GHC MID-SEASON REPORT
Half a season gone, half a season to go, who will last to make the Show! Swami sure doesnt Know!
PHILADELPHIA- It looks like the “Ekblad Sweepstakes” here! The last-place Flyers are two touchdowns away from a playoff spot & this aint football! 14 pts outta a playoff spot has the Flyers making excuses! Captain Drew Doughty (who by the way,has a team worst plus-minus at -12)blames the Zebra’s for the Flyers demise, saying “The opposition has had 32 more PP’s than we’ve had,almost one a game”! It all adds up to the 2nd most Goals Against (132) & they have only scored 100, a difference of 32 Goals. Not a recipe for sucess, as the defense needs to improve!
VANCOUVER- Young Center Tyler Johnson lead’s the Team in Goals with 15, but the Nucks are the lowest scoring team(95 Goals)in the League so far! Captain Henrik Sedin has 6 Goals, all on the Power-Play! That amounts to Zero at even-strength, no wonder Coach Otteson has him on the 4th line! Marc-Edward Vlassic, who’s 3rd in the GHC in take-aways chirped ” The Twins just arent smiling much this season, Coach has them on different lines & they dont like it! At least they are playing sulked Offensive Defenseman Roman Josi, “Ive rode the pine all season,havent even played one game”. A team that finished 2nd last season is in turmoil this year in next to last-place , is there time to turn it around?
DALLAS- With the League’s worst home record(6-12-2), the media, the fans, even the governor, want a coaching change! Long-time Coach Dale Hunter barked ” It’s not my fault that we(GM Steve Yzerman)traded an up & coming defenseman(Niskanen)for a crippled Goalie ! Backstreet cant stop a beachball, It’s Backstrom Dale, quipped a nearby news reporter! Whatever, I got too many Backstrom’s then! Our 1st round pick(nice job Steve)is 19 years old(Nichushkin) & he’s already got a hip problem,so I’m left with these Old Guys ! I’m still running this ship(into the ground said a disgruntled fan) & we are just 7 points back, & it aint over till the fat lady sings! Tell that fat lady to have a seat !
BUFFALO- The Sabres were in 2nd place earlier this season, a free-fall to 15th is in part to their lousy home record, which is tied with Dallas as the worst in the League(only 14 pts). Coach Phil Housley still has hopes of making the playoffs, even though the Sabres have given up the most Goals(134)in the League! Housley quipped ” When Bob(Bobrovsky 17-11 record & .920 saves%)is in the nets, were fine, but when I rest him & play these two other clowns, Enroth(1-8 record 4.09 GAA .892 saves%) & Nabokov(1-2 record 5.63 GAA & .850 saves%)we’re in trouble! “When those two start , I just pray we dont get embarrassed!
COLORADO- Anton Management has decided to clean house & the locker room! Just 5 points back of a playoff spot, the Avs Brass has decided to go with the young guns & move some of it’s veterans! Rumor’s have it that Martin St Louis, Mike Cammaleri, Francois Beauchemin, & Fedor Tyutin could be in different uniforms at the 60-game trade deadline! More ice-time for the youngsters could spark this squad enough to make run at playoffs!
PHOENIX- Although the Coyotes lead the League in PP Goals(39)& PP%(35.5), they are having problems scoring at even-strength, as they have the 3rd worst Team plus-minus(-96)in the league! Only 2 points back of the last playoff spot, if they can improve their 5 on 5 play in the 2nd half of the season, the Yotes could be in the Show again! On the PR side of things,the Yotes will be asked to change their name next season to the Arizona Coyotes per GHC rules(must be in an NHL name)
ST LOUIS- A winning homestand(4-1)right before the halfway mark of the season has Coach Gallamore’s squad just one point back of that last playoff spot! With the 3rd best Goals-Against(101) in the league, the Blues are riding Goaltender Carey Price, who’s 3rd in G.A.A.(2.49) & 4th in Saves%(.923). Price also has a League-High 4 Shutouts! If the “Price is Right” ,the Blues can cancel those spring tee times!
BOSTON- “Scorey” Perry leads the League in Goals(24)at the halfway mark & teammate Jamie Benn(22)is tied for 3rd! Plenty of scoring between this dynamic duo has the B’s tied with the Wild for that last playoff spot! If the Bruins can improve their Penalty-Killing, 4th worst (75.8)in the 2nd half, it might be another post-season for the Black & Gold!
