Saturday, January 2, 2010

Midseason Gut Check

We're right about at the 42 game mark for all teams so lets take a look at where teams stand, and how our predictions are holding up.

In the West...
We flipped a coin with four for eight.

The Underdogs
I don't think anyone expected Colorado to do as well as they have, so that's a blemish in everyone's picks. Phoenix is the feel good story of the year, and a trip to the dance this season, in my opinion, will show the true colors of the love for the team, and its viability in Arizona. Nashville is always plugging away, Barry Trotz is a miracle worker in achieving more with less, and having two goaltenders playing for a contract will always make things competitive. Los Angeles has waited far too long for a trip, so it good to see this team finally come of age.

The Underachievers
Detroit has been riddled with injuries on key personnel and yet is still easily within reach, wouldn't worry about them missing out. Dallas has just been too inconsistent, firing Tippett and hiring Crawford was Nieuwendyk's first mistake. St. Louis could very well be poised to make their comeback, but instead they'll be reeling from Murray's dismissal, and their disbelief when they realize that he wasn't the cause of it. Anaheim has just sucked plain and simple. Hiller is not playing nearly as well as he should be, and their defense is just shit this year.

Right On
Chicago and San Jose are right where they should be, Calgary looks strong enough to secure a berth. Vancouver on the other hand should be playing better than they should, especially since they have that ridiculous roadtrip during the Olympics that's probably going to put a dent in their record. Then again, they could peak at that right time come Spring.

In the East...
Did a little better with six of eight.

The Underdogs
Buffalo has bounced back from last season's miss of the post with impressive play so far. Please address all Thank You notes to Ryan Miller. Ottawa's in it because Mike Fisher is hitting high notes with Carrie Underwood. I don't think they've got what it takes to stay in it, especially in goal.

The Underachievers
Well Toronto might have been a bit ambitious, then again they're only six points out of the last spot its anybody's guess as to who makes it in. Except of course for Carolina. Philadelphia is the real underachiever of the League, getting the passive coach axed with uninspired play, and more than enough talent to make it. I didn't mind Stevens as a coach, but he probably wasn't the right guy for that particular type of team, with their particular brand of hockey. Laviolette is a much better coach, but the results from the change in command have not been what the Philly brass is looking for. Losing the Classic that was handed to them by Thomas doesn't make it any sunnier.

Right On
As I mentioned before, the pack is still tight with nearly ten teams on the bubble. By the way, the three teams sitting just outside the eighth spot with just a point off, Isles, Thrash, and Bolts. Would you have guessed? New Jersey is in their typical form. Pittsburgh has been inconsistent at best, but good enough to make it in. Washington has too much firepower to be out of it, but will it be enough to overcome their defensive lapses? Boston has been shoddy at best, and lost more than it thought with the departures of Kessel, Axelsson, and Ward. Twit Allen Walsh has singlehandedly fired up the goaltending competition between Price and Halak, and Cammalleri has been lighting it up enough to keep them in the hunt. The New York Rangers will be in based on how good Gaborik and Lundqvist are against the other Eastern Conference bubble teams.

Individual Stats
  • Joe Thornton is ridiculously good at dishing the puck, especially when he's got two triggermen like Heatley and Marleau to give him all those helpers, (Marleau with 26 goals, Heatley with 24). He's got 9 to 10 more assists than his competition, and that includes those eerie Swedish twins.
  • Speaking of Marleau, have I mentioned him before? Letting Marleau go will be Doug Wilson's biggest mistake as GM of the Sharks without question.
  • No 50 in 50 this year. With all those injuries and suspensions OV couldn't do it. And if Gaborik actually had some more help he might have been able to do it.
  • Ryan Miller, is without question the best goaltender in the League thus far. Bryzgalov is showing that he is capable of being the number one and is providing the impetus for Phoenix to make the show.
  • No chance of Andy Murray winning the Jack Adams. Now.

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