As we get closer and closer to the end of the year-- we finally get a little clearer and murkier on who's going to into the second season. In this Friday Five, we'll cover that, plus other non-concussion (to a point) stuff.
1. While the West has people wanting moving up every day, the East seems to be scared of advancement-- what's the East's problem??
The East's placeholders are definitely on the downside of thing when it comes to fighting for spots. However, with them losing-- that makes it more exciting. Look at the Devils and Leafs-- both had "must-win" games on Thursday and both lost.....so, you have the bizarro-Western situation, which is just as good; if not sadistic, as the Western race. There doesn't seem to be a sense of urgency, but as we get to less than 10 games left, you can bet the killer instinct will kick in.
2. For teams like the Calgary Flames and New Jersey Devils who have been fighting for their playoff lives since December; if they do make the playoffs-- will they be running on fumes by then??
It's an interesting situations, but at the same time-- they're a little more battle tested when it comes to fighting for each game. The Flames are clawing and grabbing for a spot and should be able to get things going and know how urgent they have to play rather than a mid-level seed or a team that has clinched a spot earlier. The Devils, however, will have a little more a tough battle because they have been on a such a great run and have been a solid story-- but at the same time, probably won't have enough for the last week of the season, much less a huge playoff run. If the Devils do make it-- it's the story of the year, minus the Cup winners plight, mind you.
3. With Manny Malhotra being struck with an errant puck in the face, is there a chance that the visor debate should be brought up again??
There was a little stir on Twitter about this and I don't know which side I fall on. For one, you'd think that with a good amount of Junior players keeping their visor on when they come into the league, the time to make a mandatory rule and grandfather in the guys who don't want to wear one would be now. Plus, it'd be good for insurance purposes, but you also don't want to determine the free-will of players rights. Of course, the AHL and lower leagues have a visor rule (if I'm not mistaken, mind you), so even the guys filtering in from the minors have some experience with the rule and would be able to deal with it moving into the NHL. While I doubt it'll be mandated, it's probably something to consider for the next round of GM meetings.
4. In a surprise move, the St. Louis Blues have been put up for sale. With this-- the Blues, Atlanta Thrashers, and Dallas Stars are the teams that are definitely up for sale. What's next for these teams??
In all of these cases, the current owners will want the team to stay in the city they're in. The Blues could most likely find someone who fits that criteria, the Stars should be able to find someone, but the Thrashers are the ultimate wild card in this. In the end, all of these teams are not only going to be hard-pressed to find local owners in this economy, but at the same time; they'll be hard-pressed to move the team if they find owners who won't keep them in town. While it's great to have teams stay in one place, if it's not a viable option-- you can't force it and have to let them go. That said, the Blues having been in the city since 1967 and they probably won't be moved because there's going to be enough interest to keep the team there-- but the Stars and Thrashers?? The former could stay, but the latter could be on the way out.
5. Leaving out the Coyotes for some reasons, the City of Glendale said their "Plan B" is to seek out a minor league franchise. How much will THIS idea fail??
If nothing else, the attendance could stay the same-- but you don't want to level down if you can help it. You saw a place like Kansas City not support a minor league squad when they had the Sprint Center built up the aspiration of a NHL team coming to town. Plus, the Phoenix area hasn't been keen to many minor league teams, as the Roadrunners of the ECHL had to fold up because they were in the bottom part of the league for attendance. Odds are, the operating costs will be far too high to bring in a minor league team to Jobing.Com Arena and be a successful organization-- but at the same time; you don't want a place sitting vacant when you want it to be a revenue producer for you. Some hockey is better than no hockey, I assume-- which if push comes to shove, something could get done. Just have to hope the Coyotes fans would follow the minor league team as much as they do the Coyotes, should it happen.
That's another week down and another week until the playoffs. If you have a topic or questions-- Scotty.Wazz@Gmail.com is the place to email me for it and give your two cents for everything.