which will undoubtedly rattle a few lumps to chime in with glib remarks of no real substance, or provide any viable debate point...
now i didn't cover everyone, i've just been taking some notes recently, and kind of summarized some of what i thought may be of particular interest as it relates to the header.
- San Jose - 7- 0 - 0 in January / 0-3-3 in February (next game tomorrow @ Chicago), and despite that start - that had the pundits talking (and Melrose calling "President's Trophy"), Anaheim is the team atop the Pacific… with a game in hand on the Sharks.
- Vancouver - 2-2-2 at one point (just like the Kings). have since won 6 in a row. however, 5 of those wins were against Colorado, Edmonton, Calgary, and 2 against Minnesota, who have scored only 1 even strength goal in the last six games - they run away with their division every year and win the President's Trophy on the back of the fact that the Northwest Division sucks out loud, and has for some time. the Northwest is so weak, i hear that in addition to re-alignment, there's also a petition going around to have Alberta renamed the Province of Kasuhksistan
- St. Louis - 6-1-0 to start the year, and like San Jose, were 0 for February until last night's win in OT. the best defense in the NHL last season have surrendered an average of 5 goals per over that span, while the offense has averaged slightly over 2 goals per.
- Chicago is pretty **** and balls right now, and haven't lost in regulation yet. they won't on Friday against San Jose either… it'll be Sunday against the Kings!
- Detroit… Winged Wheel keep on turnin', Sobotka keep on Huyrlin'. and it's worth noting (in my humble opinion) if you haven't caught on to the Kings model of a dominant puck possession team yet, you are on the crackrock.
- Tampa started 6-1-0, and have since lost 5-straight (0-4-1)
- Carolina looked like the 'Canes of last season - up and down, have since won 5 of their last 7, including a huge one over the red hot Devils two nights ago, and one of those losses was an OT loss to Philly. so from 2-3-0 in January, to 5-1-1 in February.
- Florida, aka - last year's Rudy, is the lowest scoring team in the East, and has the worst goal differential in the league… so they deal Keaton Ellerby. they were one of two teams to make the playoffs last year with a negative goal differential. the other (Washington) was in their division… that should tell you something. i picked them to finish dead last in the Southeast this season, but i didn't count on the Capitals being THIS bad.
- last season Ottawa looked to really be a team on the rise and have an eye kept on. this season started to look like they were taking that 'next step' in going 5-1-1. they have since won only two games in February - both against Buffalo, who are just flat out lousy right now. the only team they've beaten with a winning record since Spezza went down was Montreal. he's clearly their MVP, and may be out for the season. couple that with losing Karlsson (also likely for the rest of the year), the Sens may very well finish in the bottom 5.
- Toronto has won 6 of their last 8, and have looked pretty good in doing so… problem is, those two losses were against the only two teams they've faced in that span who are worth a damn… and Reimer got hurt.
- Boston are the Bruins - a definite Stanley Cup contender… and they play in a weak(-ened) division.
- New York Rangers started out with King Henrik giving up 14 goals in their first four games, and the team went 1-4-0 with their lone win coming in overtime. Lundqvist has started to settle down, and the Rags are playing a bit better - winning games they should. Torts split up that monster line, and it looks to have helped. Richards is struggling a bit right now, and there's always the notion of Gaborik's groin problems ready to rear.
without going into too much detail about the rest of the Atlantic Division, suffice it to say that it's by far to strongest division up top - with three legit cup contenders. you know it's deep when a good team like Philly is in 4th place and playing (roughly) .500 hockey.
i think it's worth mentioning that the Pacific Division is the only Division in the NHL without a doormat… and has been as such for some time.
currently the bottom 4 seeds in the West have either an even or negative goal differential. i think only 7 teams have made the playoffs with a negative goal differential in the last 5 years, and only one of those were in the Western Conference. in the Western Conference, goals for only matters in relation to goals against… unlike the offense driven East.
in terms of individual performances… when you look at the offensive woes of the Kings so far; Kopitar - 4 goals, Brown - 3 goals, Richards - 1 goal, Williams - 1 goal, Gagne, Penner, Lewis, King and Doughty still without a goal - it looks bad. especially when you compare it to the first couple of few weeks guys like Marleau and Vanek (and a few others) have had.
- sure Patrick Marleau dropped 51 goals in like 3 games, but he now has 1 goal and 1 assist in his last 8, and a minus 4 to boot.
- Thonas Vanek DOES have 23 points already, but 10 of them came in two games.
- then you have - St. Louis (3 goals), Malkin (3 goals), Semin, Nash, D. Sedin, Eberle, Cammalleri, Alfredsson, also all with 3 goals… and Cammalleri scored all three of his last night.
- next there's - Jordan Staal, Jarome Iginla, and Corey Perry who only have 1 goal this season… and some, like Max Pacioretty have yet to score at all this year.
- whine about Drew Doughty's lack of production? have a gander at the fact that Fedor Tyutin, Marc Staal and a couple of other barn burning defensemen are also currently outscoring guys like Duncan Keith, (where in the world is) Shea Weber, and even everyone's bulls*** "i knew it all along, we should have taken" Tyler Myers.
everyone needs to kick back, crack a beer, and chill. there ain't no reason to get your panties in a bunch until game #48 is over... and even then, i wouldn't.