If the NHL did expand to 32 teams then I think it would have to adopt the 8 divisions of 4 approach like the NFL. Assuming Hamilton and Quebec city are going to be the new franchies, here's how I would align them according to Geography
Unfortunately that means we will still be stuck in the west and still have to travel a lot. But our divsion gets noticably easier with losing Nashville and St. Louis for a new expanshion franchise. And we still get to beat up on the Blue Jackets.
I don't think winning the cup in a shortened year qualifies as "cheap". Especially since over half the teams make the playoffs anyway. You still need to prove you're the best of the remaining sixteen. I could see if the season was only a dozen or so games. But 40 is still a large enough sample size to determine who gets into the post season and who doesn't.
Yep, goalies are often times are only as good as the defense in front.
Phoenix is a good example, Bryzgalov was much better there than in Philly, and Mike Smith was able to step in and put up amazing numbers. Minnesota - Backstrom's numbers were much better when they played a much more conservative defensive system. Pittsburgh - Fleury has never been great in my mind, but Pittsburgh has had much better defenses than they did last season.
Howard is the type of goalie you really like in the salary cap era, he's not going elite money, but will put up top 5 numbers when playing in front of a good defense(First half of last year and rookie season)
The problem with this is that he is not playing like a top five goalie at all. How many playoff games has he stolen for us since he was made the starter? Zero. In fact how many regular season games has he stolen at all? I'm not going to go back and count but I can imagine that the number can be counted on one hand. That's not "Top 5" caliber. Heck that's not even top ten caliber. Jimmy is the goalie that will have one or two really cool looking savings per game that all the fans will cheer and the announcers will go "OOOOH LOOK AT THAT JIMMY HOWARD". And then the rest of the game he's deflecting rebounds right back to shooters waiting in the slot.k Or he'll over play the puck and then have to dive back into the crease which will make a really awesome looking save, but one that was completely preventable in the first place.
The problem with Jimmy is not that he is average. Like I said earlier, you can do just fine with an average goalie. It's not that he's paid too much because right now he's being paid next to nothing. The problem is with this "top 5" attitude. He is not playing even close to that level and yet people seem to want to talk about him like he is. This of course is reflected in the front office's complete negligence of a defense.
Let's be honest, the Wings defense has been complained about for the last few years and it seems to be getting worse every time around. It's bad. When you combine an average goalie with a sub average defense, things are going to get messy. Now combine that with our EXTREMELY streaky offense and you're looking at a disaster scenario.
Was Jimmy the entire reason we lost against Nville? No. There is plenty of blame to be dished out to everyone on the time. But calling him a top 5 goalie? That has to be a joke.
Oh and one more thing that really bugs me. Saying "OH WELL JIMMY HAD NO CHANCE ON ALL THOSE GOALS" is a cop out. That's why elite goal tenders are elite. Because they DO stop those impossible redirections and one timers. Maybe it's luck. Maybe they are just that special. But they make those stops. And if you actually go back and look at the phoenix series, how many wrist shots from the top of the circle did Jimmy completely whiff on? I remember two crucial ones just off the top of my head. And even better, what about the one where he thought he had to play the puck in the corner. It's bad enough the defenders all goofed, but the goalie isn't supposed to be that far out ever. What was he thinking?
I'd respect him more if he publically called out the fans in the series for acting like classless fools. Chanting you suck in a line where Zetter forgives Weber and they both act classy should be a learning moment for the trashy Preds fans.
Have you been to the joe? We do that too. That's just how fans act during the game.