Just look at the top eight in the Western Conference right now. Does that make you angry? It should. Here’s what I have to say to all those who currently stand between Detroit and a play-off spot in the West.
San Jose 31 GP 19-7-5
Notice how no one is talking about this team despite the fact they’re off to another hot start? Maybe it’s because this heartless team went out and got one of the most selfish players in the league and we all know they are doomed to fail. Honestly, anyone of the play-off teams in the West has a chance against the Sharks in a seven game series. So go ahead and take the Pacific Division. Take the President’s Trophy too, if you want. You ain’t making it out of the West.
Colorado Avalanche 32 GP 17-9-9
Only four wins in your last ten games. The honeymoon will be over soon enough. Just keep riding Craig Anderson until he breaks…which he will. You’re giving up an average of 33+ shots each night. Sooner or later, your savior will tear something flopping all around to save your team and preserve this hot start. By year end, we’ll be looking back and saying, “Hey, remember how good Colorado was at the beginning of the season? I can’t believe they didn’t make the play-offs.”
Chicago Blackhawks 28 GP 18-7-3
Oh. Little Brother…you’re getting more and more confident aren’t you? It’s a good time to be focusing on the now, since this off-season is going to see more Blackhawks relocated than when the white man first came with their boom sticks. We all know you’re going to be constantly looking over your shoulder, waiting for the tomahawk to drop. Six point lead in December? Big deal. You and your mercenary, Maryanne Hossa are in for yet another reminder about who the true power in the Central Division is. No matter what you do in the regular season, your worst enemy will still be the most feared team in the West.
Calgary Flames 29 GP 18-8-3
Aren’t you due for a nice rash of injuries like the rest of the Western Conference? Yeah, you’re mad Irish-looking Finn goalie may have shut us down at home, but so did Scott Clemenson…big friggin’ whoop. All those dollars spent on your back end better stay healthy, because you don’t have the offensive depth to play with the big boys.
Los Angeles Kings 31 GP 18-10-3
Another young overachieving team is off to a hot start. Those extra games played are coming in handy in the Western Standings right now. Nobody really sees you as a threat, more like a science experiment. Kopitar was looking pretty damn impressive until Smyth went down. Then he did a disappearing act. Again, you don’t have the depth or the experienced goaltending to make too big of a splash when it’s all said and done. Imagine if you had 4 premiere players out like Detroit has right now. Where would you be? Do you even have 4 premiere players to begin with?
Phoenix Coyotes 30 GP 18-11-1
You’re battling Rosby for top spot on the Gary’s Pet List. Now that Pittsburgh is the “model franchise” (and by model, I mean sucking so bad that your team is going to leave town until you get a bunch of top 5 draft picks and now your team is relevant again), you’re the new project. You’re official property of the NHL in what is a pretty big conflict of interest, which is interesting…though not surprising. Just like Colorado, you’re being held up by your goaltender. If anything happens to Bryzgalof, you are sunk. Heck, you’re already sunk financially. Eventually, the quality of play will follow suit.
Nashville Predators 29 GP 16-11-2
Oh, Bubba…you’re up and down the standings like a pogo stick. Despite having one of the most underrated coaches in the league (who looks like Jack in the Box), your rise in the Western Conference is as fast as your fall at the start of the season. Play the averages, and you’re due for a big time fall. Even if you manage to squeak into the top eight at the end of the regular season, history is not on your side. You’ve never won a play-off series…and I mean not ever.
Dallas Stars 29 GP 13-8-8
Even though, until last year, you were a perennial play-off contender…I think we both know that something about you being in the top 8 just doesn’t seem right. I bet that game the ref handed to you isn’t on your minds, even though it could be why you’re one point ahead of us in the standings. When it comes down to it, you probably should be in the play-offs, but you’re going to have to get past the likes of powerhouses like Phoenix and LA. You know that they’re not going to stay ahead of us, so you better paddle like hell to keep your head above water. Bottom line: Brett’s foot was in the crease and Brad’s shot was in the net.