Battle Between Bettman and Balsillie Heating to a Boil

May 16, 2009

By Martin Avery… The latest motions by the NHL mark the fiercest attack yet on Jerry Moyes and Jim Balsillie.

The league says that Moyes cut a secret deal with Balsillie that flies in the face of the NHL’s rules.

The NHL called the deal between Balsillie and Phoenix Coyotes’ majority owner Moyes “a sham,” it has been reported by many sources.

Balsillie responded by insisting that his attempt to buy and move the Phoenix Coyotes is about the “passion Canadians feel for the game of hockey,” according to the Globe and Mail.

The NHL claimed Moyes and Balsillie “are attempting to use the court to eviscerate the NHL’s fundamental right to decide who will be members of the venture and where franchises will be located,” the Globe reported.

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Coyotes are trying to find out if the NHL’s deal to sell the team to the Chicago White Sox’s owner Jerry Reinsdorf is a legitimate offer or just the league crying wolf, according to Eric Morath of The Wall Street Journal.

In Toronto, a member of Provincial Parliament from Hamilton got consent from all the members of the Ontario legislature to wear a t-shirt promoting the idea of moving the Phoenix Coyotes to Ontario.

A tiger image on the back of his jersey symbolizes the long ago Hamilton Tigers, while a coyote image stands for the team Miller hopes will move to Hamilton from Phoenix.

Penguins’ Crosby, Coyotes’ Balsillie: Most Popular Canucks Since Gretzky

May 15, 2009

By Martin Avery… It’s hockey icon night and day in Canada, thanks to Sidney Crosby and Jim Balsillie.

Sidney Crosby, captain and leading scorer of the Pittsburgh Penguins, is enormously popular in Canada, and his popularity is soaring after his performance in Game Seven of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

Crosby scored two goals, added an assist, and his Penguins beat Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals 6-2. They chased rookie goalie Simeon Varlamov form the Caps net.

The Penguins are enormously popular in Pittsburgh these days, too, but a few years ago the franchise was in trouble and Jim Basillie offered to buy the team and move the Penguins to Canada.

To think it might be Sidney Crosby and the Hamilton Penguins heading for the Stanley Cup finals this year—and last year, too.

Now Balsillie is about as popular as Crosby in Canada for trying to move another NHL team north of the border. An incredible outpouring of support has met his attempt to turn the Phoenix Coyotes into the Hamilton Tigers.

Balsillie wants to bring Wayne Gretzky back to Canada, as the coach of the franchise, and re-name the Hamilton arena after another Canadian icon, the coach’s father, Walter Gretzky.

When Sidney Crosby and the Penguin’s play Wayne Gretzky’s Hamilton Tigers at the Walter Gretzky arena, it will definitely be hockey icon night in Canada.

If that happens, Balsillie could not be more popular in Canada if he gave everybody in the country a free BlackBerry.

Canada-Russia: World Championships Decide Who’s Best in the History of Hockey

May 10, 2009

By Martin Avery… Playing just days after two Canadian diplomats were kicked out of Russia, the final game in the 2009 World Championships will decide not only who gets gold and silver but who takes the lead in the history of battles between the two best teams in international hockey.

The Russians plus the Soviet have 24 world championship and so does a little country called Canada. It’s David versus Goliath and David (Canada) is favored to win this one.

Sweden won the bronze medal, defeating a surprising young team from the USA.

The Russians have 15 players returning from last year’s team and the Canadians have six. The Canuck team has five of the tournaments top scorers.

Martin St. Louis has 15 points in eight game,s and Steven Stamkos is tied for the tournament lead with seven goals.

Shea Weber, Dany Heatley and Jason Spezza have also scored lots of goals for Canada…

Canada entered the 2009 IIHF World Hockey Championship tied for first place with Russia in the pre-tournament world rankings and could take the lead in the rankings.

They had a strong start to this tournament and lost just one game but the Russians went undefeated.

Canada has topped the world rankings for years, but this is the first time Russia has sat atop the rankings since the format was introduced by the IIHF in 2004.

Both Canada and Russia have 2,000 points, but that will not affect the seeding for the upcoming 2010 Olympic Winter Games in Vancouver.

Canada is the No. 1 seed based on the results of the 2008 tournament played in Canada.

Shane Doan, who wore the “C” when Canada won in Moscow in 2007 and lost in Quebec City last year, was named captain for Canada again.

