A Crazy, Mixed-up League

NHL Team Logos (2011-2012 Season)

I’ve been watching the NHL standings this season and paying attention to how all the teams are doing.. and while they have become more typical recently in some respects, there’s still some unusual things going on that I feel are noteworthy.  Also, keep in mind, when I talk about these teams as usually bad or usually good, I’m referring only to how they’ve been in recent history

Boston Bruins:
The Bruins went 3-7-0 in their first 10 and were at the bottom of the Eastern Conference (and only 1 point from ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets, who were last in the league).  That was their October, and for the players, their record was a kick in the face.  This was unusual, but understandable if you consider the “Stanley Cup hangover.”  They went on to have an amazing November, with a 15 game streak of not losing in regulation (and a 10 game win streak).. they went from the bottom to the top of the league in a month.  That’s more like it!

Vancouver Canucks:
After ending last regular season way ahead of everyone else with a whopping 117 points, they somehow really sucked early this season.. kind of like they had a Stanley Cup hangover too.. from losing.. but now they’ve gotten back to the top tier.

New York Islanders:
What I want to talk about here isn’t how the Islanders are doing well.. they do seem a bit better, but they’re still as far from the top as usual.. what I want to mention is a few normally good teams that are somehow worse than the NY Islanders:
Montreal Canadiens:
As much as I hate them, they are a good team and have always been a contender.  If you look at a list of Stanley Cup champions, you’ll see that they’re all over it..  They’re sucking.
Tampa Bay Lightning: They almost went to the Stanley Cup finals last year.. They were one goal away, but Nathan Horton sealed their fate..  They’re sucking.
Carolina Hurricanes: While they’re not a top team they’re usually still at least better than the Islanders..  They’re sucking.
Buffalo Sabres: While they’re not actually below the Islanders in the standings, they are only one point above them.. so they are right down there at the bottom too.. and have been playing like it even though they are usually a contender.  One big contributing factor to this is that their goalie Ryan Miller has not been playing up to par.

Pittsburgh Penguins:
They’ve always been a top team, and they’re still doing well enough that they’ll probably go to the playoffs, but I just wanted to say: They’re crap without Sidney Crosby.  Ok, they’re not crap, but to really be a contender in the post-season, they need him.  I’ll admit Evgeni Malkin has picked up most of the slack and has played really well, but as I said, they need Crosby to really be a contender.

Florida Panthers:
They finished last season at the bottom of East, yet they’ve been leading the Southeast Division for most of this season.. though that’s partly due to the rest of the division sucking.

Ottawa Senators:
They’ve usually been a team that we can just pretend doesn’t exist since they were never a threat at all..  Teams used to just roll over them.  Yet this season, they’ve actually become a pretty good team.  They’ve been following close behind Boston in the Northeast Division standings for awhile now.. but they still don’t have the kind of juicy stats that we do.

Anaheim Ducks:
They were never great but have been decent in recent years.  They’ve been shitty this season, but now seem to be coming back a bit..  They just won 3 in a row and one of their players even had a hat-trick.  [UPDATE: They went on to get a 5 win streak]

Washington Capitals:
They ended last season at the top of the East, yet this year have somehow been playing really poorly.  C’mon Alex Ovechkin, can’t carry the team anymore?  ..well having ex-Bruin Dennis Wideman on your team probably makes it tough (his +/- rating was always bad and I respect him, but I’m glad we traded him away).

NY Rangers:
They’ve always been good, but this season they seem to have raised their game to another level.. they’ve playing really well.  Though, their goalie Henrik Lundqvist is no Tim Thomas.

Toronto Maple Leafs:
They have been a good team, but were never really that much of a threat.. but early this season they were doing really well.

St. Louis Blues:
I guess they’ve been a good team, but out of nowhere, they’re a top team in the league and doing great.

Minnesota Wild:
Early this season they too seemed to come out of nowhere and were doing really well.

Columbus Blue Jackets:
They were never that good, but decent.. this year they’ve been absolutely terrible..  They’ve last in the league by far.

Colorado Avalanche:
They finished last season at second from the bottom of the league..  This season they have been doing pretty well.

Winnipeg Jets:
Well they have their team back, and even though the Atlanta Thrashers became this team, they seem to be a new team and have been doing real well early this season.. though, they seem to have leveled out just below the middle of the pack.

So there have definitely been some strange and unusual trends this season in the NHL standings, but the season is barely half over.. can’t make any conclusions now.  So we’ll just have to sit back and watch this season play out.

Thanks for reading,
Matt

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About bost0nfire

Here in Boston, our pro sports teams won seven championships in a decade, with all teams accounted for. That means the Bruins, Celtics, Red Sox, and yes the New England Patriots.. they did play in Boston at one time after all.. and they're still our team. So, I declare Boston to be the City of Champions. ... Check us out on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/b0stonwins?ref=hl ... Follow us on Twitter: https://twitter.com/BostonWins_Blog ... **** READER DISCRETION ADVISED: Adult Language may be used.
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