Get in the Fast Lane, Grandma, FanIQ Presents NHL Mid-Season Grades!
The late Terrible Towel creator once graded the Pirates back in the '80s. He used a very unique way of grading using his crazy phrases. If the player was having a good year, he got a MM-HAH! If the player was having a so-so year or if he didn't know what to think, Cope gave him a rating of EHH. If the player flat out stunk, he was given a very emphatic FEH! This is the scale we'll use for all 30 NHL teams below. This is not a ranking, so to be fair we'll list the teams in alphabetical order. I'm flying solo on this one, not with my co-hostesses, although keep an eye out for more coming from all of us as the season goes on. Without further adieu, BK presents your 2013 NHL Midseason Report Cards...
Anaheim Ducks (GP=24, 18-3-3, 39 points, 1st Pacific Division, 2nd Western Conference)
The Ducks have been one incredible team this year! They're second in the West only to the Blackhawks. 10-1 on home ice, 7-2-1 on the road, and only 1 regulation loss overall in their last 10 games! They have the second best goal differential in the league, also second only to the Hawks. Yeah, no question about them...MM-HAH!
Boston Bruins (GP=23, 17-3-3, 37 points, 2nd Northeast Division, 4th Eastern Conference)
The B's have been great, save their lack of scoring on the power play. 8-1-1 in their last 10, and boast the fewest goals allowed in the entire league, just 48. A stingy defense and a pretty darn good goalie make up for that awful PP. They're one of the teams to watch for coming out of the Eastern Conference. Like the Ducks above, this is a no brainer...MM-HAH!
Buffalo Sabres (GP=26, 9-14-3, 21 points, 5th Northeast Division, 14th Eastern Conference)
How the mighty have fallen! Once an electric power play, once a huge threat, once a coach that was a staple in the NHL. Now Lindy Ruff has been kicked to the curb, the power play has struggled, and Ryan Miller just can't be a one-man show. The close games they used to find ways to win, they've found ways to lose. They're tied with 2 other teams for the fewest wins on home ice, just 4. They're bad and it's a sad sight to see...FEH!
Calgary Flames (GP=24, 9-11-4, 22 points, 5th Northwest Division, 15th Western Conference)
I feel bad for my co-host Debi for this year. The Flames have one of the worst goal differentials in the league. They're still in the playoff hunt in the wild wild West, but they need to put a streak together. Kiprusoff returning should help, but overall they're just not that good of a team. I hope for the best, but I'm not seeing the best. I'm sorry, but FEH!
Carolina Hurricanes (GP=24, 14-9-1, 29 points, 1st Southeast Division, 3rd Eastern Conference)
The Canes lost Cam Ward, but are still playing some great hockey. I wouldn't have thought they'd be in command of the Southeast Division at halfway, but here they are. They're pretty darn consistent with nearly identical records both at home on the road. They're fun to watch, and I would be happy to see them hold that division lead till the end of the season...MM-HAH!
Chicago Blackhawks (GP=26, 21-2-3, 45 points, 1st Central Division, 1st Western Conference)
Last week it finally happened, and they've now lost 2 in a row in regulation, but make no mistake they're one hell of a team! They have found different ways to win, and they've also had Lady Luck on their side a couple times. They're still excellent, and they'll lose a few more in regulation but it will be a monumental collapse if they don't win the President's Trophy...MM-HAH!
Colorado Avalanche (GP=24, 10-10-4, 24 points, 3rd Northwest Division, 12th Western Conference)
They were the team to knock off the Hawks, but that was at home where they're 8-2-1. However, they sport the worst road record in hockey at 2-8-3. They're much better on home ice, but Lord do they sucketh away from the Pepsi Center! For that abysmal road record and the fact that they still seem to be Jekyll and Hyde, I guess they're just EHH.
Columbus Blue Jackets (GP=26, 10-12-4, 24 points, 5th Central Division, 13th Western Conference)
Stop the press! The Jackets have won 5 in a row?! They're still at the bottom of their division, but they're 6-2-2 in their last 10. Is this just a fluky stretch, or a sign of things to come? They're horrendous on the road, just 3 wins in 12 games. I so want to give them a big fat FEH, but they may actually be getting slightly better thanks to the recent lights out play of Sergei Bobrovsky...EHH.
Dallas Stars (GP=24, 12-10-2, 26 points, 5th Pacific Division, 10th Western Conference)
They signed Jaromir Jagr. They traded Michael Ryder and got Erik Cole. They have a lot of talent, but they're merely treading water. They're dead even in goals for and against, 5-4-1 at home, 7-6-1 on the road, that's about as even a season as you can have at the halfway mark. This is easy...EHH.
Detroit Red Wings (GP=26, 12-9-5, 29 points, 2nd Central Division, 4th Western Conference)
The Wings have a losing record on the road, they just got swept in a weekend home-home against the aforementioned Columbus, and the West is so tight that they're in 4th place but 3 points out of 11th! They can't afford to keep the mediocre play going, .500 in their last 10, only outscoring their opponents by a total of 2 goals, and they just aren't the same anymore. They're not bad, but they're not the unbeatable team we've grown accustomed to...EHH
We're just getting started. We're going to take a quick commercial break and be back on page 2 with teams 11-20!
