Eastern Conference Struggles

Is it me, or is every Eastern Conference team in the middle of some kind of slide?

Montreal has lost its two best defensemen and last night couldn’t beat Ottawa to solidify their playoff spot.

The Flyers are firmly entrenched in the playoffs, but have struggled lately.

The Devils seem to be coming out of their recent skid, but there’s no timetable on Patrik Elias’ return from a groin injury. Which obviously isn’t great news for New Jersey. Or Mrs. Elias.

And don’t get me started on the Rangers, who have been treading water since November yet are somehow still in the playoff picture.

The Bruins are pretty beaten up but don’t want to talk about it.

Speaking of the Bruins, Larry Brooks had a great note in his Sunday column:

Tim Thomas, who signed a four-year, $20 million extension with the Bruins yesterday, will be considered on over-35 contract even though he doesn’t turn 35 until April 15. For contract purposes, the player’s age is calculated on the June 30 before the season the deal goes into effect.

That means the Bruins cannot buy out Thomas at 2/3 of his salary over eight years if he doesn’t work out, for whatever reason. It kind of changes how you look at the deal. The Bruins are really committing to Thomas.