quinn Hughes and Brock Boeser’s and Elias Petterson’s. That’s not happening.” Get excited Canucks fans the future is almost here! Pay-Less Seguin Training camp is on the rise and the Dallas Stars and star center Tyler Seguin are “far apart” in negotiations. "I've been disappointed that it hasn't happened, the expectations were that it would be earlier in the summer, and there hasn't been much talk. But I'm back to work, I still have one year left, and that's been my focus,” said Seguin. The former 2ndoverall pick in the 2010 draft scored a career high 40 goals last season, and is set to hit free agency July 1st. Since the trade to Dallas in 2013, Seguin has totaled 384 points in 387 games. He has scored 178 goals in that span tied for 2ndwith Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin leads that department with 234 goals. The question is, will the Dallas stars pay Seguin and how much?! I see Seguin getting a similar contract to what John Tavares got this summer a 7 year 77-million-dollar deal. Habs (Carey)ied to playoffs? With Carey Price finally back to full health the Montreal Canadians are banking a huge bounce back season form the best goalie in the NHL. in 2015 Price won 44 games had a .933 Sv% to go along with a 1.96 GAA. He also won the Hart, Vezina and the William Jennings, for a goalie that’s unheard of. But Montreal has a big problem. They struggled to score goals and keep them out of their net. They have completely mishandled the Max Pacioretty situation, and have yet to offer Pacioretty a contract extension. They supposedly had a deal to ship the captain to the Los Angeles Kings at the draft, but the deal got caught on a snag with a sign and trade. Shea Weber is on the shelf until Christmas with a knee injury. A lot has to go right for the Canadiens to make the playoffs, but a return to 2015 form for Carey Price would go a long way. Metro Vs. Central A topic that has been going on for a long time in the NHL is who is the best division in the league. In my opinion it comes down to the Metro and the Central. Let’s break them down. In the Metro the top dogs are Pittsburgh who has cups in 2016 and 2017, the Capitals who silenced the critics and beat the Penguins and went on to capture their first Stanley Cup this season. They brought back John Carlson and gave Tom Wilson a ridiculous 6-year extension. The pesky Blue Jackets who find a way to win with great goaltending, and the wild card is the Flyers for me. They brought back James Van Reimesdyk to solidify their top 6 up front. The only problem with the Flyers is in the crease, can Lyon and Elliot carry them to another playoff spot. The Islanders just lost their franchise player in John Tavares they have a long road ahead of them, even with Lou, and Trotz in the fold. The Rangers are a rebuilding team, and the Carolina Hurricanes are a complete dumpster fire not much to say on them. Shifting gears to the Central, you have Winnipeg who knocked off the Predators in the 2ndround, and had a magical run to the Western Conference Finals. The scary thing about it is they are just getting started. Connor Hellebuyck had a career high 44 wins and was a Vezina nominee, they have a young core in Scheifele, Laine, Connor, Trouba, Hellebuyck. They are going to be a force in this division for a long time. The Preds have the best D core in the NHL but with Pekka Rinne on the last year of his deal, and having to pay captain Roman Josi big bucks next season you have to think they will eventually run into some cap problems. It will be interesting to see what the direction they go in. The St. Louis Blues got a lot better, adding Ryan O’Rielly, Tyler Bozak, Patrick Maroon, and brought back David Perron for his 3rdstint with the club. Look for them to give Nashville a run for their money for 2ndin the division. That leaves the inconsistent Dallas Stars (You never know what you’re going to get), the overachieving Av’s, the old and slow wild, and the Blackhawks are dead that I will tell ya. Going to be a long season for Hawk’s fans. If I had to pick a division to I would say the Metro, what can’t you like about it. Sid vs Ovi, Flyers vs Pens, the classic playoff rivalries within that division to be I think the Central is over hyped. Willy Payday? Toronto Maple Leafs RFA William Nylander is still without a contract and talks have been pretty silent. I think Nylanders ceiling is 60-70 points but with the way contracts GMs have been handing out lately I wouldn’t be surprised to see Nylander get 7 million, even though he’s only worth around 5-5.5, 6 at the most. The question is does Kyle Dubas sign him to a long term eight-year deal or a 2-year bridge deal. Regardless of the outcome the Leafs have one of the deepest center depths in the league and are destined for a lengthy playoff run this year.
