We’re cruising right along through the season on the ice. Here are the rankings . . .
#31 Chicago Blackhawks (6-8-4, -16, LW: 29)
When Joel Quenneville took over as head coach for the 2008-09 season the Blackhawks had not won a Stanley Cup since 1961 and had missed the playoffs in nine of the previous ten seasons and started off 1-2-1 before Denis Savard was let go (I’ve already stated my thoughts on midseason firings). For the next nine seasons the Blackhawks were 413-204-83 and won three Stanley Cups, making the playoffs every year. Last season they finished last in the Central Division and out of the playoffs. This season they started 6-6-3 and Quenneville was let go. Just another lesson in how cruel the world of pro sports can be. The lesson: Loyalty does not exist for the successful.
#30 New Jersey Devils (6-8-1, -9, LW: 28)
#29 Vegas Golden Knights (7-10-1, -10, LW: 26)
#28 Ottawa Senators (7-8-3, -14, LW: 27)
#27 Los Angeles Kings (5-10-1, -17, LW: 24)
#26 Anaheim Ducks (8-8-3, -10, LW: 30)
The Ducks’ attempt to recycle a former winning coach for their franchise is starting to crumble a bit. Randy Carlyle guided the Disney namesake to the Stanley Cup in 2007, but was dismissed early in 2011. In 2016 he was brought back to coach the team back to glory, and consecutive 100 point seasons and a conference finals appearance came with him. This season they are off to a slow start, though a crowded group of flawed teams will keep the Ducks around for a while (seven teams are within two points of the final playoff spot out west – I know, there are 60+ games to go, just go with it). While that sounds great, I don’t know if squeaking in will mean “anything can happen”. But at least they have a Cup to celebrate from . . . has it really been 11 years already?
#25 Edmonton Oilers (8-8-1, -8, LW: 14)
#24 Carolina Hurricanes (8-7-3, -4, LW: 30)
#23 Washington Capitals (7-6-3, -2, LW: 20)
#22 Colorado Avalanche (8-6-3, +9, LW: 13)
#21 Pittsburgh Penguins (7-5-3, +4, LW: 23)
#20 Dallas Stars (9-7-2, +1, LW: 12)
#19 Montreal Canadiens (9-5-3, +3, LW: 21)
#18 Detroit Red Wings (7-8-2, -13, LW: 22)
#17 San Jose Sharks (9-6-3, +1, LW: 5)
#16 Vancouver Canucks (10-7-2, -3, LW: 11)
#15 Arizona Coyotes (8-7-1, +6, LW: 7)
#14 New York Islanders (8-6-2, +7, LW: 3)
#13 Buffalo Sabres (9-6-2, +1, LW: 19)
#12 St. Louis Blues (6-6-3, +1, LW: 15)
#11 Calgary Flames (10-7-1, 0, LW: 4)
#10 New York Rangers (9-7-2, -3, LW: 18)
#9 Florida Panthers (6-5-3, +2, LW: 25)
The Panthers have missed the playoffs in each of the last two seasons and have only made them in three seasons this century. A nice little winning streak could spark something for a team in last place solely because of the number of games played. A defense that has allowed the seventh fewest goals in the league has been the key, but they need to improve the offense if they hope to achieve any real success.
#8 Philadelphia Flyers (9-7-1, -3, LW: 17)
The Flyers special teams have been horrific to say the least. Before Friday night’s shutout against against the Blackhawks the Flyers allowed a power play goal in each of their last nine contests. On the season they have only eight power play goals themselves and their .908 NPP% (or -.092 for Terry) is 27th in the league. That will have to improve if the Flyers want to reach the playoffs in consecutive seasons for the first time in seven years.
#7 Columbus Blue Jackets (10-6-2, -1, LW: 16)
#6 Toronto Maple Leafs (11-6-0, +12, LW: 8)
#5 Boston Bruins (10-5-2, +12, LW: 10)
#4 Winnipeg Jets (10-5-1, +9, LW: 9)
#3 Tampa Bay Lightning (12-4-1, +15, LW: 2)
#2 Minnesota Wild (11-4-2, +10, LW: 6)
#1 Nashville Predators (13-3-1, +20, LW: 1)
Earlier this week Bruins’ goalie Tuukka Rask took a leave of absence from the team and Keith Olbermann notably took a shot at him, asking if it had anything to do with his poor performance against the Canucks. Hockey fans took to Rask’s side, blasting Obermann via the Twitterverse, which is the norm for today.
I get sensitivity, I’m a Boston Bruins fan, and I’m over what Olbermann sent over social media. In fact, it took about 80/100ths of a second to get over it.
This is not a new phenomenon, it’s just that the extent to where the rage can come from is now non-stop. And the backlash has from the opposition no matter what side has gotten worse as well. Everyone has opinions and now everyone has an outlet. The easiest way to get these to go away is to have no reaction to them whatsoever.