Just ten points separate first in the NHL from twentieth in the NHL which is heartening for teams trying to push their way into the playoff picture but disheartening for teams struggling to remain there. It’s fairly safe to say, though, that the Chicago Blackhawks aren’t too worried.
1) Chicago Blackhawks (24-10-4) –
If you want any indication as to what Chicago’s lines will look like on any given night, let Joel Quenneville know. He’s wondering too
2) New York Rangers (23-9-4) –
Sean Avery was waived by the Rangers again and, unlike the last time, this time people seem to have come to their senses
regarding his worth to the team.
3) Philadelphia Flyers (22-10-4) –
Kimmo Timonen is drawing comparisons
to Nicklas Lidstrom from his teammates. Underappreciated? Certainly. Possibly the best defenseman to ever lace up the skates? Probably not.
4) Nashville Predators (20-14-4) –
The Preds are taking their time
bringing Shea Weber back from his concussion, and who can blame them. They’ve been doing pretty good in his absence and, if nothing else, it’s showing both the Preds and Weber that he might not be as important to their success as they thought.
5) Detroit Red Wings (24-13-1) –
Everyone is buzzing about
Red Wings prospect, Petr Mrazek because of his undeniably marvelous performance thus far in the World Juniors. If he keeps the celebration business up, though, his NHL career could turn into a pretty short lived one.
6) Vancouver Canucks (24-13-2) –
Chris Higgins has been sidelined by a mysterious infection
in his foot, but might be close to returning. Higgins’ thought as to why it could be? “I clean my equipment more than anybody in the room and maybe I have a poor immune system.” That’s both good for Higgins and frightening for the rest of the Canucks.
7) Boston Bruins (24-10-1) –
Daryl Reaugh had some nice words
to say about Bruins’ announcer Jack Edwards, calling his type of announcing “over-the-top homerism.” He also pointed out that the sky was blue and that grass is green.
8) New Jersey Devils (21-15-1) –
Petr Sykora’s return to the NHL has been pretty good
for both parties involved, so far. There’s been no word yet if Lou Lamoriello is pursuing Claude Lemieux for a stretch run, though.
9) Los Angeles Kings (19-4-6) – With a record of 4-0-2, there’s something to be said about Darryl Sutter returning to coaching with the Kings. Of course, he’s looking at the same problem that Terry Murray did. In the Kings’ four wins, they’ve scored 13 total goals. In their two overtime losses, they’ve scored a grand total of one.
10) Washington Capitals (20-15-2) –
One big reason why the Caps have been winning of late is their team toughness
. You’ll have a hard time convincing me that Dale Hunter wasn’t a part of this, at all.
11) Winnipeg Jets (19-14-5) –
A psychic says
that the Jets will make the playoffs? Well, you can take that to the bank.
12) Florida Panthers (20-12-7) –
So, Krys Barch was ejected from a game for reportedly using a racial slur
towards P.K. Subban. The problem? Subban didn’t hear a thing.
13) St. Louis Blues (21-12-5) –
Ian Cole has been suspended three games
for an illegal check to the head of Justin Abdelkader.
14) Minnesota Wild (21-13-6) –
Matt Kassian was given a large part
of the credit for breaking the Wild’s eight-game losing streak on Thursday against the Oilers. A little over two minutes in ice time and 20 penalty minutes. That’s a job well done.
15) Pittsburgh Penguins (21-13-4) –
The big news out of Pittsburgh continues to be the absence of Sidney Crosby
. Say what you will about the Pens’ captain, but the NHL just isn’t the same without him on the ice.
16) Colorado Avalanche (21-18-1) –
J.S. Giguere returned to Anaheim
in style on Saturday night, enjoying a warm welcome before sending the Anaheim faithful home disappointed.
17) Ottawa Senators (19-15-5) –
What’s amazing is that the Senators continue to win despite subpar goaltending
. Of course, a little better defense in front of their goalies might not hurt either.
18) Dallas Stars (21-15-1) – In case you’re wondering, Steve Ott is tenth in the NHL in face-offs. You can check NHL.com.
19) Phoenix Coyotes (19-16-4) –
It sounds like Raffi Torres is going to get suspended
for his high hit on Wild defenseman Nate Prosser on Saturday night. Being that this was the third straight game that Torres has laid a questionable hit on the opposition, this is hardly a surprise.
20) San Jose Sharks (19-11-4) –
A cause for concern for the Sharks is the distinct lack of hitting
that the team is doing this season. The Sharks have 591, putting them last in the league in the category. Why is this so troubling? The 29th
team in the NHL is the Edmonton Oilers, with 670 – nearly 80 more than the Sharks.
21) Tampa Bay Lightning (17-17-3) –
Tampa Bay is struggling this season and their defense and goaltending is a big reason why. It’s not going to get easier
, now that Victor Hedman is out.
22) Calgary Flames (18-16-5) – With his game against the Predators on Sunday, Olli Jokinen hit the 1,000 game mark for his career. Even more remarkable? He’s leading the Flames in scoring through 40 games this season.
23) Toronto Maple Leafs (18-15-5) –
Toronto claiming Sean Avery
off of waivers? As preposterous as the idea sounds, there’s always the hopes that they do just for the off chance that his locker is next to Dion Phaneuf’s.
24) New York Islanders (13-17-6) –
There’s been speculation
that the Isles might send a goalie Tampa Bay’s way again this season. Of course, that would mean that more than one of New York’s three top goalies be healthy for more than a week at a time.
25) Carolina Hurricanes (13-21-6) –
No set up here. Just a very interesting look
on how the ‘Canes struggles this season have taken a personal toll on players.
26) Montreal Canadiens (14-18-7) –
Its never a good sign when your head coach is frustrated
with your team just seven games into his NHL career.
27) Edmonton Oilers (15-19-3) –
Edmonton General Manager Steve Tambellini isn’t interested
in another lottery pick for the Oilers. I don’t know, though. Eberle, Hall, Nugent-Hopkins and Yakupov? That’s one scary line up.
28) Buffalo Sabres (17-17-4) –
Buffalo is sticking to their mantra
of hard work, hoping it will pay off for them. Hopefully it will, because going on a shopping spree this past off season certainly hasn’t.
29) Columbus Blue Jackets (10-23-5) –
30) Anaheim Ducks (10-21-6) – Maybe I’m missing something here, but if you’ve won just ten times 37 games into the season, isn’t it a given that your team is missing consistency?
Scott Arniel getting angry
about not knowing his own team is really just a microcosm of Columbus’s season so far.