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.
Derek Roy will continue his pro career overseas, as he has signed a contract with Bern in the Swiss League.
Roy attended training camp on a professional tryout with the Washington Capitals, but he was unable to claim a spot on their roster.
The 32-year-old had some great years in the NHL, but since the 2011-12 season Roy had suited up for six different teams (excluding his PTO with the Caps).
His best season came in 2007-08 when he scored 32 goals and 81 points in 78 games with the Buffalo Sabres.
Roy will leave the NHL with 189 goals and 524 points in 738 career games.
He will join former NHLers Cory Conacher, Andrew Ebbett, Chuck Kobasew, Simon Moser and Sean Bergenheim in Bern.
They’re just one game into their regular season, but the Buffalo Sabres have already had to shift things around in their crease.
The Sabres announced that they have placed starting goaltender Robin Lehner on injured reserve after he was knocked out of Thursday’s game with a lower-body injury.
In a corresponding move, the club has recalled Nathan Lieuwen from their AHL affiliate in Rochester.
The 24-year-old didn’t play in the NHL last season, but he did have a 1-4-0 record with a 2.98 goals-against-average and a .906 save percentage in seven games during the 2013-14 season.
Lieuwen was Buffalo’s sixth round pick, 167th overall, in the 2011 draft.
The Sabres also announced that they have loaned defenseman Jake McCabe and goaltender Linus Ullmark to the Rochester Americans (AHL).
McCabe was a healthy scratch in Thursday’s game against Ottawa, while Ullmark is being activated off I.R. after having double hip surgery during the off-season.