  2. The Detroit Red Wings are an iconic franchise with a terrific history. For 25 consecutive years, the Wings have made the playoffs and during that time, they have vaulted an already outstanding legacy to a brand new height of glory in the 1990’s and 2000’s. During their incredible playoff streak, the Wings have won 4 Stanley Cups and have participated in 4 outdoor games. The Wings have made appearances in 2009, 2014, 2016 and 2017 and have accumulated a 2-0-2 record in those games with both overtime losses coming to the Toronto Maple Leafs. Detroit Red Wings 2009 Winter Classic Worn on January 1st, 2009 in Wrigley Field – Chicago, Illinois This vintage style jersey is simple and light with no complexity whatsoever. When it comes to throwbacks, you don’t want to change the simplicity much except for the material that makes lifts the jersey’s visual appeal. The white-based jerseys are a throwback to those worn circa 1926-27, including an old-school logo on the chest with a current ‘winged wheel’ on the shoulders. The Old English ‘D’ served as the hockey team’s very first logo and is widely recognized as a symbol for Detroit and its sports teams, a true for the city. Detroit Red Wings 2014 Winter Classic Worn on January 1st, 2014 in Michigan Stadium – Ann Arbor Michigan Detroit wore the iconic red and antique white uniforms featuring a striping pattern and arch Detroit wordmark inspired by the late-1920s Detroit Cougars. The front crest on the jersey featured an early iteration of the winged wheel from the late 1930s Red Wings. There’s even a touch of the early 1980s Red Wings with the custom Detroit wordmark and the number system. Both are exclusive to the typeface worn by the Red Wings from 30 years ago. The captaincy marking has been moved to a diamond shape on the left sleeve, which is a very non-traditional move. It’s also against league rules, but the league gave them special permission, as they did for the Sabres. It also looks great but only for the one-time use of the sweater. Detroit Red Wings 2016 Stadium Series Worn on February 27th, 2016 in Coors Field – Denver Colorado Just like every other Stadium Series jersey, it blends modern twists with details that exhibit vintage qualities and this sweater is no different. It’s loaded with secondary details plus there is a story with every feature that was designed on the jersey. The coloration of the uniform is primarily red, with simplified white accents, creating a bold, striking stadium scale visual while staying true to the color identity of the franchise. The crest features a redesigned “D” logo, updated in its design style to connect more directly with the iconic modern day Winged Wheel logo. The single white diagonal stripe across the chest celebrates the iconic stripe of this storied Original Six franchise. Its diagonal placement is inspired by modern automotive aesthetics, and is a tribute to the automotive industry that has been a foundation of the city of Detroit. Stadium size numbers on the sleeves and back have been redesigned to better connect with the modern font style of the new “D” crest. The nameplate lettering is arched, as a way of connecting to the design of the team’s current nameplate lettering. On the inside of the neck it inscribes “Est. 1926”, the year the Detroit Red Wings were founded. The white “Red Wings” inscription on the outside portion of the neck adds a nice touch of character to the jersey. Detroit Red Wings 2017 Centennial Classic Worn on January 1st, 2017 in BMO Field – Toronto, Ontario As part of the theme of the Centennial Classic, the features and designs of the Red Wings were based on the legacy that the franchise has built to honour the NHL’s 100th birthday. This jersey is a very simple design with one significant detail about it; The silver stripes on the arm. Engraved on each silver stripe are the years the Red Wings won Stanley Cups. The years listed on the right sleeve are 1936, 1937, 1943, 1950 and 1952. The years listed on the left sleeve are 1954, 1955, 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008. Why the stripes are silver is because its supposed to resemble the Stanley Cup. The four red stripes on both sleeves are a tribute to the original Detroit Cougars, which prominently displayed stripes in their jersey designs. You may also like... LEGACY OF THE CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS OUTDOOR UNIFORM…SO FAR THE 2016/17 NHL OUTDOOR JERSEY CLASS – ALL ABOUT LEGACY
  3. The Red Wings still, for some reason, feel they can get away with not turning in a 60-minute effort. Well, they paid for it last night, losing two valuable points to the Blackhawks, who have now won 5 in a row, and snapped the Wings 6-game winning streak. I know the loss of Pavel Datsyuk is going to leave a hole, and the addition of Danny Cleary after two weeks is going to be rocky in the beginning, as he reinstitutes himself into his old line. However, that doesn't explain the lack of puck control or communication through the neutral zone. They'll need to figure this out in a big hurry if they want to stand a chance against Vancouver on Thursday. The Canucks are coming off a tough loss to Nashville last night and they'll be hungry for the same kind of redemption. This will probably be the toughest home game for the Red Wings in months. They won't be able to count on the "Joe Lo MoJo" anymore (I made that up... ). It's all going to come down to who wants it more. Expect a playoff-like atmosphere, closer than any other game this season. It's going to be fantastic, and I've bet the maximum 125 tokens on The Winged Wheel.
