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Drawing The Line: Isles Will Move To "Conference D" Next Season

(Photo Credit: cornholeo2552/Flickr)

It wasn't news to anyone that the NHL would be setting up a new realignment plan for the 2012-2013 season. Plenty of speculation went into this idea as to how it would effect the current Eastern and Western Conferences. The Winnipeg Jets, although presently in the East, seemed to be a team that would make much more sense in the West. Rumors began to run that the Detroit Red Wings would move to the Eastern Conference, or even quite possibly the Nashville Predators.

The bigger question, and one that still looms over the hearts of many fans out in the desert, is whether or not the Phoenix Coyotes will still be in any Conference next year. They are currently in what seems to be the final year of their lease agreement after almost being relocated this past summer. There's still a good possibility that they might be relocated in the near future as well, but all of that remains in limbo as the 2012 season moves forward.

However, the NHL and it's Board of Governors could not wait to see what happens in Phoenix and passed a very dramatic change to the current alignment. The Eastern and Western Conferences will ultimately be removed next year; the standard two conferences that consist of 15 teams will become four conferences with either seven or eight teams in each one.

Panthers hold on to beat Caps 5-4; NHL realigns for 2012-2013

The Caps were listless in the first 40 minutes in South Florida, but woke up just in time to give the home-standing Panthers a scare on Monday night. 

The Panthers jumped all over Dale Hunter and the visiting Caps with a three-goal spree in the first period  on goals by Stephen Weiss, Mike Santorelli and Dmitry Kulikov. Mike Knuble answered late in the first for the Caps to make it 3-1 'Cats at the end of the first. 

Michal Neuvirth, getting the start in place of ex-Panther Tomas Vokoun, wasn't very good. He allowed three goals on 11 shots in the first, including a softy to Santorelli,  but didn't get much help from the team in front of him eith...

Game 26: Change takes time, Caps battle first place Panthers, rats etc.

Three games into the Dale Hunter era, the Capitals are 1-2-0. But it's easy to look too hard at the numbers and not the on-ice product so far in Hunter's tenure. 

The Caps have been forechecking more aggressively than they ever did under former coach Bruce Boudreau. They have worked on Hunter's system that involves limiting odd-man rushes and using the walls to create them the other way. The goaltending has stabilized, the defense is improving. 

These are all good things. All things to build on going forward rather than fretting over the record. Regardless, Hunter's system will take time for the Caps to adjust and adapt to. 

Look no further...

Josh Bailey, Meet Michael Grabner

Imagine this:

You are 18-years-old.  You have just completed the best hockey season of your entire life – racing up draft boards from a low-mid round pick into a projected mid first round pick.  It is an incredibly exciting night, as you sit there with your family waiting and hoping to hear your name called. 

You watch as commissioner Gary Bettman announces the Islanders trading down 2 picks.  Then trading down 2 more picks.  The Islanders staff takes the stage ready to announce their ninth overall pick, and you are still not thinking too much of it.

Then you hear it.

“The New York Islanders select Josh Bailey.”

Flyers hold off late Panthers surge

A few days away from the rink were good for the Flyers.

Not having to worry about a controversial 1-3-1 scheme, the Flyers capitalized on a team-bonding trip to Naples, FL and beat the Panthers, 3-2, Sunday afternoon.

Danny Briere got the Flyers scoring going in the 1st, potting his fifth on the season with helpers from Wayne Simmonds and James van Riemsdyk.

Flyers Look to Cage Panthers

Finally, the Flyers are back in action tonight at 5 p.m. as they take on the Panthers in Florida.

Larry has what you need to know about today's game and gives the readers some questions to answer. Give it a read and give us your comments!

Montoya Minutes: Al Needs To Play

Al Montoya was the surprise starter for the Islanders home opening loss to the Florida Panthers back on October 8th when both Rick DiPietro and Evgeni Nabokov were healthy and capable of starting the game. DiPietro, who had been battling injuries for what had seemed like forever, probably expected to dress for the season opener preparing to embark on another attempt to return to glory. But that wasn't the case.

Head coach Jack Capuano chose to go with El Cubano, a goaltender that the Islanders acquired in a trade with the Phoenix Coyotes after injuries seem to strike every single net-minder in the 2011 season. Montoya seemingly won the starting position between himself and Kevin...

The Blackhawks' early view atop the Western conference

The week ahead for the Chicago Blackhawks is going to be a trial-by-fire before they hit the road for their annual "Circus Trip", the two-week road trip that marks every November. It kicks off with the first of two season games against the Florida Panthers (the second will be on United Center ice in late January), followed by a game at Tampa Bay, then it's back home for the first matchup of the season against the Vancouver Canucks.

In light of the trade moves made by Chicago and the free agency signings by Florida this summer, Thurday's Blackhawks-Panthers matchup in Sunrise is a game that many fans on both sides of the ice ...

Another One Bites the Dust

The Montreal Canadiens were at home against the Florida Panthers this evening. The result is becoming an all too familiar story for the Habs, who are winless at home in this season from Hades. Over the years, the Habs have found ways to win. This season, they are now finding more and more ways to lose.

The game was featured each team's backup goalies. The Panthers' young prospect and backup to Jose Theodore, Jacob Markstrom, played well and got a couple of quick whistles - including one that was put behind him after the whistle blew.

As for the Canadiens, there seemed to be a lack of communication on a few plays as the defense was not used to playing in front of Peter ...

Are The Isles Better Than .500?

Once again the New York Islanders fell to the Florida Panthers last night in a 4-2 loss to end their Florida road trip. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th lines were held scoreless as John Tavares and Mark Streit did all they could with the support of strong goaltending coming from Evgeni Nabokov in net. For a full recap, read Evan Pivnick's post-game report here at TCL.

The Isles currently sit with a 3-3-0 record, placing them at 10th place in the East and fourth in their division. The New Jersey Devils sit in third with seven points, trailing the second placed Philadelphia Flyers with nine points. The Pittsburgh Penguins sit in first with 14 and the Rangers sit in fifth with six. All indica...