The NHL schedule was release earlier this weekend with the Red Wings starting their first season in the Eastern Conference against the Buffalo Sabers on Wednesday, October 2. Detroit will start the preseason on Monday, September 16 at Pittsburgh against the Penguins.
Detroit is in the Atlantic Division which along with the new Metropolitan Division, will make up the Eastern Conference. In the Western Conference we have the Pacific and Central Divisions, here is a list and a map of which team is in each division:
Now what this has done is made it easier for a team in the Western Conference to make the playoffs as opposed to an Eastern Conference team. The reason? Both leagues have eight playoff spots available, but the West has only 14 teams and the East has 16. Fewer teams to beat out in the West, so better odds to make it.
What the new division means for Detroit, they took one of the best players from two new rivals via free agency in Alfredsson and Weiss. And the December 1 game at Ottawa and December 10 at Florida will have a little added excitement.
In non-scheduling news, it came out on Friday that CSKA Moscow in the KHL and their GM, former Red Wing Sergei Fedorov, met with and made a contract offer just days before Pavel Datsuyk decided to resign here in Detroit.
This is from Fedorov:
Unfortunately for us, Pavel extended his contract with Detroit. I had a meeting with him a few days before the signing. We had the chance to get Pavel in a year’s time, but as a person who knows what the NHL is all about, I understand perfectly well why he did what he did.
He said: ‘I want to grow as a player and I think that for me the best option is to stay in the NHL.’
Now all I have to say is thank goodness Dats was not tempted by the crazy amount of KHL money they have to offer and wanted to finish his career in Detroit. I think that without a strong playoff showing last season that this may have been a harder decision, but coming within one game of beating the Blackhawks and potentially winning the Cup renewed his desire to be here.
Finally it was announced today that Mike Babcock will once again be the head coach of the Canadian Olympic team in 2014, and that NHL players will be allowed by the schedule to participate. Congrats to coach Babcock and I hope he leads his team to a Silver Medal, losing to the USA of course. Hopefully his Canadian pride can help relieve the pain of having to send Sidney Crosby over the boards on a nightly basis.