  4. The Detroit Red Wings have put backup goalie Ty Conklin on waivers today, confirming what many believed that Joey MacDonalod is deserving of the Number 2 position in the Red Wings netminders. Joey Mac's incredible play of late only solidified him for the positon, and Mike Babcock's confidence was well-placed in granting him starting duties yesterday vs. San Jose and not rushing Jimmy Howard's return. In his current eight geam record, JoeMac has posted 1.66 goals against and 0.934 save percentage. That's almost worthy of a starter's numbers, much less a back-up. The story here from Helene St. James of the Detroit Free Press. [Hidden Content]
  5. That's it. That was his one chance. WIth Jimmy Howard out for his first injury of the season, it was Ty Conklin's time to step up and show Ken Holland what he's made of. With the trade deadline a mere three weeks away, Conklin had to know that the window of opportunity was very narrow and he'd have one, maybe two shots at solidifying himself as a serious backup goaltender. Well, he blew it. He got pulled after letting in three goals in one period against Edmonton on Saturday night. Grand Rapids call-up Joey McDonald had to step in and give them Wings the opportunity to snag a point out of it. So forget Tuomo Ruutu, forget Zach Parise or any of the other headline trade fodder. Kenny Holland needs to get a backup goaltender, first and foremost. The problem is, you need to unload Ty Conklin to do it, and the way he's played, who wants him? Any team in their right mind will try to sweeten the offer with a decent third or fourth line forward and maybe a draft pick or two before taking Conklin. The Wings are looking to buy, not sell. So what do you think? How can Detroit get out this?
  6. Detroit Free Press reports Jimmy Howard suffered a broken finger last night in Vancouver and will miss the rest of the road trip. Ty Conklin will be in net for the next two games against Edmonton and Phoenix. Howard will be reevaluated upon return to Detroit. [Hidden Content] I've broken fingers before and they take longer than a week to heal up. Expect Howard to be out a little longer than 2 games.
  7. [Hidden Content] Ken Holland finally opens up about what he's looking for come the trade deadline. To no one's surprise, he's considering defensive depth, given Nick Lidstrom's impending retirement sometime before the 2045-46 season. Rumors are also slipping around that Brad Stuart, whose contract is up at the end of this season, is looking to return to the West Coast to be be closer with his family. It certainly makes sense. Since his acquisition at the 2008 trade deadline, Stuart started off incredibly strong and a favorite on the blue line with fellow Crunch Brother (thanks Doc) Niklas Kronwall. But in the past two seasons, his style and production have been dwindling, which suggest his thoughts are elsewhere. Ken Holland's style is to do his hockey shopping in the summertime and make little or no moves at the trade deadline. Given the Wings' cap flexibility and the uniquie position he's in now, with a number of defense and forward contracts expiring, look for Holland to make a defensive move at the end of the month and pick up a few power forwards in July with what's left, after the current contracts are re-negotiated.
