Originally written on Taking Bad Schotz  |  Last updated 11/17/14
After raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for Hurricane Sandy relief last Saturday night, Brad Richards, Scott Hartnell, and other players who have not left to play overseas are hoping for the best.  But on Black Friday, it seemed as if the NHL was selling, not buying on a day of spending.  The NHL cancelled another batch of games and cancelled the 2013 NHL All Star Weekend in Columbus.  For a city that is already struggling with hockey, this may have been the last blow.  Clearly Columbus is on the down, but who else is struggling? #5. The Los Angeles Kings The Kings rode one of the most triumphant and unexpected runs in NHL history to the Stanley Cup last season.  As the eighth seed in the Western Conference, few expected them to advance past the first round, let alone to the league championship.  The Kings rode goaltender Jonathan Quick’s back all the way to the finals, disposing of the Presidents’ Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks, two-seeded St. Louis Blues, and third-seeded Phoenix Coyotes en route to defeating the Devils in the finals.  With all of this improbable momentum, what could potentially stop them from making another run at the beginning of the season into the summer? Only a lockout. #4 The New York Rangers For the Rangers, the 2011-2012 season represented a result of long, hard work by the front office.  The Rangers put off their free-spending ways ever since the contract of Wade Redden backfired, and instead chose to grow their minor league system through drafting.  The Rangers finished atop the Eastern Conference, but ultimately fell to the Devils in the Eastern Conference Finals.  Rangers fans are most excited for the long-awaited arrival of superstar winger, Rick Nash.  But, their demands to see him play will have to wait.  This Rangers team is relatively young and the rate at which their Vezina Trophy winning goaltender, Henrik Lundqvist, can play at is sure to start declining.  This team is in their prime, and the faster the league gets back to hockey, the better it is for New York City. #3. The Toronto Maple Leafs and Detroit Red Wings Fans of Toronto hockey have very little to get excited about anymore.  Under current ownership, the team has failed miserably over the past few seasons, despite fans’ extreme hopes.  But the one good thing about Toronto fans is that they will keep coming back, no matter how badly their team’s play gets.  The fans finally had something to cheer about, as the team was selected to play in the Winter Classic, the NHL’s biggest event, on New Years day at the “big house” in Michigan.  But, the Maple Leafs still found a way to lose a game that will not be happening… The same goes for the Red Wings – backed by superstars Pavel Datsuyk and Henrik Zetterberg, their aging team cannot compete for much longer.  The Winter Classic was a chance to get fans excited again, despite the team’s first round exit.  Hockeytown is looking for a bounce back year, but may get nothing instead. #2. The Minnesota Wild In the “land of 10,000 lakes”, professional hockey should thrive.  However, the Minnesota Wild have never been able to reach the next level.  Over the offseason, the Wild were able to attract two of the top free agents on the market – former captain of the New Jersey Devils Zach Parise, and top pair defenseman of the Nashville Predators, Ryan Suter.  Both signed deals for 13 years and $98 million.  Not only were Wild fans excited to watch this team play, but also all of hockey was, as the Great White North had sky-high expectations.  Fans will just have to wait to see the dynamic players change the fate of the Wild. #1. The Columbus Blue Jackets It could not get worse for the Blue Jackets.  They lost the face of their franchise after he forced a trade to the New York Rangers.  In return, the Blue Jackets only received middle aged Brandon Dubinsky, Artem Anisimov, prospect Tim Erixon, and a draft pick.  Much to Ranger fans delight, they gave up very little for the potential 40-goal scorer.  They finished with 65 points, coming in last place in the Western Conference and the entire league last season, and they have little to show to fans to give them hope for the next season that will be played.  On top of all this, the cancellation of the NHL All-Star weekend leaves Blue Jacket fans with nothing.  The organization had something to help popularize hockey again and suddenly, the opportunity vanished, just like many fans’ hopes for a 2012-2013 season. -Weingold
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

WATCH: DeSean Jackson mocks Eagles after win

Michael Vick: Jameis Winston is the future of the NFL

Report: No NFL team is moving to Los Angeles in 2015

Report: 49ers looking for young, offensive mind as next coach

Sheldon Richardson: I'm on the same level as JJ Watt

Kendrick Perkins: Rajon Rondo wanted out of Boston

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Jim Harbaugh being encouraged to take Michigan job

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Wolves trade Corey Brewer to the Rockets

Yankees trade Prado to Marlins for Eovaldi in 5-player deal

Brandon Browner fined $8K for throwing Brandon Gibson to turf

Report: Sharper, NFLers called spiked drinks 'horny juice'

Steve Alford: Kentucky is best team I've coached against

Peyton Siva jokes that Rick Pitino is in the mob

WATCH: Montrezl Harrell ejected for throwing punch

UNC wearing Jordan-era throwback uniforms

Brian Kelly: Justin Brent gets 'distracted,' is in my doghouse

Five free agent signings that should happen in 2015

Reporter asks Rajon Rondo awkward question about trade

Video: Swaggy P elbows Steven Adams in throat, gets ejected

Video: Grizzlies buy car for assistant who had his stolen

Video: LeBron takes pass to the face from Dion Waiters

New video of Ray Rice incident emerges

President Obama calls James Franco “James Flacco”

NHL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

WATCH: DeSean Jackson mocks Eagles

Vick: Winston is the future of the NFL

No NFL team in LA next season?

UNC rocking Jordan-era throwbacks

Reporter asks Rondo awkward question

Three quarterbacks who could be traded this offseason

Jon Lester and the Cubs

Report: NFL players used 'horny juice'

Top 10 worst NBA related commercials of all-time

Phelps gets probation for DUI

NFL coaches on hot seat in Week 16

The Roy Williams-Terrell Owens horse collar turns 10

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.