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St. Louis Blues: Looks Like We Made It

After a 3-1 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday, the St. Louis Blues have become the first team to clinch a playoff berth with 100 points, which means it’s officially speculation time. Let’s venture out into some of the potential first round match ups the boys in blue may face.

Phoenix Coyotes (Currently in 7th)

I’m really not sure where I stand on a Blues/Yotes match up. As a child, I owned one of the crazy coyote jerseys. But this is not the team of my past. This will be the second straight year the Coyotes have joined the playoffs, losing to the Red Wings twice in quarterfinals. While they have scored more goals this season (191), the strength of goaltending on the Blues end will be huge. Plus, it’ll be fun to see what BizNasty says about our boys.

Colorado Avalanche (Currently in 8th)

Colorado could be a fun match up. To refresh your memory, the Blues and Avs made a monumental 2am trade before the deadline, sending Eric Johnson and Jay McClement to Denver for Chris Stewart and Kevin Shattenkirk. How’d that work you ask? Well, EJ has 4 goals and 20 assists against Shatty’s 9 goals and 28 assists. McClement (10 G, 6A) and Stewie (15 G, 13 A) have made a difference in the line up as well. Aside from the personal issues these teams have, we’ve got another goaltending mismatch, as Colorado’s net minders have allowed an additional 53 goals this season.

San Jose Sharks (Currently in 9th)

Please god, anyone but the Sharks. We’ve seen what Joe Thorton can do to this team, but this could end up being a repeat of the 1999-2000 season when the President’s Trophy-winning Blues were upset in the first round. The Sharks play an aggressive style of hockey that matches well with St. Louis. Their road record is barely above .500, but I never doubt their desire to win come playoff time.

Los Angeles Kings (Currently in 10th)

This could be the goaltending match old-time hockey fans long for. The Blues are the only team to have allowed less goals this season (158), and it’s clear that the mask is not the only thing that rocks about Jonathan Quick. Playoffs could bring along an outburst of goals from Anze Kopitar and Dustin Brown, along with leadership from Mike Richards and Simon Gagne. Plus, I like the idea of a ’67 expansion playoff.

Who do you want to see the Blues match up with? While you think, give this tune by Brookroyal a listen.

Categories
sports

NHL 2.0 – Realignment Edition

In case you’re living under a rock, are buried in snow or are your typical, inattentive hockey “fan,” you know that that last night the NHL approved a 4-conference realignment for the 2012-2013 season (that’s next October, folks). Above states the realignment (via CBC). Let’s point some things out.

There are 4 Conferences: Clearly the most obvious change. The West has been split in to two, 8 team conferences, while the East holds two, 7 team conferences. Note that Winnepeg, currently an “Eastern” team due to Atlanta’s demise, will move to the west, leaving the old East with 14 teams instead of 15.

Holy Rivalries: The new schedule will produce home and home games with every team in the league (great for fans who want to see Pittsburgh, Boston, Detroit, ETC. more than every other year). This also will provide each team with 6 conference match-ups. That means Ovi & Crosby, 6 times a year (NBC Sports is glowing at this idea.) It also keeps strong rivalries like Detroit/Chicago and Boston/Montreal, while fanning the Canadian rivalries (aside from Winnepeg, three Canadian teams will be battling it out each season for the final four spot in their Conference). Not to mention, playoff rivalries will be reborn. Who thinks Vancouver will have a yearly riot when Boston comes into town?

Travel Convenience, unless you’re from Florida:  Sure, Detroit and Columbus will be playing away games in Central time, but think how convenient it is for Washington to play Philly and Pittsburgh. The only down fall here is the Florida teams, who are stuck in the upper Northeast conference. Why they didn’t move the Devils & Islanders up there is beyond me. Note the image below from Puck Daddy and Cassie McClellan.

Playoff Picture: Now here’s where it gets a bit tricky. The league will stick with a 16 team playoff, taking the top four teams from each conference. These teams will battle it out, leaving the “final four” if you will, who will be either re-seeded or randomly matched to create our final teams. This could be awesome, considering we can have a Bruins – Flyers final, or a Detroit – San Jose final, but it also can diminish TV ratings. With the “new” NBC Sports (Versus’s new alias as of Jan. 2), this may not be an issue since more games will be televised in prime time on national television, however, it is a concern. There is also a bit of bias when you think of it, because the east coast teams only need to beat out 3 other teams to advance, whereas the west has four. There is also the argument that the fifth place team in conference A may have more points than the third place team in conference C.

Overall, I like the idea. I was never keen on moving Detroit to the East and ruining an original six rivalry with the Blackhawks, nor did I want them out of the Blues reach. The battles in each conference are strong. Sure, they’ll be you’re typical “East is better then West” argument (the conferences are yet to be named), but the concept is strong. Now, if only the Jets could make their vintage jersey their third before they come to St. Louis…

Feel free to comment with your thoughts, concerns and questions!