  8. Last night’s tilt at Joe Louis Arena was a hard-hitting, intense battle for control in the Central Division. A lot of things went into the pot tonight to stir things up between these two clubs… - A tied season series to date - 16-game win streak at home for the Red Wings - 6-game win streak overall for the Red Wings - 5-game win streak for the Blues - 4 of Detroit’s the last seven games have gone to a shootout - A chance for either team to obtain/retain the top spot in the NHL - The obligatory media frenzy talking about a playoff series between the two This was to be a huge test for Detroit with what appears to be a slipping offense of late. With solid defense and strong goaltending, the Wings have been able to hang on and snag a lot of points by shootout wins. With the St. Louis Blues matching Detroit’s defensive prowess, the fire had to be lit under the offense to get going, lest the Red Wings win streak(s) come to an end. Nevertheless, the Wings were victorious 3-1 in regulation which has to feel good to know that you “still got it.” The road record is always going to be mentioned when talking about Detroit, but they’ve won their last two since an embarrassing performance against the Islanders on January 10th. It’s only 2, but it’s still 2-0. You have to have 2 before you can get 3, and so on…. Next stop, Montreal. The struggling Habs will definitely come out harder against their Original 6 rivals, and especially being at home, the fans will be completely out of their skulls. That said, I fully expect Ty Conklin to get the nod in net this coming Wednesday at the Bell Centre. He’s been a lot better and Babcock has been trusting him more, which is the only way he’ll get to prove himself. But after Montreal and the All-Star break, the Wings hit the road for a four-game trip into western Canada and California. While they’ll have at least one day in between each of those contests, this is still going to be a grinding endurance test. If Detroit takes at least 6 out of 8 points, they’ll come home confident that they’ve dispelled their road woes. Even 5 points would go a long way.
  9. I love when I get the chance to watch the Red Wings play, so I am looking forward to tonights game. The Wings are a well oiled machine and give their opponents a lesson in puck control every night. Also Pavel Datsyuk is one of my favorite players in the league to watch. He plays a complete game in all areas of the ice. He has nasty hands and excellent vision, he doesn't get all the same run that Ovechkin, Stamkos, and Malkin get, but he is just as good if not better. Tonight starts the week which will end or turn around the Sabres season. With the Sabres making stops in Detroit tonight, Chicago Wednesday, Winnipeg Thursday, and St. Louis Saturday, those 4 teams carry a home record of 66-18-9. The Red Wings come into tonight winners of 14 straight at home looking to set a new franchise record of 15 at the Sabres expense. In the other corner the Sabres come in losers of 8 straight on the road second longest skid in the team history, something has to give tonight. With the Sabres scoring struggles Jimmy Howard may not be the man they want to see to solve their problems. Howard is 26-10-1 with a 2.04 GAA and a .924 save % 4 shutouts, he is right in the middle of the Vezina race this year. Injuries are again the story in Buffalo, Regher joined the list after Saturdays loss in Long Island. He is going to be out "some time". The Sabres blue line is getting thin with McNabb and Regher to miss all the games this week. Ehrhoff has a chance to play Wednesday in Chicago. Andrej Sekera will return tonight from his shoulder injury. Sekera had a break out game last year against Detroit after he was shown the press box for a few games. He had 2 goals in that game including this nice backhander... TJ Brennan has been recalled to replace Regher and Joe Finley will be the healthy scratch tonight. Still confused why Finley played instead of Brennan Saturday, but I don't even bother stressing over the personnel decisions anymore. Vanek will play after taking a puck to the face on Saturday, he continues to be a leader on this team and carry them on his back. Ryan Miller will be in the net tonight playing in his hometown against his little brother Drew Miller. Ryan has struggled in his career against Detroit. He knows how important it is to turn the season around now and he is putting the teams success on his back. Let's if Ryan can answer his own call out. Expected lineup: Vanek-Hecht-Pominville Gerbe-Roy-Stafford Adam-Leino-Boyes Ellis-Gaustad-Kaleta Myers-Weber Sekera-Leopold Brennan-Gragnani Miller (Enroth) Prediction: I tried to be not so negative in this blog, because I hate negativity, but my feelings on this team haven't changed. Wings will give the Sabres a lesson in how to play the game tonight, 4-1 Wings.
  10. The Detroit Red Wings broke their previous franchise record of consecutive home games last night with a 5-0 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Thie victory was their 15th straight and longest since 1965. Now if only the could turn that kind of consitency to their road record....
  11. www.freep.com/article/20120112/COL22/120112046/Michael-Rosenberg-How-about-Winter-Classic-Ann-Arbor-Detroit- This column appeared in the Detroit Free Press yesterday by one of their sports/opinion coumnists. Now Michael Rosenberg is pretty much one of the biggest idiots they have on staff there. However, he does raise a few interesting points. Hosting the Winter Classic in Detroit does present a number of options which the NHL can "experiment" with. In my opinion, The SPIRIT of the Winter Classic belongs at Comerica Park. However, the REVENUE of the Winter Classic makes it hard to pass up Ann Arbor. Here’s the kicker… There are many thousands of fans who would pay the money to see a Winter Classic. So much so, that they need a lottery to keep it fair. Now is that number 110,000? If not, then the prices have to drop in order to fill the place, which brings the ratio back to Comerica Park. An attendance record is meaningless if you don’t get the revenue to back it up. And they would be truly embarrased if Michigan Stadium wasn't filled to capacity for this. I don't think I'd want to split up the Winter Classic festivities between two cities that are an hour apart (without traffic). That also means there would have to be two ice rinks built, decorated, and sustained during that period. Obviously the NHL would only be responsible for one, but that said, if one rink is of less quality than the other one, why would anyone bother to play on it? I say forget the U of M stadium and the attendance record. Put the Winter Classic in Comerica Park in a very vibrant part of a legendary city which is doing its best to bring itself back from the hell it's been put through. I've spent a lot of time in Ann Arbor. There's nothing there. Particularly around the stadium Matter of fact, directly across the street from the stadium is.....a high school and a golf course..... Comerica Park is surrounded by bars, restaraunts, clubs, theaters...much more enticing to the fan looking for a Hockey Weekend in Hockeytown. If the NHL still has faith in what it touts as the class and tradition of the world's greatest game, then don't put it in Ann Arbor just to sell more tickets.... Just sayin'
  12. Dear New York Islanders Players, Organization and Fans- First, I want to congratulate you on your victory against the Detroit Red Wings last night. A 5-1 score is very respectable against any team in today’s NHL. Also, it’s a great feeling to garner a solid victory at home after a disappointing road trip. Your goaltender seems to have shaken the cobwebs away. You had a great night and it showed in the result. However, while the victory is sweet and you should toast your successes, I’d like to apologize on behalf of the Detroit Red Wings for not offering you to respect and challenge that you deserve. Last night’s Red Wings team was NOT the team you have seen in the highlight reels and in the top three of the Western Conference. Though you have enjoyed a lengthy winning streak over the Winged Wheel, your recent position near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings has caused the loss of your recognition as a competitive hockey club by the Red Wings. The Red Wings see this as a “throw-away game.” We tend to give you our back-up goalie. We tend to favor the less experienced forwards and defense to give them ice time. We call a hangnail or dry elbow skin an “upper body injury” which allows us to rest a few of our key players. Did we realize that we were tied three ways for first in our Division, with the other two contenders playing that same night? Did we also realize they were both heavily favored to win their own games? No we didn't. Let them get ahead, we'll catch up. At the end of the second period, when you were ahead 3-0, did the Red Wings make a goaltender change to try to spark the rest of the team? No they didn’t. They left Ty Conklin in net, so they could rest Jimmy Howard a bit more. Wouldn’t want to scuff up his freshly-buffed goalie pads, now would we? When the offensive strategies we were using were turning up fruitless time and time again, did we revisit our approach? No we didn’t. Wouldn’t want to change anything now, because we’ll need those ideas the next time we play a “real” team. When you scored first, and then second, did our defense step up their efforts to keep it from getting worse? No, we didn’t. We don’t want to hit you too hard. You’re just kids and you have your whole careers ahead of you. We wouldn’t want to jeopardize that. Understandably, a game against the Islanders may not carry as much weight as a game against a Divisional opponent, so I can agree that this is the time to scrape the rust off your less-used players. However, this shouldn’t happen year after year. At some point, you should see the Varsity Team that Chicago or San Jose would see. Detroit is used to hearing that they are the measuring stick by which other teams compare themselves. I only hope one day, you’ll get that chance as well. You have a young, vibrant team with a LOT of talent and I enjoy watching you play. Your speed and skill are unlike that of any team in the NHL, and I’m sorry that the Red Wings are the only team who refuse to give you the challenge you deserve. But take heart, Islanders! You are building a new team brick by brick, and while it will probably take a while, you’ll get out of the cellar someday and up in the playoffs where you belong! And as long as the Detroit Red Wings refuse to honor you by giving you Team B to play against, I hope you win ‘em all! Sincerely, WingNut722
  13. It’s been a long time since I posted anything (which is to say it’s been a long time since I’ve been able to watch a Red Wings game in its entirety). Ironically enough, the last game I was able to watch was December 6 at St. Louis. It appears the tables have turned in the steadily-heating rivalry against the St. Louis Blues with the Wings taking this battle 3-2. Make no mistake, this was a huge, hard-fought game on both sides. Everybody on both benches had something to prove here. The Blues skaters want to prove they can dominate the mighty Red Wings. The Detroit skaters want to prove they still have what it takes to hold off a tough opponent and continue their at-home win streak. Ken Hitchcock wants to continue his successful resurrection efforts and Mike Babcock just wants to win every time. Jimmy Howard is the winningest goaltender in the league but Brian Elliot has the lowest goals-against average and is tied for highest save percentage. In fact, it can be convincingly argued that the best, and only clear advantage Detroit had over the Blues last night was a nationally-televised game on Versus. It was absolutely a goalies’ battle last night as both netminders (literally) stood on their heads to keep the scores tight all night long. Each team had plenty of scoring chances, Detroit even only had one more shot on net than St. Louis. Back in the beginning of the season, I failed to jump on the St. Louis bandwagon, while everybody else had picked them to run away with the Central Division. My reasoning was that while the Blues picked up a huge amount of talent in the offseason, there would most definitely be a “period of adjustment,” as the new roster would have to “gel” into a well-oiled machine. Turns out that oil turned out to be Ken Hitchcock, with a little help from Brian Elliot. The predictions ended up being true, but from an unpredictable approach. The Blues have become one of the favorites in the Western Conference and if things keep up, they should be able to make a fairly deep playoff run. I’m not going to predict just yet, but seeing the way they have played recently, they definitely have the stuff. I could probably be shooting myself in the foot here, as a Red Wings fan, but I sure wouldn’t mind seeing these two go at it in the playoffs. The best part is, St. Louis is in the Central Time Zone, not the Pacific. Even if they don’t, realignment next year will certainly put that possibility within reach. …and now for those pesky Blackhawks… I have always loved the Blackhawks and I love watching them play Detroit. They bring out the best in each other. A level and spirit of play that other teams don’t see. I can’t believe the NHL has made me wait THIS LONG to see these two clubs go at it. Detroit has an outstanding opportunity to make a huge move in the Division and the Conference. They won last night. The next two games are against Chicago and St. Louis again. An extra 4 points could put them at the top of the Western Conference, pending the outcome of the Hawks tilts against L.A and Edmonton, two teams which have been known to get under the skin of the Indian Head sweater. I doubt anyone in or around Hockeytown will be satisfied with any less than 5 points from this three-game Central Conference melee. This is a very exciting time to be in the Central Division. Just sayin’…
  14. The NHL announced yesterday that for the 2012-2013 season, the teams would be shuffled into a four-conference league. This is a huge win for the Detroit Red Wings organization and for their fans. For years, Mike Ilitch and Company has been yearning for a ticket into the Eastern Conference, and they thought they might have their chance when Atlanta moved north. They now find themselves in the midst of a brand new 8-team conference which includes all of the current Central Division, with the addition of the Dallas Stars, Winnipeg Jets and Minnesota Wild. Living in New Jersey, I was hoping the Wings would get reshuffled into possibly the Atlantic Division, which would get me into a lot more games, but I would have been heartbroken to have to say goodbye to Chicago. I love the Blackhawks, and I love the storied rivalry between the two clubs. I loved the Winter Classic in ’09 and I love the traditional home-and-home series to close out the season. So honestly, I would say this is a better deal. In fact, most of the League’s best rivalries have been preserved. Boston/Montreal, Buffalo/Toronto, Rangers/Devils, Flyers/Everyone else. The interesting shift has been with the Florida teams being moved into the so-called “Northeast” conference, which doesn’t make sense geographically, but it’s still the same time zone. Plus, with so many Canadian retirees who’ve moved to Florida, this is a big chance for them to see their old favorites again on multiple occasions. The other fun fact is that the Pacific and Central conferences are composed of eight teams, and the Northeast and Atlantic Conferences are composed of seven teams, making it “easier” for these teams to make the playoffs. Rumors are spreading that the NHL is allowing room for expansion, particularly in the markets of eastern Canada. Quebec City has been dying for a return of the Nordiques. There’s talk of Toronto getting itself a second team, and cities like Hamilton and Kitchener have been speculated for an expansion team as well. I would love to see more hockey teams in Canada (it’s their sport, after all) so I hope this is what the NHL has in mind. A lot of time and effort has gone into this, yet there is still come question about the future of the Phoenix Coyotes and possibly the Columbus Blue Jackets. Both markets are not doing well financially, and their movement might result in another realignment. Kansas City has demonstrated a desire for a hockey team, so Columbus could move their easy enough. The Coyotes could either move up to Quebec or even Las Vegas if the horrifying scuttlebutt is true. Las Vegas should not have a hockey team…. That’s just absurd, but it would be an easy move to preserve this new 4-Conference setup. Overall, I’m excited for this new shift. It should be a lot of fun! The floor is now open. What say you?
  15. There has been a lot of talk about a possible move of Alexander Semin the last few days with the Detroit Red Wings being one of the top contenders. A few thoughts… Semin hasn’t been in his top form since 2009-2010 where he posted 28 goals and 26 assists. He’s been decent enough this season, with 5 and 5. I haven’t been paying too close attention to the Capitals but obviously, they have been expecting more from him. I don’t know if he’s unhappy in Washington or if he’s dealing with some nagging injury, but either way, the Caps seem to want to move some potentially dead weight and free up a LOT of cap space doing it. The first thing I think of is the Caps will want a decent, scoring forward in return to replace the Top Six winger, but who could/would the Wings part with? I’ve grown to like just about all the current Detroit roster (which is why I could never be a GM) but the two names I can think of are Jiri Hudler and Valtteri Filppula. Now I highly doubt that Filppula would be moved since he’s got the hot hand in Detroit right now, and he’s carved himself a niche. Hudler would be a better choice. He’s in the exact same situation right now, coming off a very poor season last year, and he’s just not producing as much as he should (although the improved effort has been there this season). Hudler’s in a contract year and Ken Holland is going to have to decide to keep him or let him go anyway. Another possibility is Patrick Eaves, who is currently out 2 months with a broken jaw, and has only been replaced by the unproven Fabian Brunnstrom. I also have had a particular dislike of Jonathan Ericsson lately, but the Caps don’t need defensemen, and Detroit does. The other problem is his salary. I doubt very much that Semin would garner his current salary of $6.7 million in Detroit, which would put him equal with Pavel Datsyuk, but above both Nicklas Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg. If he were, moving Hudler would open up the cap space this season, and also probably send Brunnstrom down to Grand Rapids for good (unless he were moved too, to sweeten the deal. Hell, let ‘em have Mike Commodore too!). The drawback to that is, what if Semin ends up being a lemon in Detroit too? We end up trading a least one forward who’s not scoring for a more expensive forward who’s not scoring. And if he didn’t score in Washington, and didn’t score in Detroit, it might be tough to unload him come the trade deadline. He may only be traded for a few second- or third-liners and draft considerations. Do the Wings even need him at all? They’re near the top of the standings on a six-game win streak. The best benefit that Semin could bring is to further increase the depth of Detroit’s forwards, and also give Datsyuk someone to talk to. Personally, I agree that the Wings should invest in another top six forward, but I don’t think it should be Semin. What say you?

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