NHL Midseason Report Cards

It's Time for NHL Midseason Grades, FEH!

1/18/10 in NHL   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

It's a little past halfway in the 2009-2010 NHL season.  All teams have played at least 46 games, and 3 teams have already played 50.  It's time to grade each team on their performance in the first half of the season.  We're not doing traditional grades though.  This is the Myron Cope grading scale.  I've done grades this way for NFL mid-term grades, and we're doing it the same way for hockey.  For those who don't know, Myron Cope, the late creator of the Terrible Towel, and longtime color analyst for the Steelers on radio, once graded the Pirates roster in the mid 1980s.  Instead of A, B, C, D, and F, he used a different scale.  If the player was good, he got a MM-HAH!  If the player was average, or you didn't know what to make of them, they got a EHH.  If the player flat out sucked, he got a FEH!  That's how each NHL team will be graded, and to make this fair game for all 30 teams, they're going to be listed alphabetically by height.  All records are as of Sunday, January 17.  So without further hoopla, here are your NHL mid-season report cards.

 Anaheim Ducks (22-20-7): The Ducks started off miserable, and while they currently have a winning record by their chinny-chin-chin, they're still not going anywhere this year.  Their penalty kill sucks, but they also get penalized more than anyone in the league.  In short, they shoot themselves in the foot every night.  They're 19 points behind their division leader...FEH!

 Atlanta Thrashers (21-19-7): This team started off pretty well, but took a nose dive recently.  As a result, the Caps are running away with the Southeast division, 17 points ahead of Atlanta now.  Not much to say about this team, except a MM-HAH! to start followed by a nose dive for a FEH! gives you an overall grade of EHH.

 Boston Bruins (23-16-8): They've lost 6 of their last 10, but are still playing pretty good overall behind one of the best goalies in the NHL.  It was no surprise when Tim Thomas was invited to be on the U.S. Olympic team.  They have a good team and should make the playoffs without a problem.  While they've taken a bit of a slide recently, I still have to give them a MM-HAH!

 Buffalo Sabres (29-11-6): This team has been on fire all year behind a goalie who is having a better year than Marty Brodeur, you heard me right.  Ryan Miller has been nearly lights out.  He has 5 shutouts, which is 1 behind Brodeur, 26 wins, which is tied for 2nd in the league, and leads the NHL in both save % and GAA.  Their PK is 3rd in the league and they're 10 points ahead of Boston in their division.  The Sabres get a resounding MM-HAH!

 Calgary Flames (26-17-6): This team is a bunch of streakers.  They win a few, then they lose a few.  It's been up and down all year for the Flames, who are currently tied with the Canucks for 2nd in their division.  Overall they've had a decent year though, so I guess I'll give them a MM-HAH!

 Carolina Hurricanes (14-26-7): To go from the conference finals to the #1 draft pick in the course of one year is embarrassing, but that's exactly what the Canes are headed for.  They have a grand total of 4 wins on the road this year, and are dead last in the league, but the Oilers are hot on their heels.  This team has been a sad sight to watch after being one round from the Stanley Cup Finals just one year ago...FEH! 

 Chicago Blackhawks (34-11-4): They're 8-1-1 in their last 10, and are currently atop the league with 72 points.  Their 34 wins are tops in the NHL, and they're the only team with at least 20 wins on home ice.  They're a scoring machine on offense, and have a pretty good defense corps and goalies to boot.  They were the Canes of the west last year, but unlike the Canes who have fallen off the face of the Earth, the Hawks could be the Western Conference champs if they keep this up, MM-HAH!

 Colorado Avalanche (27-15-6): This team may be the biggest surprise of the 2009-2010 season.  They weren't expected to light the word on fire, but they started off hot out of the gate, and despite a short slip after their red-hot start, they've continued to stay in contention for the division crown, and currently have a 2-point lead over the Canucks and Flames in the Northwest division.  I remember when this team was the best in the west, and they could be slowly returning to that form...MM-HAH!

 Columbus Blue Jackets (18-23-9): They started off pretty well, but oh man has this team taken the plunge.  They've fallen, and they've fallen badly, crashing out of the playoffs and down to the bottom of their division.  Sadly, the Jackets will be following up their first playoff appearance with some early tee times around the second week of April, because they won't be back to the playoffs for a second straight year...FEH!


 Dallas Stars (20-17-11): They're pretty good at home, not so much on the road.  They've been up and down all year, and are tied with the Ducks for last place in the Pacific division.  I've considered this team to be Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde all season long, and that still seems to be the case.  In my book, that earns you a EHH.

