Will Pens, Devils or Sabres gain East No. 2 seed?

devilspenguins.jpgEarlier today I broke down the Eastern Conference’s bottom three playoff spots and the four teams who have a good shot of filling them. My blog buddy Marty Vance took a look at the other end of the East spectrum, assessing which of the New Jersey Devils, Buffalo Sabres and Pittsburgh Penguins had the best chance to nab the second seed in the conference.

At this point; looking at these schedules, how can you not assume the Penguins are going to be grabbing the 2nd seed? But look a little closer. I could easily see both Pittsburgh and New Jersey having identical 2-1 records going into Sunday, or even really, New Jersey could be ahead by 2 points, having their most difficult game in their finale, while Pittsburgh plays Washington tonight.

… I don’t think anybody wants that 4 seed, with a first rounder against Ottawa, then most likely heading to Washington in the 2nd. Yikes.

Marty predicts that the order will turn out to be New Jersey at No. 2 with Buffalo in the third spot and Pittsburgh getting the tough hand at No. 4. I must agree with him because the Devils’ well-earned (seriously, 6-0 against the Penguins? That’s insane.) tiebreaker over Pittsburgh very well might be the ultimate factor.

It borders on poetic that – at least at this moment – the Penguins and Devils have the exact same record even though Pittsburgh dropped every game to New Jersey. For Buffalo, I figure there isn’t nearly as much anxiety involved with being a second seed versus being a third. Naturally they’d prefer the second seed, but a matchup against Montreal might actually be less strenuous than a grind-it-out series against Boston.

You’ve got to love the fact that there’s plenty of meaningful hockey to be played in this final week of regular season action.

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    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: