Red Wings best team in the West?


Babcock.jpgWhen you look at the Eastern Conference, it’s easy to say who the
best teams in the conference are. The Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh
Penguins, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres are all firmly entrenched
on a tier well above the rest of the Eastern teams.

Yet when it comes to the West, that’s a tougher nut to crack. Just a
few months back you could say it was San Jose, Colorado, Chicago, Los
Angeles…..but now? The Blackhawks and the Avalanche are stumbling, the
Kings are showing their youth and inexperience and the Sharks are just
now starting to again. So which teams would be the ones to look out for
the most once the playoffs start?

Red Wings coach Mike Babcock is unsure himself, per
Dana Wakiji of The Detroit News:

“I think Chicago’s (99 points before hosting Columbus on
Sunday) probably the best team in the West, but San Jose might be,”
Babcock said.

“I guess that’s what I’m trying to say is I don’t
know if you interview 10 people if they’d all give you the same three.
That’s how tight the league is now and obviously with our experience,
if we can get into the tournament, we feel we have a chance.”

Babcock is obviously playing coy here. There’s no doubt that the Red
Wings are playing the best overall hockey in the West right now (perhaps
in the NHL), and as this veteran and experienced team gears up for the
playoffs they are perhaps the one team that nobody wants to face. The
Red Wings have a great chance to move up as high as fifth in the
conference, and could even threaten the Blackhawks for the division

That such a thing is even possible, after such a slow
start, is remarkable.

There’s still a long way to go before we
call this season a complete comeback. Jimmy Howard could fall apart in
the playoffs and the Red Wings head for an early, first round exit. Or
we could see Detroit threatening for yet another — it’s not fair! —
Stanley Cup. Either outcome wouldn’t surprise me.

Kings, NHLPA announce settlement in Richards grievance

Los Angeles Kings v New York Rangers

The Los Angeles Kings announced today that they have “reached an agreement with Mike Richards to resolve the grievance filed in relation to the termination of his NHL Standard Players Contract. The terms are agreeable to all parties.”

The club said that it will not be commenting further “on the terms” of the settlement.

The NHLPA released a similar statement.

It was reported earlier in the week that a settlement was close to being reached; however, it wasn’t clear what salary-cap penalties the Kings would incur.

We’re starting to find out some details now:

How the final numbers differ from what the Kings would have incurred if they’d bought Richards out will be interesting to see. And if there are differences, how will they be justified?

Stay tuned.

Report: Ex-NHLer Aaron Ward arrested for ‘assault on a female’ (Updated)

Brad May, Kevin Hodson, Jiri Fischer, Aaron Ward

Aaron Ward, a 16-year NHL veteran that appeared in over 800 career games, has been arrested for “assault on a female,” per WNCN.

Ward was arrested on Friday in Cary, North Carolina and also charged with interfering with emergency communication, according to the report.

Currently working as an analyst for TSN, Ward spent five years of his career in Carolina, helping the ‘Canes capture the Stanley Cup in 2006.

Update: Per WRAL, Ward’s wife called 9-1-1 after the two had a confrontation around 1 p.m. ET. Police confirmed Ward was arrested at his home in Cary.

According to the warrant for his arrest, he took away his wife’s phone.

Because of the nature of his charges, Ward will spend a mandatory 48 hours in the Wake County jail. Anyone arrested on a domestic violence charge is held for 48 hours before bail is set.

And here’s a statement from TSN: