Hey motherpuckers, we are back! The NHL All-Star game has come and gone, and each team’s odd seven-to-ten-day break is over. This is the time of the season when the NBA catches up to the NHL in terms of games played. It’s not weird, it’s just a matter of activity. Basketball has a lot of running, but the uniforms don’t carry weight. An NHL player is loaded with game armor, plus skating takes more effort than running, therefore they have more time between games. NHL season starts earlier, but the NBA always catches up.
Now that your February sports lesson is over, let’s take a look at where the NHL stands at their two-tirds mark in the season. Finally, my yard marker team, the Colorado Avalanche and you know well by now, has reached game 55, posting a magnificent shut-out 3-0 win against the Senators… then losing to the Capitals last night – FUUDDGE.. Where does that leave them in the standings? No, no, no my skate-loving friends, we check out the Eastern conference first.
Shall we take a look at who won’t make the playoffs first? Let’s do that. As predicted at the halfway point, the Detroit Red Wings are not disappointing me in their failure to do anything this season. They’re fortunate they can remember how to lace up skates, let alone play hockey. The others? We have the New Jersey Devils, who used to be the Colorado Rockies… and may as well have been the baseball Colorado Rockies the way they’re playing… and the aforementioned Ottawa Senators… who the Colorado Avalanche just shut out. To complete this trifecta of tenuous relationships between the bottom three and the Avalanche, let’s harken back to when the Dead Wings were good and the Avalanche cared enough to hate them. Sit back, have a Stroh’s or a Coors, and enjoy this clip. If the link doesn’t work, just type in ‘Patrick Roy vs Mike Vernon” and that’ll get you there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G7LZbJhi6Fo
Oh and BTW, we are going to add one more team. I believe it is time to knock on the arena door of the Buffalo Sabres and let them know the climb to get into the playoffs is too steep for them at this point so forget about it. They’ve sunk like a rock since the halfway point, going from the 8th spot down to 13th. Zoinks, Scoob! As for the rest…
Exactly where are we at the two-tirds plus point? Remaining from the halfway point are the Boston Bruins, Washington Capitals, Pittsburgh Penguins, New York Islanders, and Philadelphia Flyers. But the Eastern Conference has flipped the rink so to speak adding the Toronto Maple Leafs, Columbus Blue Jackets and the good-thing-they’re-near-an-ocean-as-they-are-hot Tampa Bay Lightning. Gonzo (for now) are the Carolina Hurricanes, Florida Panthers and the ‘we’ve given up’ Buffalo Sabres. In order:
Boston Bruins. They’re still right up there, this time landing in the first seed slot, but now their shoot-out record is 0-7. That’s not a good omen.
Tampa Bay Lightning. I am not kidding. They are now playing to their full potential and have rocketed up to take shotgun at 2. Their goal differential is numero uno for the whole league at a whopping +51. En fuego, these Lightning.
Washington Capitals. They were in the driver’s seat and now they’re back seat driving parked in 3rd. They have certainly slowed.
Pittsburgh Penguins. Idling in the 4th spot, and not exactly solidly there. They could fall quickly.
New York Islanders. They’ve fallen to 5th, but have narrowed the gap and now sit only 5 points away from 3rd. Still in the third slot, and now 8 points behind the Caps for the Metropolitan Division title. However, their goal differential is a paltry +15.
Columbus Blue Jackets. What? Where the hell did they come from? 6th is pretty damn good for those crazy Ohioans. Still, the entire state of Ohio sucks when it comes to bringing home championship trophies, so expect nothing from these upstarts.
Philadelphia Flyers. Clinging on to the 7th spot, and I mean clinging. There are only 3 points separating 7th and 10th, so this team – and the rest – could go anywhere.
Toronto Maple Leafs. Treading water, they are in the last playoff spot and really have no shot for any glory whatsoever, even Old Glory because well… they’re from Canada.
And the rest? You’ve got the Carolina Hurricanes and Florida Panthers knocking on the door for certain.
Carolina Hurricanes. Based upon goal differential, should make the playoffs.
Florida Panthers. Staring across the vast gator-filled lakes toward Tampa Bay saying ‘why not us?’ Because you suck, that’s why.
Montreal Canadians. Canada may have created hockey, but the Canadians do not know how to play it. Big point hill for them to climb.
New York Rangers. Hey, they are no longer 7 points back of the final playoff spot… they’re 8. So close to a seasonal ‘buh-bye.’
Prediction time. The Eastern Conference has a trio of top tier teams. While I would love to stick with the Bruins, the Lightning seem to be on course to take the conference. Therefore, I am taking the Capitals as a) Tampa Bay has too many seniors who can’t drive, and b) they have that pesky Russian Ovechkin. Right now, Russians are trendy, just ask our feckless “leader.”
Checking from the last article, I counted out the tandem of California teams – Los Angeles, Anaheim and San Jose. Looking now, I can see for certain I was right. Holy hockey stick they are bad. Not Detroit bad, but bad enough. And I am going to do a small stretch and add another team in the Western Conference that doesn’t have the horsepower to get into the playoffs – the Chicago Blackhawks. Hurts to say it, it does, but every time they give you a harbinger of hope they pile on a shovel of shit.
At the halfway mark, we had the Blues, Oilers, Avalanche, Coyotes, Jets, Knights, Stars, and Canucks. One team took an exit – the Jets. However, the team that took their spot- the Calgary Flames – are fooling themselves if they think they can stay there playing like they are. Then again, none of the bottom three in the playoffs as of this writing are melting any ice with any sort of hot play. They all suck. Let’s check out the current WC order:
St. Louis Blues. Still on top, but by a single point. Why may you ask, by now just a single point? because…
Colorado Avalanche. Hawt. Hawt. Hawt. Not Lightning hot, but close. They had won 5 straight until last night, and are number one in goal differential for the conference by a HUGE margin. They sit at +45 and second are the Blues at +17. Daaaaaaang.
Dallas Stars. I hate the Stars, I do, but I have to give them credit. They are staying right in it and are pushing St. Louis. They are a single point behind Colorado, and my math skills – 1+2=3 – make them 3 points behind St. Louis. However, they are a game ahead of Colorado, which gives the Avalanche a slight advantage.
Vancouver Canucks. The team EVERYONE HATES, including some of their own fans. Their retired jerseys look like a police line-up of whiners and now include the Sedin sisters. Yet… dammit… they are the final team I would consider having a chance to be the conference champ… for now (fall you bastards, fall).
Edmonton Oilers. Perhaps they have stabilized at the five-hole. They’ve been up to 2, down to 8, and settling at 5. They belong here really. They are the Blackhawks with more Shinola than shit.
Vegas Golden Knights. From 6th to 6th, good work at being as mediocre as The Strip’s buffet food.
Calgary Flames. It bears repeating that the Flames have no business making the playoffs. Their goal differential is a -8. That’s really bad. Like, 11th place bad. And their 4-5-1 their last 10 games, further proof they suck.
Arizona Coyotes. Dropping to 8th we have the team named after a wild dog that looks like a cross between a fox and a German Shepherd, only mangier. I like coyotes, I do, but this team, even if they do make the playoffs, are going nowhere.
Who is pretending to still be in the mix but it doesn’t matter anyway as they clearly will only get extra ice time as fodder for one of the upper echelon teams?
Winnipeg Jets. They will take Calgary’s spot, or I will eat a flame. Like a match, not a player, that’s disgusting and I think pretty illegal in this country. Canada I’m not so sure.
Minnesota Wild. Actually still playing well enough to be under consideration as a playoff team, but dropped to 10th. Good gravy.
Nashville Predators. OK, they are only three points above the Blackhawks (as are the Wild), but they at least seem to be putting in some sort of effort to get to the playoffs. Mostly I think, because YOU WERE SUPPOSED TO BE BETTER, Trashville!
Prediction time! This is getting as tough as watching a teenager driving a stick shift. With four teams in actual contention and their point separation a total of 4 measly points, ah geez this is worse than the stick shift analogy, it’s as bad as trying to figure out which of your live chickens you’re going to kill and eat. Tough decision, but every chicken is so delicious. I’m picking the Stars… only because I want to eat that chicken, eat it now, and throw away its bones so that chicken is eliminated. Man that makes no sense, but I really do hate the Stars… and love chicken.
Alrighty, we now have the Stanley Cup predictor – the Washington Capitals. Why? I hate the Dallas Stars, do I have to go over this again?
Done with the two-tirds mark, see you at the solid B mark, AKA 85 percent, AKA in a month when the Colorado Avalanche reach game number 70.