Anyone who has followed Hockey, well since the WInnipeg Jets and Quebex Nordiques fled south of the border in search of a more stable dollar – could see that the NHL was truly turning into a one nation hockey team. Sure there are still a handful of teams in Canada – but when is the last time they won a Stanley Cup? When was the last time you heard about a Canadian team getting the short end of the stick? Here the latter more often than not.
Today, on NBC starting coverage at high noon, the NHL celebrates Hockey in USA – and for most it is nothing more than a way to boost ratings on a station that gives hockey a second rate treatment for most of the season.
Washington and Buffalo will start off the festivities that include games featuring the Detroit Red Wings and Minnesota Wild, Philadelphia and New York (Rangers), and Pittsburgh and Chicago.
However, the real game of the day will take place this evening (6PM EST) and that is the Heritage Classic, between the Montreal Canadiens and the Calgary Flames. While NBC will boast high ratings for the day – there is no doubt in my mind that on both sides of the border, the Heritage Classic will get more single games view than any of the games slated for NBC canvas of games.
Regardless, of what we are calling today, the Buffalo Sabres have to be thinking about one thing, and one thing only, and that is the two points they drastically need to pick up in order to stay in the hunt for the playoffs. The Carolina Hurricanes and Atlanta Thrashers have the day off, so this is one of the “games” in hand. Lose this one and the hole starts to get bigger. Win this one, and you remain within striking distance of the playoffs.
To win today, the Sabres need to get their stagnant offense working together. I don’t need Drew Stafford to score a hat trick, rather I would like to see more scoring from Pominville and Vanek as well.
Ryan Miller also has to play at the top of his game. The playoffs as we all know are a different type of game, and the Sabres need him to be their backstop as in years past if they want to get into the playoffs, let alone see more than one round.