November 25, 2011; Columbus, OH, USA; Buffalo Sabres center Ville Leino (23) goes after a rebound in front of Columbus Blue Jackets goalie Curtis Sanford (30) during the second period at Nationwide Arena. Mandatory Credit: Russell LaBounty-USA TODAY Sports

Are Detroit and Columbus Good Additions To The East?

A lot of people I have talked to are worried. Most are worried because of the Sabres constant woes as to the lack of a strong scorer, abysmal penalty kill/powerplay, lack of or no defense on some game nights, or the controversy inside the net. The others are worried about two new teams who are hanging out, not only in the Eastern Conference, but the Sabres and new-found Atlantic Division.

Jan. 16, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Buffalo Sabres left wing Thomas Vanek (26) and Detroit Red Wings left wing Drew Miller (20) battle for the puck in the first period at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Mind you that the Sabres division, the newly, and poorly (in my opinion) named Atlantic Division only has three teams that has a tie to the Atlantic Ocean. Maybe a little bit of Montreal because of the St. Lawrence, but that is about the same as saying that Detroit or Buffalo connect via the Great Lakes or the Erie Canal.

But that is another story, the real question is, “Is Detroit a good addition to the Sabres division?”

My answer, as opposed to others opinions, is absolutely.

Although unable to play any of the Western Conference due to the lockout shortened season, the West is definitely stronger than the East. In the past 10 years (counting 2002 because of the cancellation of the 2004-05 season) the West has won the cup 6 out of 10 times.

So, why is adding stronger teams better for us?

I strongly believe that by playing better teams, even if we win or not, both strengthens our teams and better prepares us for the powerful western teams.

Granted that Detroit is getting older, as shown by their recent slides down the standings, but they have still managed to make each and every postseason for the last 22 seasons. Which is pretty impressive if you ask me.

Since the 2004-05 lockout, the record between the Buffalo Sabres and the Detroit Red Wings is 2-5-2. This is based off of seeing these teams only once or twice a season. Bringing them into our division where we play them four times this season kind of makes me excited to see. They open up the season against them, on the road, on national TV, what is not to be excited about.

My best guess is that we split this season 2-2. But with those two losses comes a lot of teaching to the younger guys who will grow up in this league. And with a current rebuild going on, nothings better than playing one of the most consistent teams the better half of the past two decades.

Adding the Columbus Blue Jackets at first had me a bit worried. The Blue Jackets, notorious for failure since they have only made the playoffs once in their 12 year existence, have only been added to the East as a part of the Metropolitan Division. 5-8-(1) in 14 games played. The number in parenthesis is the number of ties the teams had due to the shootout added to break a tie if needed.

This upcoming season, the Sabres play the Blue Jackets three times, and it is anyone’s guess as to what the series will be. The Blue Jackets shocked all of the hockey world last season when they surprisingly did well, despite just missing the playoffs this year.

Adding these two teams, the stronger one in our division, I believe, is one of the best things that could have happened to us.

As always, I want to read your opinions! Comment below!

The Sabres will get their first look at home against their two new divisional opponents on October 10th when the Blue Jackets come to town. The average ticket price is $98 according to Razorgator.com, with a get-in price of $48. The Red Wings don’t visit the First Niagara Center until November 24th. The average ticket price for that game is a little higher at $146 per ticket and you can get in the door for $67.

 

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