Get in the Fast Lane, Grandma, FanIQ Presents NHL Mid-Season Grades!
Philadelphia Flyers (GP=26, 12-14-1, 25 points, 5th Atlantic Division, 11th Eastern Conference)
How the mighty have fallen! This team is getting outscored, they're putrid away from Wells Fargo Center, and when Voracek is your leading scorer you know you have a problem. This team is going to rue the day they traded James Van Riemsdyk to the Leafs. They're out of a playoff spot, and last in the Atlantic Division...yes, behind the Isles. This team is vastly worse than last year's squad who battled the Pens for the most goals in the league. Also not in their favor is the fact that they've played 27 games already, more than any other team, so the teams they need to jump over have games in hand and more chances to pull away. What a disappointment...FEH!
Phoenix Coyotes (GP=25, 12-10-3, 27 points, 4th Pacific Division, 9th Western Conference)
We still don't know if this team is staying in the desert or not. However, they are still in the playoff hunt despite a record of mediocrity and being the other team with Dallas to have the same number of goals for and against. They're not the same team they were last year, but they're also not completely terrible either. I don't think this team is going to make the playoffs, but I've been wrong before. They need to be a little more consistent though in order to get over the hump, and I'm not sure they have the makeup to do it...EHH.
Pittsburgh Penguins (GP=26, 18-8, 36 points, 1st Atlantic Division, 2nd Eastern Conference)
No I didn't miss a number, they're the only team left without an overtime loss. They have the most goals in the league, leading that category by a full dozen. Sidney Crosby leads the league in scoring, Kris Letang leads all defensemen in scoring, and Chris Kunitz leads the league in +/-. Their lackluster penalty killing is a concern, but when you're outscoring teams every night like they are and have the most wins in the East, leading the division by 7 points, that tends to get swept under the rug. Defense is still questionable sometimes, but overall this team is going to be tough to beat...MM-HAH!
San Jose Sharks (GP=24, 11-7-6, 28 points, 3rd Pacific Division, 7th Western Conference)
Remember that great start they had? Yeah, since that 7-0 start they've only won 4 games. They have completely stopped scoring, 19 straight games where they've scored 3 goals or less. For a team with this much firepower, to have the second fewest goals in the entire league is almost beyond comprehension. Somehow they're still in the playoffs if the season ended today, but they're also only 2 points out of 11th in the West. This team needs to find themselves, and fast...FEH!
St. Louis Blues (GP=25, 13-10-2, 28 points, 3rd Central Division, 8th Western Conference)
Right now the Blues are kind of treading water. They're hanging on for dear life to the 8th and final playoff spot in the West. We know they don't have a ton of scorers, and when your goalies are pitching one shutout after another like they were last year, it looks worse. They have a pretty darn good power play, and a defense that can still shut teams down, but they need to wake up a little bit or they'll find themselves as a one-year wonder...EHH.
Tampa Bay Lightning (GP=25, 10-14-1, 21 points, 4th Southeast Division, 13th Eastern Conference)
Remember that electrifying start on home ice? Yeah, so much for that. This team has hit rock bottom, and if not for Stamkos leading the league in goals again and being among the scoring leaders, they'd be in some big time trouble! They have goaltending issues, they stink something awful on the road, and yet they're in a 3-way tie for 2nd in the league in goals scored with 85. Guy Boucher is a firecracker, and he's having to light the stick of dynamite under his players' rear ends almost on a nightly basis. This team needs help, quickly, or it'll be a repeat of last year...FEH!
Toronto Maple Leafs (GP=26, 15-10-1, 31 points, 3rd Northeast Division, 5th Eastern Conference)
Look at the Leafs! Randy Carlisle is doing one hell of a job, and this team looks like it may finally be returning to the postseason. They're much improved and they're fun to watch. They have scorers and they're finally starting to string some wins together on home ice as of late. They still have a little less than half the season to play, but I firmly believe this team is going to make the playoffs. They don't give up, they're never completely out of a game, and that's something we haven't seen from Toronto in quite some time...MM-HAH!
Vancouver Canucks (GP=24, 11-7-6, 28 points, 2nd Northwest Division, 6th Western Conference)
The Canucks are part of that gaggle in the West and they should certainly be sweating bullets right now. Luongo and Schneider aren't a shut down goalie tandem this year, Kesler's absence is clearly hurting them, and they're mid-pack in goals scored. This is not like Vancouver. Someone has to win that Northwest division, and it doesn't seem like anyone really wants to step up and take control. There's no clear-cut favorite, and I can see the struggles continuing for the Canucks. Like the Wings, they're just not the same team we're used to seeing the last few years...EHH.
Washington Capitals (GP=24, 10-13-1, 21 points, 3rd Southeast Division, 12th Eastern Conference)
Where do I start? As our own Eric (gearhead) has pointed out, this team is a dumpster fire. They have a MINUS goal differential, and despite their power play coming back to life, had one good stretch and started struggling again. Sunday's loss to the Rangers hurt as it put them 7 points out of a playoff spot. That's a good chunk to make up. Ovechkin still isn't the same player, and to me just does not look like a leader to me. This team has been a huge disappointment. There's nothing more to say except FEH!
Winnipeg Jets (GP=25, 12-11-2, 26 points 2nd Southeast Division, 9th Eastern Conference)
They're the wild card in the Southeast Division. I still don't know what to make of them. They've been outscored, have a losing record on home ice, and yet they're somehow still treading water and just 2 points out of the final playoff spot in the East. I'm still not sold on them, but they're not a complete pushover. I'm torn. I don't know what else to say about this team, so EHH.
There you have it, all 30 teams and a short and sweet analysis. What grade would you give your team? Did I miss something significant about your team that would change their grade? If so tell me in the comments below
Until next time, I'm Bryan Kramer for The Blitzburgh Pit Stop saying that it's always a great day for hockey, and in the immortal words of Mike Lange, "Ladies and gentlemen, Elvis has just left the building!"
BK over and out