Posts Tagged ‘NHL realignment’

Top 13 NHL storylines of 2013

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George Parros of the Montreal Canadiens is loaded onto a stretcher.

The sight of a stretcher on the ice was common during a year of player safety issues. (Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)

By Brian Cazeneuve 

A turbulent year of controversy and major change in the NHL produced plenty of ongoing drama and surprises. Here are our top 13 sagas of 2013.

MORE: 13 best players | Hits | Goals | Games | Memes | Tweets | Weirdest moments | Most painful injuries | Team moves

13. The visor issue

When Manny Malhotra of the Canucks was struck in the eye by a shot in 2011, his agony and jeopardized career should have been enough to make all NHL players realize that they needed to wear visors for the sake of their safety. Instead, it took two more years and the horrifying eye injury suffered in March by Rangers defenseman Marc Staal, with super slow-mo recording the puck’s full impact, to finally bring change to the league. And so, in June, the NHLPA voted to make visors mandatory for all new players coming into the league, effective at the start of the 2013-14 season. Those who had played 25 or more games in the league could choose to take the ice without such protection. But as the players who are grandfathered into this rule exception leave the league in the coming years, eyewear will no longer be optional. So it was for helmets when Brad Marsh and Craig MacTavish stayed in the league bareheaded until the bitter end.

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  • Published On Dec 30, 2013
  • Top Line: Crosby vs. Lemieux, surging Blue Jackets, more links

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    Is Sidney Crosby better than Mario Lemieux? The debate about two Pittsburgh greats may be more complicated than you think. (Justin K. Aller/Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    A notated guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • How does Sidney Crosby match up against Mario Lemieux? TribLive breaks it down. Really, that Pittsburgh has had both of them is as ridiculous as John Derek marrying Bo Derek after Ursula Andress. (Note: you must be at least 50 to appreciate those references.)

    • The Blue Jackets have earned points in 10 straight? Unbelievable. Sergei Bobrovsky took it to another level last night, making 39 saves to win a game in which his team didn’t score. Check out this number: his save percentage over the last eight games is .976.

    • You know how routs are usually kinda boring? Last night’s 8-1 pantsing of the Stars by Chicago was the exact opposite. It was like watching the Globetrotters pull out every trick to humiliate the Washington Generals, a jaw-dropping display of skill and effort that showcased the best the NHL has to offer. What a perfect night for Dallas owner Tom Gagliardi to fly in his family from Vancouver for the game. Oh, well maybe not…

    • BREAKING NEWS: Chicago GM Stan Bowman thinks his team is pretty good. “I’d be comfortable [going into the playoffs] with the group we have,” he said when asked about what his team needs ahead of the trade deadline.

    • Speaking of fun to watch, today’s Boston-Pittsburgh matinee stacks up as a beauty. It goes at 12:30 EDT on NBC.

    • The Pens should put up a far better fight than the Caps did yesterday. That meek effort made it four losses in five for Washington and has to give GM George McPhee reason to question whether he has the right mix to move into next season.

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  • Published On Mar 17, 2013
  • NHLPA agrees to NHL realignment for 2013-14

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    The Bruins and Red Wings, both Original Six members, will be divisional rivals under the new plan. (Fred Kfoury/Icon SMI)

    By Allan Muir

    The gang that has made an art out of saying no finally said yes.

    After two weeks of internal discussion and polling its members, the NHL Players’ Association today agreed to go along with the NHL’s proposed realignment plan.

    With one caveat: they reserve the right to reevaluate the plan after the 2014-15 season.

    Fair enough. Their consent allows the NHL to move forward with scheduling the 2013-14 season. It also gives both the league and the member teams the green light to start planning for the changes that are coming.

    And by the summer of 2015, the league may be looking at an expansion program that would require another realignment anyway.

    Anyway, nice to be able to get past this roadblock and focus on the ways this will improve the game moving forward.

  • Published On Mar 07, 2013
  • Top Line: New NHL realignment plan, Blues-Flyers trade coming?, more

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    The Columbus Blue Jackets and Carolina Hurricanes could move to the Atlantic Division.

    The Blue Jackets and Hurricanes could end up in the Atlantic. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/NHLI via Getty Images)

    By Allan Muir

    A guide to this morning’s must-read hockey stories:

    • So apparently the NHL has dropped the four-conference plan for realignment and has some new ideas on the playoff format. Does it really have to be this difficult, fellas?

    • St. Louis GM Doug Armstrong has been spotted at three of Philadelphia’s last four games. Is veteran Danny Briere his target?

    • The Flyers revealed Tuesday night that Tye McGinn was out with a broken orbital bone. Now the Simon Gagne trade makes a little more sense.

    • The Hobbit could be back on Broadway soon. Mats Zuccarello may rejoin the Rangers after his KHL season is over. He extended it himself yesterday, scoring the game-winning goal for Metallurg Magnitogorsk with four-seconds left on the clock in Game 4 of its playoff series against Salavat Yulaev Ufa.

    • The New Jersey Devils have placed Martin Brodeur on IR, proving that he is human after all. Keith Kinkaid has been recalled, highlighting just how diligent this team should be about exploring the market for a young goalie with real NHL potential.

    • Instead, the Devils are said to be shopping for a top-six forward, with seldom-used defender Henrik Tallinder as the bait. Can just imagine the crowd trying to beat down Lou Lamoriello’s door to make that one happen.

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  • Published On Feb 27, 2013
  • Is this what NHL realignment will look like?

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    Will Columbus vs. Detroit be an Eastern Conference matchup next season? [Jay LaPrete/AP]

    Will Columbus vs. Detroit be an Eastern Conference matchup next season? [Jay LaPrete/AP]

    By Allan Muir

    During Hockey Night In Canada’s Hot Stove segment last night, Elliotte Friedman revealed what he says is the NHL’s most recent plan for realigning the league into a four-conference set up.

    At first glance, it makes a lot of sense…especially for a pair of Eastern time zone teams currently trapped in the Western Conference, and a Southeastern club that needs to be shifted west.

    Friedman reported the Detroit Red Wings would move to an eight-team conference with Boston, Buffalo, Ottawa, Montreal, Toronto, Florida and Tampa Bay.

    The second new Eastern grouping would see the Columbus Blue Jackets move east to join the Rangers, Islanders, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Washington, New Jersey and Carolina.

    There also would be two seven-team conferences. One, primarily Central time grouping would see Winnipeg joining Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Minnesota, St. Louis and Nashville, while Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, San Jose, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Anaheim would populate the other.

    This wins on so many levels, particularly the move of Detroit to conference one. It reunites four of the Original Six teams. It reignites the old Toronto/Detroit rivalry. And while it would mean extra travel for Florida and Tampa Bay, the plan would bring marquee opponents to these attendance trouble spots on a regular basis.

    Most important, it removes the league’s most onerous travel/TV schedule from one of its cornerstone franchises.

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  • Published On Feb 24, 2013