The 32-year-old captain of the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes said anything less than gold will be a disappointment. He also talked about the “bitter taste” left in his mouth following last year’s heart-breaking overtime loss to Russia in the final.

Leading 4-2 with 10 minutes to play in the final period, Canada somehow lost the game. Ilya Kovalchuk scored the overtime winner while Rick Nash sat in the penalty box serving a delay-of-game penalty for shooting the puck over the glass.

The New NHL: Hamilton Coyotes, Kansas Islanders, and Quebec Panthers?

May 9, 2009

By Martin Avery… The NHL has been evolving the way Commissioner Gary Bettman wants, but sometimes evolution is unpredictable. You know what Mark Twain said about evolution: “While the rest of the species is descended from apes, redheads are descended from cats.”

Canada’s BlackBerry billionaire Jim Balsillie is trying to buy the Phoenix Coyotes and make them Canada’s seventh NHL franchise. Russian natural gas billionaire Alexander Medvedev recently stated his desire to buy an American NHL team and move it to Quebec City. Another group is trying to get a second NHL team for Toronto.

Kansas City is rumored to be talking to Charles Wang about moving the New York Islanders. Winnipeg still wants the Jets to return.

Writer Tom DeMatteo recently predicted this realignment for the NHL:

Northeast Division: Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton, Buffalo

Atlantic Division: Boston, New York Islanders, New York Rangers, New Jersey, Philadelphia

Southeast Division: No changes.

Central Division: Detroit, Chicago, St. Louis, Columbus, Pittsburgh

Pacific Division: Vancouver, Colorado, San Jose, Los Angeles, Anaheim

The “I’m not sure what to call it” Division: Nashville, Dallas, Minnesota, Calgary, Edmonton

With two teams in Toronto, one in Quebec, and one in Winnipeg, plus the Islanders in Kansas City, I see it this way:

Great Lakes Division: Toronto, Toronto, Hamilton, Buffalo, Detroit

Northeast Division: Montreal, Quebec, Ottawa, Boston, New York, New Jersey

Prairie Division: Edmonton, Winnipeg, Minnesota, Chicago, Colorado

Western Division: Vancouver, Calgary, San Jose, Anaheim, L.A.

Central Division: Kansas City, Nashville, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Carolina

Southern Division: Washington, Atlanta, Tampa Bay, Dallas, St. Louis

That’s the way I can see it in the near future. But in the not-too-distant future, I see it this way:

Canadian Division: Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Winnipeg, Hamilton, Toronto, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec

American Division: Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Detroit, Chicago, Columbus, Minnesota, L.A., Anaheim

Russian Division: Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Omsk, Checkhov, Minsk, Latvia, Belarus

European Division: Prague, Stockholm, Berlin, Cologne, Salzburg, Helsinki, Tappara, Turku, Tampere, Gothenburg

By that time, the National Hockey League will have evolved into the International Hockey League or the Global Hockey League.

Evgeni Malkin Upstages Sidney Crosby, Alex Ovechkin in Game Three

May 7, 2009

By Martin Avery… While Alex Ovechkin got a goal and an assist and Sidney Crosby got two assists, it was Evgeni Malkin who upstaged these two high-profile superstars for a change in game three.

After Ovechkin and Crosby each got hat-tricks in game two, it was finally Malkin’s turn to shine, logging one goal and leading the Pittsburgh Penguins for long periods throughout the game against the Washington Capitals.

Malkin gave the Penguins the lead at the 15-minute mark of the third period. It looked like the game-winner until Ovechkin set up a goal that sent the teams into overtime.

Crosby won the final faceoff in the first overtime period, and Mark Eaton got the puck to Kris Letang, who got his first playoff goal. It was not beautiful but it was huge.

The Capitals won the first two games at home and now the Penguins have won their first game at home. The Penguins had almost twice as many shots on net as the Caps.

Malkin was named the No. 1 star of the game.

Ovechkin and Crosby Get Hat Tricks, but Varlamov Wins Second Game

May 5, 2009

By Martin Avery… It’s Ali-Frazier, Bird-Magic, Borg-McEnroe, it’s Alex Ovechkin, Sidney Crosby facing off against each other as the Washington Capitals meet the Pittsburgh Penguins in the Quarter Finals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In the second game of the second round of the playoffs, the two superstars scored hat-tricks. That’s theatre! The Great 8 and Sid the Kid put on a great show.

