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NHL at the All-Star Break

Well, the NHL is heading into the All-Star break. How are the teams doing to date?

We find that 29 of 30 teams are still in the hunt for 16 playoff spots. This shows the league has balance this year. At this point, here are the division leaders:

Atlantic: Flyers & Devils

Northeast: Senators

Southeast: Cans

Central: Red Wings

Northwest: Wild

Pacific: Stars & Sharks

At the month old point of the season, I saw the following teams as disappointments: Atlanta, New Jersey, Anaheim, and Nashville. I can say now that these teams apparently had a slow start to the season. New Jersey, Atlanta, and Anaheim are now challenging for the top spot of their division. But, only New Jersey and Anaheim are in position for the playoffs.

If the playoffs were today who would be in (in order of seeds, top to bottom)?

East: Senators, Flyers, Hurricanes, Canadiens, Devils, Penguins, Bruins, Islanders.

West: Red Wings, Sharks, Wild, Stars, Ducks, Flames, Canucks, and Avalanche.

Of the teams looking in, all teams have a chance to make the playoff with exception of the Kings. In the East, the eighth place team to the sixteenth place team are separated by 9 points. Meanwhile, in the West, the separation is 6 points from eighth to fifteenth place. So, the next part of season is going to be make or break the teams who are in the running for playoff spots.

Philadelphia is still the biggest improvement team from last year. From the bottom of the league last year to the top of their division right now. We will see if they can hold on.

The teams at the top of their conference still are the teams to beat. But, it seems that Senators may have some issues with injuries. This could result in the Eastern Conference race tightening up. Injuries are not limited to the Senators. The Pittsburgh’s lost of Crosby for 6-8 week could hurt them as well. But, other team members will have to carry the slack to keep the Pens in the playoff hunt.

In the West, the Red Wings appear to be coasting for the top seed. The rotation of the goalies have keep them fresh and team plays well regardless of who is in goal.  I see much improvement in the Blues and Blackhawks this season.  This should keep the Red Wings on their toes as they push for West Conference crown.

So, the All-Star games in Atlanta should be a good game of skill and high scoring.  Check out NHL All Star Game by clicking the logo below:

NHL All-Star Game Logo 2008

But, the reminder of the season should be exciting. Catch the action on Versus in US, TSN/CBC/RDS in Canada, and NBC in the US (weekends only).

Check out my 2007 year end analysis here.
Check out my first analysis here.

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Categories: Hockey, Sports
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