Saturday NHL Headlines: The Great Outdoors & West Beats East
Hey, everyone. It’s Dan Mount and I’m here with the Friday NHL headlines. Today we look at the new 24/7-like series called NHL Revealed and the domination of the West over the East so far this season.
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Revealing the great outdoors
Earlier in the week, it was announced that NBC Sports and the NHL have made a deal to make a show like the acclaimed 24/7 series called NHL Revealed: A Season Like No Other that will follow the nine teams involved in outdoor games this season. The show will air on NBCSN in the United State and CBC in Canada. (24/7 will return on HBO Sports to cover the two teams involved in the Winter Classic, the Detroit Red Wings and the Toronto Maple Leafs as they prepare to play on New Year’s Day at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.
Revealed will give a look at the other teams as they prepare for many things that you normally wouldn't see in a typical National Hockey League season. Besides the jump in the number of outdoor games, the league will also be involved in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia. This truly makes it a season like no other.
The series have been very well done and offer a look at the daily lives of teams and players. (The series has come up with some funny moments like current Edmonton Oilers goalie and former Philadelphia Flyers netminder Ilya Bryzgalov talking about the universe and Russian booze.) The series has become appointment viewing for not just die-hard hockey fans, but for sports fans in general.
However, there is a worry that the league may be overdoing it. The great actress Mae West once said, “Too much of a good thing can be wonderful.” However, there are some doubters. Some think they’ll be oversaturating the market place and people won’t want to see it.
Despite some of the doubters, some fans and writers are already accumulating a list of things they want to see in the new series. They’re clamoring for more of Jaromir Jagr as he was a star of the Rangers-Flyers edition of 24/7, and they want to see some of Erik Karlsson’s funny personality.
It’s also nice to see bristling Canucks’ bench boss John Tortorella continue his support for the series. He said he enjoyed the experience when he was coaching the Rangers. I’ll continue my support of it as well and be right there when the new season debuts.
There’s been one trend that has been going on is that the Western Conference has been putting a hurting on the East through the first nearly two months of the season. As of November 21, the West has put up a mark of 87-38-16 and that has come with Detroit moving from the west to the east. If you look at the standings, the Wings have enough for the wild card. However, they’d be 10th in their old conference.
The West has gotten better and deeper as they’ve had to deal with the Wings for years. Anaheim GM Bob Murray said the Western teams do a better job at having structure. Bobby Ryan talked about the differences between the East and the West. (Ryan was traded to Ottawa in the offseason.)
“Here I feel like there’s much more open ice through the middle.”
We also need to take a look at the standings further towards the bottom if you want to get the true impression of the early-season gulf between the two conferences. The Oilers may be struggling early on, but they’ve beaten teams in the east pretty bad this season. Also, the East has two really bad teams in the Florida Panthers and the Buffalo Sabres.
The time is not as daunting for the west clubs as it seems to be a little easier to go from west to east than vice versa. The West was 43-14-7 against the East at home and 44-24-9 against the East on the road as of Thursday morning.
However, the domination does look a tad misleading as the league’s schedule has mostly been out of conference games. That will change later on in the year and the Western teams will get a chance to beat up on each other. I do think the West has a better shot at winning the title. (As I predicted earlier in the year.) I do think it will even out, but the west is clearly the best… for the moment.
Here are some games to watch this weekend
Pittsburgh at Montreal, 7 p.m. ET (CBC (regional), RDS, ROOT Pittsburgh): Sid used to terrorize rinks in Quebec when he was in juniors. Can he make Carey pay the Price? (Sorry for the pun.)
Washington at Toronto, 7 p.m. ET (CBC (regional), NHLN, CS+): Alex Ovechkin gets to show off his skills on prime time in Canada.
Chicago at Vancouver, 10 p.m. ET (CBC. NHLN, WGN): These two have a long playoff history against each other.
And now it’s time for my favorite segment of the week. It’s the First Star, Worst Star and Who Blew up the Death Star?
Goals get love, but check out Ottawa’s Clarke MacArthur’s nice little pass to assist Kyle Turris against Minnesota.
Remember how the Buffalo Sabres had a major housecleaning? It seems that they made a huge move… for Charlie Sheen. Pat Lafontaine is making a splash… head-first… into a pool with no water.
Who Blew Up the Death Star?
Everyone loves holiday promotions and jerseys, but the ECHL’s Reading Royals are going their best Elton John impression and doing a “Step Into Christmas” with these sweaters.
That’s it for this week. Take care
Dan Mount is an NHL and college football writer for TJRSports.com. He is based out of Watertown, N.Y.