2010 NHL playoffs: Eastern Conference seedings update

Here’s the latest Eastern Conference standings, as three teams fight
for two playoff spots.


There is still some very important seeding to be figured, on top of
the battle for the bottom two playoff spots. The New Jersey Devils and
Pittsburgh Penguins are locked in a fight for the Atlantic division
title, and while the Canadians, Flyers, Rangers and Bruins all want to
just get into the playoffs, finishing anywhere other than 8th in the
conference would be ideal as well.

After the jump, remaining games and seeding possibilities for the
Eastern teams.

1. Washington Capitals (120 points)

vs. Boston Bruins, Sunday @ 12:30 p.m. EDT


2. New Jersey Devils (99 points)

vs. NY Islanders, tonight @ 7 p.m. EDT; vs. Buffalo Sabres,
Sunday @ 3 p.m. EDT

Seeding possibilites: The Devils are
deadlocked with the Penguins in points and record, but hold the
tiebreakers over Pittsburgh. Win out, and New Jersey is assured of the
division title and the #2 seed.

3. Buffalo Sabres (98

Remaining games: @Ottawa Senators, tonight @
7 p.m. EDT; @New Jersey Devils, Sunday @ 3 p.m. EDT

The Sabres can finish no lower than 3rd in the East,
and could be playing for the 2nd seed tomorrow afternoon against the

4. Pittsburgh Penguins (99 points)

@Atlanta Thrashers, tonight @ 7 p.m. EDT; @NY Islanders,
Sunday @ 5 p.m. EDT

Seeding possibilities: The Penguins
need the New Jersey Devils to lose of their remaining games, since if
both teams win out then New Jersey will win the division title. The
Penguins can finish no lower than 4th in the East.

5. Ottawa
Senators: (94 points)

Remaining game: vs. Buffalo
Sabres, tonight @ 7 p.m. EDT

Seeding possibilities: None.
The Senators are locked in the 5th seed.

6. Boston Bruins:
(89 points)

Remaining game: @Washington Capitals,
Sunday @ 12:30 p.m. EDT

Seeding possibilities: The Bruins
are assured a playoff spot, but could finish either in 6th or 7th.
Tomorrow’s game against the Capitals will not be a first-round preview,
as neither the Flyers nor the Rangers can overtake the Bruins. One point
against the Caps, and the Bruins get the 6th seed.

Montreal Canadiens (87 points)

Remaining game: vs.
Toronto Maple Leafs, tonight @ 7 p.m. EDT

Playoff implications:
The Canadiens desperately need just one point, and they are assured
a playoff spot. They can finish no higher than 7th, but lose tonight
and the Habs face the possibility of missing the playoffs. How? If the
Rangers win over the Flyers in overtime or the shootout, with a Habs
regulation loss, then the Habs will be the odd team out with 87 points
and losing on tiebreakers.

8. Philadelphia Flyers (86

Remaining game: vs. NY Rangers, Sunday @ 3
p.m. EDT

Playoff implications: Simple, win and the Rangers
are in the playoffs. As stated above, the Flyers could back into the
playoffs with an overtime or shootout loss if the Habs lose tonight. If
Montreal gets just one point against Toronto, then tomorrow’s game
becomes a win-and-in scenario.

9. NY Rangers (86 points)

@Philadelphia Flyers, Sunday @ 3 p.m. EDT

Win and the Rangers are in the playoffs. Even an
overtime or shootout loss does them no favors.

DiMaio named Blues’ director of player personnel

via St. Louis Blues
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The St. Louis Blues named Rob DiMaio their director of player personnel on Tuesday.

He’s been with the organization for some time. He joined as a pro scout in 2008 and was the pro scouting director starting in August 2012.

He was also a scout for the Dallas Stars before landing with the Blues (one would assume his biggest connection is GM Doug Armstrong, then).

In case his nose didn’t give it away, he also enjoyed a lengthy hockey career over 19 seasons.

No doubt about it, this is a pivotal season for the Blues after multiple campaigns in which strong regular seasons dissolved into playoff disappointments. Perhaps DiMaio can make a difference in a heightened role?

Hitchcock going to more aggressive attack for Blues

Ken Hitchcock

ST. LOUIS (AP) After three straight first-round playoff exits, the St. Louis Blues have learned to temper expectations.

They have been consistently among the NHL’s best in the regular season and realize it is past time to build something for the long haul. The sting still lingers from the latest failure, against the Minnesota Wild last spring.

“We’re all disappointed, everybody can agree on that,” defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said. “It’s never easy to kind of think about your failures, but we grow every time it happens.”

Management isn’t ready to tear it all down yet.

“We play, in my opinion, one of the toughest if not the toughest division in the NHL, and we’ve finished first or second in the last four years,” forward Alexander Steen said. “So we have an extremely powerful team.”

Maybe a change in strategy will be enough: Coach Ken Hitchcock is back with a mandate for a more aggressive, even reckless, style of play from a roster that hasn’t changed appreciably.

“We’re coming hard from the back and we’re coming hard to see how close we can get to the attack,” Hitchcock said. “I think it’s where the game’s at; I think it’s where the game’s going to go.”

The 63-year-old Hitchcock is pushing forward, too, unwilling to dwell on the flameouts. Coach and players agree that would be “wasted energy.”

“My opinion is when you sit and think about the past, you do yourself no good,” Hitchcock said. “If you learn from the past, that’s when you do yourself a whole bunch of good.”

There were only two major roster casualties. Forward Troy Brouwer came from Washington in a trade for fan favorite T.J. Oshie. Defenseman Barret Jackman, the franchise career leader in games, wasn’t re-signed.

“If you were expecting 23 new faces to be on the roster this year, I don’t think that was realistic,” captain David Backes said. “We’re going to miss those guys in the room and on the ice, but there has been some changeover and I think it’s pretty significant.”

Things to watch for with the Blues:

GOALIE SHUFFLE: Just like last year, there’s no true No. 1 with Brian Elliott and Jake Allen sharing duties. The 25-year-old Allen missed a chance to seize the job last spring when he failed to raise his level in the playoffs.

TOP THREAT: Vladimir Tarasenko had a breakout season with 37 goals and was rewarded with an eight-year, $60 million contract. The 23-year-old winger is by far the Blues’ most dangerous scoring option and said he won’t let the money affect his play. “I never worry about it,” Tarasenko said. “If you play good, you play good.”

NEW FACES: Brouwer and center Kyle Brodziak add a physical element that was perhaps lacking a bit last season. Brouwer has three 20-plus goal seasons and Brodziak, acquired from Minnesota, fills a checking role. Veteran forward Scottie Upshall got a one-year, two-way deal after being coming to camp as a tryout. Rookie forward Robby Fabbri, a first-round pick last year, will get an early look. Another promising youngster, forward Ty Rattie, begins the year at Chicago of the AHL.

RECOVERY WARD: Forward Jori Lehteri bounced back quickly from ankle surgery and opens the season without restrictions. Another forward, Patrik Berglund, could miss half of the season following shoulder surgery.

TRACK RECORD: The Blues won the Central Division last season and Hitchcock, fourth on the career list with 708 regular-season wins, has consistently had the team near the top of the standings. “He is our coach, tough cookies if you don’t like it,” Backes said. “From my experience, he puts together one heck of a game plan.”