Jamming The Crease
They did get something right by reducing the number of games against divisional opponents -- someone remind me why we bother with divisions when the playoffs are conference-based -- but cutting the wait time between inter-conference visits from three years to two simply is hardly an adequate solution.
And while the need for regular visits has been downplayed by some who think the cry for change was predicated on Western teams wanting to see
So yeah, it was a step. But you can bet that the fight for a better schedule didn't end yesterday in Pebble Beach.
Based on where Alberts' head was at the time, Hartnell had ample opportunity to raise his arms and avoid driving it into the dasher. That he failed to do so showed an appalling lack of judgment.
But just as inexcusable as the hit was the slap on the wrist suspension issued by
The message is clear: keep your heads up, boys. With reprimands like this, and the instigator penalty still in place, it's every man for himself out there.
Recognizing the entertainment value of this showdown, and the impact these points have on the standings -- the situation in Toronto would not look quite as dire if the Leafs actually won these shootouts on occasion -- only reinforces my belief that the league needs to extend the format from three to five shooters.
Can't imagine that paying customers would have a problem with that concept.
After a brutal stretch that saw him lose eight of his first 12 starts, Bobby Lu is back and playing once again like Vancouver's MVP. His current streak of nearly 194 goalless minutes is a team record, but more importantly has justified the faith that his teammates had in him during his struggles.
The streak puts the surging Canucks into the Northwest Division lead, and a share of second place in the Western Conference -- this despite an offense that, while improved, doesn't have the depth to support a protracted playoff run.
Given the value of the long-standing relationship between the two franchises, there has to be much more simmering for it to have come to this point. Expect the dirt to surface in the inevitable court filings over the next few weeks.
In the meantime, the future of the Rochester franchise itself is up in the air. The city is unlikely to allow the use of the arena next season without full payment and a restructured lease arrangement. And while the Amerks have a secondary agreement this season with the Florida Panthers -- an agreement the Panthers are reportedly happy with -- there's no guarantee they'll stay put given the circumstances. The Coyotes and Ducks also will be in the market for a new affiliation next year, but both teams are looking for something a little closer to home, making Rochester a backup plan for them at best. This looks to be one of those situations where you hope for the best, but expect the worst.
Preds fans can't relax completely, of course. The new owners still have the option to pull up stakes if support isn't forthcoming from the business community, but their local roots should help them make inroads where previous owner
Now that this one's in the books, keep an eye on the situation that's evolving in Tampa Bay, where a potential new ownership group was kicked to the curb and the current owner appears desperate to divest himself of the club after losing upwards of $75 million.
After watching the Predators shed salary last summer in an effort to make themselves a more appealing target for buyers, the possibility for a similar fire sale in Tampa is a distinct possibility.
No, the credit for the turnaround in Big D goes to the goaltending and a suddenly unstoppable power play led by deposed captain
Prior to Wednesday's loss in New Jersey, both
Modano's been a force ever since getting the monkey that was the chase for the all-time American scoring record off his back. It's also helped his game that the red-hot duo of