Every team has now played at least 24 games, which means it is time for the NHL midseason report. First, let’s begin with three teams that are unexpectedly good. The Montreal Canadiens finished dead last in the Eastern Conference last year, yet this year they are atop the conference in the standings. The Anaheim Ducks also missed the playoffs last year, yet have established themselves as the West’s second best team. Finally, we have the Chicago Blackhawks. The Blackhawks weren’t bad last year, however, no one expected them to go on the historic streak that they went on by getting points in every single game in the first half of the season.
Now, for three teams that are unexpectedly bad. The Washington Capitals almost advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals last year, yet this season they are in dead last in the conference and Ovechkin has under produced horribly. The Philadelphia Flyers had a decent playoff run last year as well, yet this year they are out of the playoff picture probably due to lack of goaltending. Finally, the Rangers were the number one team in the East last year and this year they might not make the playoffs. Despite acquiring Rick Nash from Columbus, the Rangers have struggled and are currently not in the playoff structure. The other night Rick Nash laid an illegal hit on someone and was not suspended for it. Many believe the league didn’t suspend him because New York is a huge market for hockey and the Rangers are desperately trying to make the playoffs. I personally find this funny because the Rangers head coach, John Tortorella, was fined not too long ago for complaining about a conspiracy against his team.
Other notable things that have happened this season include the talk of banning fighting again. This discussion arose due to a brutal fight at a Leafs vs. Senators game.
Steven Stamkos is still the league’s top goal scorer, and continues to play at a ridiculously high level despite the fact that the Tampa Bay Lightning are a poor team.