When the NHL realigned, the Eastern Conference was left with 16 teams and the Western Conference with 14, prompting the obvious talks of adding two Western Conference teams to balance out playoff chances and fairness. This makes sense; though it didn't hurt the NHL this season, as the Western Conference was definitely the more talented conference, it is much harder for Eastern Conference teams to make the playoffs (from a purely statistical standpoint). The NHL then, was bound to make an expansion move, and it appears they're already looking into it.
- The recent success of the NHL's last two expansion teams, the Minnesota Wild and the Columbus Blue Jackets, shows us that unconventional markets can find ways to build fan bases and prosper.
- There's a group in Seattle who appears to be emerging as the frontrunner in expansion talks with the NHL.
- The Conn Smythe Trophy has come to be a surefire symbol of a 'clutch' player. Who looks like they're going to win it this year?
- P.K. Subban has faith in his team, and isn't afraid of the challenges he'll face in the upcoming rounds of the playoffs.
- Sidney Crosby clearly did not have a good playoff run this year. Some have him pegged as the reason that Pittsburgh made an early exit this year.
- Unfortunately, basketball still seems to draw more viewers than the NHL, though the NHL playoffs seem to bring more intensity and excitement.
- Even though Matt Cooke and the Wild have been eliminated, Marc Savard still has trouble believing the NHL hasn't come down harder on the man who ended his career.
THE OFFSEASON AND THE COACHING CAROUSEL
- Though the Columbus Blue Jackets had a great run this season, rumors say R.J. Umberger still wants to be traded.
- The perception of NHL coaches really seems to add a great deal of confusion to the coaching carousel every offseason.
- Marc Crawford may be a name that the Florida Panthers target as a coach this offseason.
- Buzzing the Net released their annual Jeff Skinner Rankings. (mathematical calculations of NHL point expectancy; useful in showing the projection of scoring ability in juniors to the NHL.)
- The development of youth hockey in the United States seems to be hurt by the vast number of prospect showcases and junior teams parents push players to try out for.
- For all of the analytics people out there, player tracking technology is on its way into the NHL.
- The fourth line, once a symbol of toughness and grit, seems to be changing. How, exactly, has the composition of the fourth line changed in today's NHL?