The whole league was uprooted and changed when the new conference and division structure was announced last year. Now that the NHL teams are actually playing in the new divisions, it is interesting to see the kind of effect it is having on some NHL franchises. The Detroit Red Wings had spent years playing in the Western Conference and feeding on lesser teams like the Calgary Flames and Edmonton Oilers. But the Red Wings are in the Eastern Conference now and things are very different. But, in the long run, this change to the Eastern Conference could be the catalyst that brings Detroit a Stanley Cup championship.
Reason 1: The Eastern Conference toughens up the Red Wings.
Let’s be honest, the Western Conference is more of a high-flying style of play that had passed the Red Wings by years ago. When the Wings were winning Stanley Cups in the 1990’s, they were one of the best skating teams in hockey. But since then, the skaters have retired and this new Detroit team loves to hit. In the Western Conference, there isn’t a lot of hitting during the regular season. But in the Eastern Conference, the Red Wings will regularly face teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins and Boston Bruins, which are two teams that love to hit. This change in the way the game is played could boost Detroit to its first Stanley Cup since the 2007-08 season.
Reason 2: This is Jimmy Howard’s make or break year.
Goaltender Jimmy Howard has the big contract and the number one goalie position sewed up in Detroit; now it is time for him to produce. Howard, as always, looked shaky in the first 20 games of the season. This is something that Red Wings fans have become accustomed to. But now he needs to find his game and start pushing his team forward. Howard looked like the goalie of the future for a little while last season, but then he fell apart. He has not been able to put a consistent season together since he was given the starting role. This is the season that will make or break Howard’s NHL career. If it makes his career, then this season could end in a Stanley Cup win.
Reason 3: Detroit is winning road games.
The Red Wings have become known as a solid team at home, but they have been shaky on the road. This season, the Red Wings have figured out how to win on the road and that always goes a long way towards bring a Stanley Cup championship to a franchise. If a team cannot win on the road, then it cannot win in the playoffs. The Red Wings have definitely figured out how to win on the road and that can lead to some great things when the playoffs roll around. As long as Detroit can continue its success on the road, then this team will be tough to beat in the playoffs.
Have you ever wondered if you could run a sports team better than the people who are paid to do it? Well, signing up for a fantasy sports league online will give you that opportunity. Fantasy sports site allow you to not only test your knowledge by managing teams in your favorite sport, you can also compete for cash and great prizes.
Although fantasy sports have been around for years, it has never enjoyed the level of popularity it enjoys today. The internet has made information and leagues accessible in real time and made things more interactive and realistic when compared to fantasy leagues via the newspaper and other publications. Today it is estimated that more than 30 million people participate in fantasy sports every year. With so many active participants, there is no shortage of opportunities to get involved.
Fantasy leagues allow players to compete in a wide selection of sports to play. Players may choose to compete for cash, points toward merchandise, or simply bragging rights. The majority of sites support the four major North American sports(NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB) as well as many other popular sports such as golf, soccer, and college sports.
Players can compete in a variety of ways. They can compete in head to head leagues, where throughout the regular season teams play each other in head to head matches. The winner is decided by an accumulation of points. Points are gained from the stats of a team’s entire roster. How points are awarded is usually determined by the commissioner of the league. Another way to play is total point leagues where players with the most total points advance to a playoff. For the long term minded players there are dynasty leagues and these leagues go from year to year using the same players, in a similar fashion to running a real franchise. This allows a player to experience the rigors of running a team from year to year.
Rosters are determined in a variety of ways and ways to play continue to evolve all the time. The most popular leagues offer some of the most dynamic roster building opportunities. A salary cap option is available, where a team is budgeted a certain amount of money to spend on drafting players. Or there is the snake draft option, which is usually used amongst a group of friends where the order you pick is randomly selected and then reversed from round to round. No matter which way you decide to play, if you are interested in fantasy sports there has never been a more exciting time to get involved. Whether you want to play in daily fantasy sports, weekly, or yearly, there are a myriad of ways to enhance your enjoyment of your favorite sports.
Mike Campelson is a regular in fantasy sports leagues and recommends sites that offer many game play options such as www.fantasyfeud.com. He is also a writer and uses the Fantasy Feud blog to gain insight into how to effectively manage his fantasy sports teams.