The debate about Ovechkin versus Crosby appears to be over. Now the debate is about Ovechkin being like Charles Barkley or Michael Jordan.

Ovechkin and Crosby both had their first career playoff hat tricks last night. They’ve both got four goals in a series in which they’ve both been routinely spectacular.

Crosby has scored seven goals in his last five games; Ovechkin has seven in his last six. Ovechkin has victories in his last five, including the last two at home in Washington, where the Capitals fans went wild, throwing hats on the ice for his hat-trick.

Ovechkin scored twice in the third period for his hat-trick. Crosby completed his hat trick with a power-play goal with 30.4 seconds left with Evgeni Malkin standing right beside him in front of the Capitals net.

The Penguins looked like they would be the winners for most of the game, and split the first two games of the quarterfinals in Washington, until Ovechkin’s heroics in the third period.

They were making a statement about what would be waiting for Washington when they went on the road to play the next two games against the Penguins. Malkin has not yet shown what he can do in this series.

The third star of the game, after Ovechkin and Crosby, was the Caps’ goalie, Simeon Varlamov, who had his best game yet.

The Caps won 4-3 to take a 2-0 lead in the second-round NHL playoff series thanks to three goals from Ovechkin. The Eastern Conference semi-final now moves to Pittsburgh for Games 3 and 4.

Top 10 Trout Fishing Spots in Ontario

April 25, 2009

By Martin Avery… “”Excuse me, I said. I thought you were a trout stream.”
“I’m not, she said.”
— Richard Brautigan (Trout Fishing in America)

The Zen-like experience of fly-fishing can be experienced by other fishermen and non-anglers, too, of course. Here’s my guide to fishing in Ontario.

With this year’s trout fishing season set to open, it’s time to get out the tackle, find your waders and head for the stream. Maybe you are thinking of getting into the kayak craze.

A kayak let’s you get into remote hot spots no other angler can reach.

Springtime in Canada can be a wild time in the outdoors, with winter slowly giving way to longer days and warmer weather. For trout fishing enthusiasts, that often means dealing with hazards, from lingering ice to cranky bears emerging from their dens.

Many trout waters are most productive right at ice-out, but you need to be extra cautious about lingering ice and be ready for a challenge.

When a large portion of the waterbody is still covered in ice, or chunks are still floating around, vertical fishing with a jig may be your only option, since casting and trolling will be too difficult.

Use a stable boat and avoid heavily iced areas. When wading this time of year, keeping an eye out for fast, high water, as well as chunks of ice.

There are many types of trout to fish for in Ontario. Our lakes are teeming with both Lake Trout and Brook (Speckled) Trout.

Lake trout like the cold, dark depths of deep lakes. The bigger lakers in the region can exceed 30 pounds.

Community activists are giving the Ontario government low marks for its response to a series of attacks on Asian anglers since 2007. A number of Asians had been harassed by people demanding to see their fishing permits and inspect their catch, resulting in some anglers being pushed into the water or attacked in other ways.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission released its final report on the Inquiry into Assaults on Asian Canadian Anglers. Entitled Fishing without Fear: Follow-up report on the Inquiry into Assaults on Asian Canadian Anglers.

Those warnings and that controversy aside, here’s my top 10 list.

1. The lakes and rivers around Tweed, north of Belleville, beside The Zen Forest, are famous for muskies, but the trout fishing is also good.

In 1996 the town made news when it applied for a CFL team, in an attempt to become the Green Bay of Canada. Had the attempt been successful, the team would have been known as the Tweed Muskies.

Tweed is also known for some good swimming and awesome fishing spots. Lake Stoco, which borders the town, is home to the popular sport-fish, the muskellunge or Muskie

Perry’s Tackle Wholesale Distributor - Perry’s Tackle is a Canadian distributor of wholesale tackle located in Tweed, Ontario.

I don’t know if the Zen Forest Retreat is open. It appears to have disappeared. I can’t find it on-line and a machine takes phone messages.

2. Lake Scugog, pronounced skew-gawg, beside Port Perry, is a man-made lake.  The old river bed is marked by buoys.

The lake is shallow and the waters are murky and very weedy. The dark waters are a perfect home for the elusive walleye.

3. My favorite fishing hole is the Muskoka River, around Bracebridge. It has the most waterfalls of any municipality in the world.