MINNESOTA- One of the surprise teams in the GHC this season, the Wild have Youngster Carl Hagelin leading the team in Goals(13), as the scoring has come by committee! Another youngster, the 1st Overall Pick in the Rookie Draft Nathan MacKinnon, despite a team-worst plus-minus(-11), has contributed 9 Goals & 16 helpers so far! Currently tied with Boston for the last post-season spot, Will the Kids hold up over the 2nd half as the playoff chase heats up?
NEW YORK I- Coach Cristobal Huet, who took over the reins for Ray Ferraro,who was fired after the Isle missed the playoffs last season, preaches defense & Goaltending as a key to sucess! You may remember, or you may not, Cristobal won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the MVP of the playoffs back in 2006-07, when the Islanders last won the Cup ! Tied with the Lightning for the Best Team Goals-Against(99), Rookie Alex Stalock has really shined in the nets so far, an 8-3 record with a 1.62 GAA & a .945 saves% has the Isle looking for Offensive help at the trade deadline! Rumors abound that a physical was given to Mike Cammalleri behind closed doors!
SAN JOSE- They are starting to call Jaroslav Halak the “Iron Man” in San Jose, Halak has started all 40 games for the Sharks so far! Coach Jeff Freese will be resting him shortly at home ,saying “We want to see what youngsters Cam Talbot & Justin Peters can do,I believe Halak is burnt out! The Sharks have the 2nd most Goals(137)scored so far, as the trio of Tyler Seguin(23),Phil Kessel(21), & James Van Riemsdyk(19)are all in the Top Ten in Goal-Scoring! If the youngster Cam Talbot plays as well as he did in exibition, the Sharks could improve in the Stanings!
NEW JERSEY- The Surprise team of the GHC is led by MVP Henrik Lundqvist( give him the Award now)as the Devils have the 4th Best Team Goals-Against(103) & Henrik is carrying this squad on his back! Lundqvist leads the League in G.A.A.(2.22) & Saves%(.937) & is a runaway leader in Star of the Game Points with 50! 2nd best Marc-Andre Fleury has 33 points & trails by 17 behind the “King”,who has been named 1st Star 14 times in his 32 Starts(Just Amazing)! Did the Devils make a deal for more offense or are they gonna continue to ride on the back of the “King”!
TORONTO- Currently tied with the Devils for 4th place, the Leafs have used a balanced attack so far, as a half-dozen Leafs have 10 or more Goals, led by Claude Giroux with 14! News that All-Star Defenseman Kris Letang is getting healthy should be a boost for the 2nd half! Ryan McDonagh, who leads the GHC in ice-time(28:34)has been a workhorse for the Maple Leafs & a big reason why they are sitting in a 1st round Home Ice playoff spot!
CHICAGO- The 3rd place Blackhawks have the Best Home-record in the league(15-4-1)but under .500 on the road! Part of the reason for not-as-good road record is that Superstar Steven Stamkos hasnt been cleared to fly yet by team doctors,playing just at home! John Tavares, who also missed the first long road trip is now healthy enough to play on the road & this could improve the Hawks all-around! Rumors abound that Martin St Louis made a visit to the Windy City, are the Hawks looking to add the High-Scoring Winger, only time will tell!
LOS ANGELES- Fresh off a road trip that saw the Kings humiliate both Dallas(9-1)& Buffalo(10-2), the team finds itself in 2nd place at the halfway mark! Just 6 points back of that powerhouse team in Florida, the Kings have used a balanced attack, led by veteran Patrick Marleau, who leads the team with 17 Goals & 20 Assists. Five Players have 10 or more Goals & Blueliner Shea Weber is on pace for a 30 Goal Season, he has 16 so far, & he is 2nd in ice-time(27:46). Will the Kings make a deal at the deadline or will they just stand Pat! (lol)
TAMPA BAY- The Highest Scoring Team(140) & tied with the Isle for Best Goals-Against(99) is a good reason the Bolts are on Top at the 40-game mark! The Lightning have 4 of the League’s Top Ten in Goals , led by veteran Marian Hossa(22),Patrick Sharp(20), Jonathan Toews(19) & Anze Kopitar with 17! Patrick Sharp also leads the League in Points with 55 on his way to a 100 Point season! It’s not all Offense however, as Goaltender Marc-Andre Fleury is having a banner year too, he’s 2nd behind the “King” in G.A.A(2.30) & Saves%(.929)& Star Points(33)! Will the Bolts make a deal to bolster their Cup run again, GM Greg Doffin is always on the lookout for help at this time of the year!
Should be an exciting 2nd half for most of you & the rest of us have to play spoilers as we separate the Have’s from the Have nots! Sit down Fat Lady!