Welcome back! Let's continue our halfway grades...
Edmonton Oilers (GP=25, 9-11-5, 23 points, 4th Northwest Division, 14th Western Conference)
They got their most impressive win of the year against the Hawks IN Chicago, but they still stink overall. They're vasty outscored, hung on for dear life against the Hawks, and have only 3 wins in their last 10. I'm still not impressed, this team still has a long way to go. They may end up finishing last in the West yet again. When is it going to stop? They have to get better at some point, right? FEH!
Florida Panthers (GP=26, 7-13-6, 20 points, 5th Southeast Division, 15th Eastern Conference)
They're currently the worst team in the entire league, fewest wins, worst goal differential at a whopping -34, just 4 wins on home ice out of 15 games, 2 wins in their last 10, and even when they win it's ugly. No lead is safe with this team, Jose Theodore is washed up, and they might be the only thing stopping Edmonton from getting the #1 draft pick this summer...FEH!
Los Angeles Kings (GP=24, 14-8-2, 30 points, 2nd Pacific Division, 5th Western Conference)
So much for the early season Stanley Cup hangover. Don't look now, but here they come, all the way up to 5th in the West thanks to going 8-2 in their last 10. They're 5-6-1 on the road, but this team has turned it on behind Jeff Carter who is putting everything in the back of the net these days. This team is only continuing to get better, and that could spell trouble for the rest of the West...MM-HAH!
Minnesota Wild (GP=24, 13-9-2, 28 points, 1st Northwest Division, 3rd Western Conference)
They took over the division lead, but they're a winning team with a minus in the goal differential. They're nearly untouchable on home ice, but they're awful on the road. This team has a tremendous lack of scoring, 3rd fewest goals in the NHL, even Florida has scored more goals than them! Yes they're a winning team, but if they don't pick up the scoring it could spell trouble...EHH.
Montreal Canadiens (GP=26, 17-5-4, 38 points, 1st Northeast Division, 1st Eastern Conference)
Les Habitants sont feu sur la glace! Translation, the Habs are fire on ice! Andrei Markov is back and it's evident how much they've missed him. They're atop the Eastern Conference and have only 1 regulation loss in their last 10. Michel Therrien has them playing the way he did the Pens back in 2007-08. They're a fun team to watch, and oh what a difference a year makes. After last year's horrendous debacle, the Habs are back! MM-HAH!
Nashville Predators (GP=25, 10-9-6, 26 points, 4th Central Division, 11th Western Conference)
The Preds have a scoring problem, fewest goals in the league at 54. They're not very good on the road, and honestly if it wasn't for Pekka Rinne that lack of scoring would probably put them last in the league. This team needs some goal scorers and quick if they want to make the playoffs and do any damage this year. They're only 2 points out of 8th, but Rinne is not going to shut out the high flying teams. It's not pretty, in fact aside from Rinne it's not very good at all...FEH!
New Jersey Devils (GP=26, 12-9-5, 29 points, 2nd Atlantic Division, 7th Eastern Conference)
There's no way to sugar coat it, the Devils need Marty Brodeur back or the defending conference champs could miss the playoffs altogether. They have only 3 wins in their last 10, and that's about how long he's been out. It's not pretty, and the slide just keeps on going. Once sitting pretty to start the year, they're now only 3 points out of 9th in the East. If Marty doesn't come back soon, this team is in deep trouble...EHH.
New York Islanders (GP=26, 11-12-3, 25 points, 4th Atlantic Division, 10th Eastern Conference)
The Isles are still a work in progress, but they're showing signs of vast improvement this year as opposed to the last five or so. They're no longer a pushover, actually have a decent goalie, and a nice compliment of guys who can actually score on a regular basis led by John Tavares. They're currently 3 points out of a playoff spot, but they very well could get in this year. It might be tough, but it's not out of the question either...EHH.
New York Rangers (GP=24, 13-9-2, 28 points, 3rd Atlantic Division, 8th Eastern Conference)
They're starting to play slightly better, but they're still one of the lowest scoring teams in the league. Their power play is still lousy, but King Henrik gives them a chance to win every time he's between the pipes. That said, for as much talent as this team has, and the fact they don't shoot the damn puck, where they are in the standings is a disappointment, and for that reason they are worthy of a FEH!
Ottawa Senators (GP=25, 13-8-5, 31 points, 4th Northeast Division, 6th Eastern Conference)
Do you believe this team? If you would've told me they'd still be in the playoff hunt with as many injuries they've had, and to their best players, I would've told you you're crazy! But low and behold here they are. Barry Melrose gave them his vote for the #1 pleasant surprise of the first half, and I couldn't agree more. This team is defying logic, and if they make the playoffs, Paul MacLean should walk away with the Jack Adams Award for coach of the year. I'm impressed, and you can't help but like how this team continues to fight...MM-HAH!
That's 20, 10 more to go. We'll be back with the third period on Page 3 after these messages and a word from your local sponsors.
Welcome back to The NHL mid-season report cards, let's finish this out with teams 21-30!
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