Fishing here is focused on smallmouth bass, largemouth bass, northern pike and walleye, on Lake Muskoka, Rosseacuh, Lake of Bays, and Lake Joseph, as well as the Muskoka River.

4. Owen Sound is Salmon Fishing City but it’s good for trout fishing, too. This part of Georgian Bay is very deep, cold and clean, making our tasty fish 100 percent edible.

The Sound is sheltered from prevailing winds and the waters over Owen Sound are remarkable for several reasons.

Lake Effect Snow with 80 inches of snow and long, long weeks of dull gray weather doesn’t deter salmon anglers on Owen Sound.

To combat the Great Gray Funk (or the Seasonal Affective Disorder) lots of locals go salmon fishing. There are heavy runs of salmon and trout.

5. Lake Huron: The top 25 fish in last year’s CFPS Chantry Chinook Classic on the east end of Lake Huron weighed in at more than 22 pounds each, with the largest tipping the scales at 26.08 pounds.

There’s over 90 miles of shoreline on the east side of Lake Huron. Off Sauble Beach, a runs of five to six miles is required.

6. The Almaguin Highlands, north of Muskoka, in the Near North of Ontario has been ranked by many as one of the top 10 places to fish in Canada.

There is a series of lakes that stretch for miles giving you a hundred miles of shoreline with great fishing spots. Six-pound small mouth bass are not uncommon here.

Almaguin Highlands has hundreds of lakes, rivers and streams is probably one of the most overlooked in Ontario for its quality sport fishing

7. Lake Nipissing, north of the Almaguin Highlands, is the fifth-largest lake in Ontario. It is relatively shallow for a large lake, with an average depth of only 4.5 m (14.8 ft).

The little city of North Bay sits along the lake’s northeastern shoreline. The lake has over 40 different species of fish.

Most anglers target walleye, smallmouth bass, muskie, and northern pike.

8. Lake Ontario: Held each summer on Lake Ontario, the Great Ontario Salmon Hunt is Canada’s largest tournament.

Last year approximately 14,000 anglers vied to be the first to reel in a specially tagged salmon worth $1 million.

The biggest fish caught during last year’s 50-day event, meanwhile, was a tournament record: a 46.38-pound chinook.

The most popular harbours are Bronte, Port Credit, Bluffers Park (Scarborough), Oshawa, Port Hope, and Wellington.

9. Fishing in the nation’s largest urban centre may sound strange but there are lots of places to go fishing in Toronto.

Tournament-worthy smallmouth bass surround the Toronto Islands. There are pike in Toronto harbour.

Big carp haunting the Humber River marsh in the west end and in G. Ross Lord Park.

The Rouge River is known for perch. So is Tommy Thompson Park (Leslie Spit) in the inner lagoon just after ice-out.

10. Lake Simcoe, off Jackson’s Point and out from Willow Rocks, in water between 65-75 feet deep, is very popular. You’ll see a flotilla of boats.

P.S. I haven’t been fishing for decades but I’ve been to all of the above places, over the years, for the Zen experience of fishing. I’ve kayaked and canoed in these places and eaten trout or salmon from the northern spots.

Second NHL Team for Toronto and the Gretzky Connection

April 24, 2009

By Martin Avery… A growing number of NHL governors and owners believe a second franchise for Toronto is a good idea, according to the Globe and Mail.

NHL deputy commissioner Billy Daly met with a group in Toronto to talk about a second team in the greater Toronto area, it has been reported widely. NHL Players’ Association executive director Paul Kelly also took part in the two and a half hour meeting.

The location for the new team and arena is in Vaughan, a city just north of Toronto, one of Canada’s fastest growing municipalities, on land owned by businessman Victor De Zen.

News of the meeting between Daly and a group fronted by Kevin Maguire, a former Toronto Maple Leafs player, arrived at the same time as rumors the NHL would take over the Phoenix Coyotes for financial reasons.

Many pundits quickly put two and two together and concluded the Phoenix Coyotes could be moving to Vaughan.

“The city above Toronto”, as its known, is where Wayne Gretzky played junior hockey. Gretzky now coaches the Phoenix Coyotes.

Gretzky played for the Toronto Nationals of the now defunct Tier II Junior “A” ice hockey league, which was a part of the Ontario Provincial Junior A Hockey League and the Metro Junior B Hockey League.

The14-year-old Gretzky challenged the wishes of the Canadian Amateur Hockey Association to sign with the Toronto Nationals. Gretzky had played two seasons with the Nationals and scored 63 goals for 132 points in just 60 games.

The Nationals won the 1977 Metro championship, led by Gretzky with 75 points in 23 playoff games. The next season he signed with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds just before turning professional.

The NHL’s front office denied they were making plans to add a second National Hockey League franchise in the Toronto area. Members of the group  fronted by Maguire were told by Daly that the NHL is not ready to expand or relocate one of its struggling franchises at this time.

Rumours of a potential second team in the GTA have been circulating for more than half a year and made headlines for 24 hours.

“Second NHL team in GTA?” the Toronto Star headline read.

“What’s a good name for a second Toronto NHL franchise?” the National Post asked.

“NHL meets with business group hoping to score another team for Toronto” the Globe and Mail headline said.

“Secret backers look to launch NHL team in Vaughan” was the headline in CP24.

“Vaughan could be home to new NHL team” the
680 News reported.

“New Toronto NHL team makes sense” the Hamilton Spectator headline said.

Maguire declined to identify the members of the group.

Vaughan mayor Linda Jackson came out in support of the idea. She said that getting an NHL team would be a massive shot in the arm for the City of Vaughan and a benefit for hockey fans across the GTA.

Maguire said his group wanted the NHL to know that if they ever change their mind, the City of Vaughan would be the best option and the proposed site the best location.

Maguire played for the Leafs in the 1986-87 season and then played three seasons for the Sabres and the Philadelphia Flyers before returning to the Leafs in 1990 for two more years. The Toronto native later worked as an NHL referee.

A fee as high as $200 million would have to be paid to the Toronto Maple Leafs to waive their territorial rights under NHL by-laws.

Meet The New No. 1 Pick In the 2009 NHL Entry Draft: Matt Duchene

April 22, 2009

By Martin Avery… The Red Line Report now ranks John Tavares as the third-best prospect in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft. Matt Duchene has replaced him at the No. 1 spot.

Red Line Report rated Tavares the third-best prospect behind Sweden’s Victor Hedman and Brampton Battalian centre Matt Duchene in its preliminary rankings, it has been reported widely.

Duchene’s Battalion leads the Belleville Bulls, 2-1, in the the OHL’s semifinals, and Tavare’s London Knights are down 3-1 to the Windsor Spitfires. Tavare’s team is facing elimination.

According to the scouting service, Tavares’s stock plummeted as a result of his performance in the OHL playoffs.

The New York Islanders have first pick in the draft and were expected to select Tavares but Islanders GM Garth Snow is on the record saying he wanted to review the top prospects.

The Colorado Avalanche have stated their intentions of landing Duchene. He comes from a village a hundred miles north of Toronto, which should make the Toronto Maple Leafs interested in him.

Who is Matt Duchene? He is known in some quarters as the most well rounded player in the draft. He is very fast, a great passer, kills penalties, and has a good shot, too.

Some compare him to Zach Parise for his perpetual motion. The Colorado Avalanche compare him to Joe Sakic and seem as his possible replacement, according to the Denver Post.

Matt Duchene of the Brampton Battalion is the Bobby Smith Trophy winner as the OHL’s Scholastic Player of the Year, according to Our Sports Central. Duchene attended Turner Fenton Secondary School in Brampton while playing for the Battalion.

He is keeping up with six courses including Grade 12 University classes. He has an 85 percent average in English and 82 in Law.

Duchene has an overall average of 85 percent and has been described by teachers as being a leader and a role model in class.

In his second season with the Battalion, Duchene scored 31 goals and 48 assists for 79 points in 57 games ranking 14th in league scoring.

He scored 25 multi-point games including a five-point game with a hat-trick and two assists January 8th in a 6-2 win over the Sudbury Wolves as first star of the game.
He also represented the Battalion and the Eastern Conference at the 2009 OHL All-Star Classic.

The Bobby Smith Trophy is presented to the OHL Scholastic Player of the year who best combines high standards of play and academic excellence. The trophy is in honour of Bobby Smith, who exhibited a standard of excellence in both of these areas.

Duchene was born in 1991 in Peterborough and the village of Haliburton, near Algonquin Park, is his hometown.

He is 5-foot-11, weighs 190, plays centre, and shoots left. He is the captain of the Brampton Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League, according to their webpage.

Haliburton is the original home of NHL players Ron Stackhouse and Bernie Nicholls. Camp Rock was filmed there.

Duchene was the Battalion’s first round choice in the 2007 OHL Priority Selection after a stellar 2006-07 season with the Central Ontario Wolves AAA minor midgets and the Haliburton Highlands Secondary School team.

In 52 games with the Central Ontario Wolves AAA Minor Mid, Duchene scored 69 goals and added another 37 assists for a total of 106 points. 

In his first season in the OHL, last year, in 64 games with the Brampton Battalion, he netted 30 goals and added 20 assists for a total of 50 points.

He completed his rookie season in April by leading Canada’s gold medal winning team in goals at the 2008 IIHF under-18 championship at Russia and he scored five goals in seven games.

He was captain of Canada’s championship team at the 2008 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament in the Czech Republic in August 2008, earning his third international gold medal in less than eight months.

He led Canada’s gold medal-winning team in goals at the 2008 IIHF under-18 championship at Russia. He was one of four underage players on the Canadian squad.
He became the only first-year player in Battalion history to record two three-goal games.

He was the leading scorer for gold medal-winning Team Ontario at the 2008 World Under-17 Challenge at London, Ontario, scoring four goals and adding six assists for 10 points in six games.

He is the nephew of Anaheim Ducks’ assistant coach Newell Brown, who was a member of the 1980 Memorial Cup champion Cornwall Royals. His cousin Adam Brown is a rookie goaltender with the Kelowna Rockets of the WHL.

He started playing organized hockey with the Haliburton Huskies when he was four, and one year later joined players who were two years older.

His father, Vince, was a goaltender for the Minden Monarchs who won the all-Ontario juvenile championship in 1984-85.

Duchene competes in several other sports and won a bronze medal in discus at the 2006 OFSSAA track and field championships. He also plays competitive soccer and badminton, enjoys fishing for walleye and lake trout.

Rangers, Canadiens, Penguins, Hurricanes, Flyers All Fighting for Positioning

April 10, 2009

by Martin Avery… With just one regular-season game left for most of them, the New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens, Pittsburgh Penguins, Carolina Hurricanes, and Philadelphia Flyers have all clinched Playoff spots but are still fighting for positioning or home-ice advantage.

The Rangers have the longest win streak going of the eight teams heading for the Eastern Conference side of the postseason.

New York and Montreal are tied at 93 points. The Rangers are ahead of the Canadiens in the standings, as they have one more win, but a Montreal win against Pittsburgh on Saturday and a New York loss in their final game against those same Penguins could reverse their positions.

Pittsburgh has 97 points, just like Carolina and Philadelphia. A Penguins win against Montreal would put them in fourth place with home-ice advantage, assuming Carolina loses their last game and the Flyers lose their last two games.

The Flyers have lost their last two games to the Rangers but beat them the last time the two teams met in Philly. Of course, the Rangers get Friday and Saturday off to prepare for their Sunday game against the Flyers while Philadelphia plays the New York Islanders on Saturday.

If the Flyers beat the Islanders on Saturday but lose at home to the Rangers on Sunday, they’ll finish the season with 99 points, and the Rangers will finish with 95. That should be good for seventh for the Rangers, ahead of the Canadiens.

But keep in mind that the Penguins are likely to win their last game (against Montreal), which would leave the Flyers and Penguins tied at 99 at the end of the campaign.

Carolina’s last game is at the New Jersey Devils, but that team is 3-6-1 in their last ten games, while the ‘Canes are 9-1-0 in their last ten.

There’s a possibility that Carolina would end the season in a deadlock with the Flyers in the Penguins (if they all wrap with 99). The rules state that if two or more clubs are tied in points at the end of the regular season, the standing of the clubs is determined by the number of games won and then the greater number of points earned in games between the tied clubs.

In short, the standings in the Eastern Conference could very well stay the same as they are right now. That would mean the Boston Bruins would play the Montreal Canadiens in the first round of the Playoffs, Alex Ovechkin and the Washington Capitals would “welcome” Sean Avery and the revamped Rangers, the Devils would host (but not roast) the Penguins, and the Flyers would fight the Hurricanes.

Hockey fans in the East may be hoping for a Boston-New York series after Tim Thomas fought with Sean Avery in their last game and a Washington-Pittsburgh series to see Ovechkin against Malkin and Crosby, but these series look unlikely.

Of course, there’s a second round of postseason action to look forward to.

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