Friday, March 18, 2011

Around the Rinks: Underwhelming NHL Playoff Races

Has anyone else noticed a strange trend in the NHL’s playoff races lately?

Doesn’t it seem like no team actually wants those last couple of tickets to the postseason? Usually this is a very exciting time of year because if you’re in the thick of that race and you drop some points, you’re done. In the past couple of weeks though that just hasn’t been the case!

Don’t believe me?

Lets take a look at the Western Conference where the Dallas Stars are currently holding down sixth place despite losing three of their last five games, the Chicago Blackhawks are in seventh despite dropping four of their last five and the Calgary Flames sit in eighth, fresh off snapping a three game losing streak! It gets even worse when you bring in teams that are on the outside looking in: The Minnesota Wild have been a few points out for a couple of weeks now for example, but they’ve lost four in a row and five of six. The Nashville Predators are one point out right now, even though they’ve lost three of their last five games. The Columbus Blue Jackets were in the race for that final spot until they lost nine of ten, but no one is worse than Colorado – the Avalanche have plummeted down the standings after losing 10 in a row and 20 of 21!

In the Eastern Conference, the Buffalo Sabres and the Carolina Hurricanes can’t seem to decide who wants to play into the spring either. The Sabres hold eighth right now but have lost three of five, which is no problem because the Canes, currently in ninth, have lost five of six! Even the NY Rangers had some trouble, dropping three straight before going on a bit of a run and moving into seventh.

The Toronto Maple Leafs keep getting very close to that final spot and then losing a few games – right now they’ve lost five of seven. Even the New Jersey Devils, who went on an outstanding run to get their name back into the playoff conversation, start losing to teams like Ottawa as soon as they get to within a few wins of that final playoff spot!

Does anyone even want to finish eighth?!

Other stuff…

The NJ Devils are bringing back the vintage red and green uniforms for a game tonight - goalie Martin Brodeur wishes they got to wear them more often!

HUGE upset in the Swedish Elite League playoffs as the top-seeded defending champ is swept in the first round!

Detroit Red Wings forward Darren Helm says the key to his success is…some stubble!

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