Most Blackhawks fans probably think Chicago’s better off losing to Detroit on Saturday (1:00 p.m ET, NBC) and thus finishing the season with the sixth seed. After all, the third seed will go against the Pacific Division winner, who will have an inferior record to Chicago. However, if Chicago does beat Detroit in regulation time, then the Blackhawks will finish in fifth place and be forced to play an arguably tougher Nashville Predators squad. That might not appeal to some, but Viktor Stalberg thinks playing the Predators instead of the Pacific Division winner in the first round might not be a bad thing.
“You guys talk about staying away from Nashville, but I don’t know if that would be that bad. I wouldn’t mind playing a team a little closer,” said Viktor Stalberg. “It takes a toll on your body, going out west. If you’re going to win, you’re going to have to go through some good teams, no matter what the round. I don’t think anyone just wants to get by the first round. From my own preference, it would be to play a team that’s closer.”
He’s of course right when he says that the team will eventually have to face some tough opponents if they want to win the Stanley Cup. Getting the fifth seed over the sixth might not look like the best option in the short term, but playing against a closer opponent and owning a higher seed might help them in the long run.
Tim Gleason has likely played his last NHL game. The 32-year-old defenseman has informed the Carolina Hurricanes that he no longer wishes to continue his professional tryout.
“Tim informed us today he wasn’t going to continue to pursue his tryout,” said GM Ron Francis, per the club’s website. “He looked and felt good physically, but didn’t feel up to the grind of the NHL mentally.”
“We got outcompeted in the second period, badly,” Mark Letestu told the team’s website. “Whether it was little puck battles or even just executing on systems. It played right into their game. When you get behind a team like this that’s so dominant in the circle it’s tough to generate chances to come back. We didn’t deserve to win this one at all.”
As if things weren’t bad enough, the Oilers also lost Nail Yakupovto injury after a linesman (yes, a linesman) fell on top of him.
After the game, head coach Todd McLellan didn’t hold back:
"That's a really disappointing effort from our hockey club… We weren't a very determined team." McLellan on the #Oilers defeat