For someone coming off a 26 goal campaign in 68 games (which equates to 31 goals if he played 82 games)...this criticism seems awfully harsh.
He might be past his prime and what he's able to bring to the table will start to decline, but demonizing him like this is a massive slap in the face to what he's provided this team over the years. He's coming off his best season ever!
He's not a top tier talent nor is he expected to be, he's a hard working player who battles and shows up for key games. Not only that, but he's very versatile and can play on any line, doesn't gripe when he gets demoted, plays the same hard working game. What's not to like?
I haven't read this whole thread, so maybe its been mentioned elsewhere...but...is it just me or has Ericcson been playing a very solid game recently, especially on the defensive side where his positioning is solid and decision making is much much better.
This might open the door to a European conference since you could set it up to only have a couple of road trips under the new format. Not saying I'm a fan of international expansion, but hasn't Bettman mentioned that in the past?
I must be on something, but I love this change. The return of INTENSE rivalries and divisional hatred will be astounding given the amount of times you'll see the same teams during the regular season and in the first and second round. Plus, the chance to play teams like the Canucks and Sharks in the Stanley Cup finals. Finally, the improved travel schedule should provide the wings the extra juice they need when making a deep run in the playoffs. Bravo Bettman, one of the few good things you've done.
And LMAO at the Wings being one of the teams that voted against this, they basically got exactly what they were looking for, a dramatically improved travel schedule.
Losing Rafalski's outstanding passing abilities certainly isn't helping in this department. Again, Ian White was a good pickup any day of the week, but let's be clear about one thing: we absolutely have not replaced Brian Rafalski yet. Not even close.
You wanna be really depressed, imagine what happens if we lose Lidstrom after this year.