There's still 20 more teams to go, we're just warming up with these report cards.  Check page 2 for the next 10, starting with one team that's been a BAD surprise.

 Detroit Red Wings (24-16-8): Don't let the record fool you, they're very beatable this year.  It looks like the Wings might be finished with their run of dominance in the Western Conference.  They just lost to the Hawks, putting them 16 points behind Chicago for the division lead.  They're one point out of the playoffs, and might get in, but they won't go very far.  EHH.

 Edmonton Oilers (16-26-5): They've won 1 of their last 10, sat on the lead and blew a 2-0 lead against the Pens last week, and find themselves dead last in the West and just 2 points away from Carolina for the lowest point total in the NHL.  This team is just BAD!  I think it's pretty safe to say at this point...NO PLAYOFFS FOR YOU!  Oh, and a resounding FEH!

 Florida Panthers (20-20-8): They have one hell of a goalie, and are playing .500 hockey.  The 5-13 spots in the East are currently a clusterf***, so the playoffs are still possible.  They're 12th in the East, but only 2 points out of 8th.  They'll have to play a little better than mediocre if they want to keep playing past game 82 though...EHH.

 Los Angeles Kings (27-18-3): This team came out of the gate like a bat out of hell, but have recently fallen backwards.  Right now, they're hanging onto for dear life to the 8 spot in the West.  They've still made leaps and bounds over the past couple of seasons though, and are a team on the rise.  For their vast and continued improvements, I'd be kidding myself if I didn't give them a MM-HAH!

 Minnesota Wild (24-22-3): They started off slower than Cecil Fielder rounding the bases.  They still stink on the road, but are the complete opposite at home.  This is another team that's become like Jekyll and Hyde.  Overall, an awesome home record plus a sh*tty road record gives you a EHH.

 Montreal Canadiens (23-23-4): They recently celebrated 100 years, they're the Yankees of the NHL when it comes to number of Stanley Cups with 24, and they have an incredible history, but this year they just don't seem to have what it takes.  They're .500 at home, .500 on the road, and I'm deeply regretting drafting Carey Price for my Yahoo fantasy league.  They're tied with the Islanders for the 8 spot in the East, but the Isles currently have the tiebreaker.  What else can you say about this team except EHH. 

 Nashville Predators (29-16-3): The Preds are 7-3 in their last 10, and are tied for 4th in the West.  They don't have much breathing room though, as they're only 5 points out of 9th.  They've been one of the pleasant surprises though so far, and who knows what could happen if they make the playoffs.  For a first half which has been better than I'm sure everyone thought, they easily get a MM-HAH!

 New Jersey Devils (32-13-1): Dear Marty Brodeur, I hate your stinkin' guts, always have, always will.  As a Pens fan, it's always been in my blood, but you gotta give this guy the credit he deserves for adding one last amazing record to his already-guaranteed HOF career.  With 6 shutouts, he now has 107 for his career, 4 more than the great Terry Sawchuk.  Jacques Lemaire is back, and so is that classic tough as hell defensive style that he had when the Devils won titles back in the '90s.  This team will be hard to beat come playoff time.  MM-HAH!

 New York Islanders (21-19-8): Speak of the Devils (all puns intended), as I'm writing this, they're playing on Long Island and losing 4-0, Marty Brodeur got pulled.  Hey, even the greatest have games like that.  That said, the Isles are starting to come together, going 7-2-1 in their last 10.  John Tavares is living up to all the hype, and their multi-million dollar investment, achy-breaky goalie Rick DiPietro, is finally back in net.  They are tied for the 8 spot in the East, and whether they make the postseason or not, it's been a much-improved year, and for that, for the first time in about 4 years, they deserve a MM-HAH!

 New York Rangers (23-19-7): Marian Gaborik has played all year, and is a scoring machine.  King Henrik on the other hand, has a very young, inexperienced defense corps in front of him, and has looked very susceptible at times this year.  From what I've seen, the 2.26 GAA might be a bit deceiving.  While they are currently 6th in the East, they still seem to be an up-and-down team, and for that, they get simply an EHH.

10 more teams remain, check out page 3 for the last set of report cards.

  Ottawa Senators (24-21-4): This is another team that's had a roller coaster of a season to this point.  They're a darn good home team, but very beatable away from home ice.  They're currently hanging on to 7th in the East by the skin of their teeth, and are just one short slide away from 13th.  Overall, they're menza-menza, and that equals an EHH.

 Philadelphia Flyers (23-21-3): They fired their coach, got a new one who is under the impression they'll listen when he tells them not to fight as much, have managed to win more games lately, but still find themselves at the bottom of the Atlantic division.  Granted they're only 1 point out of 8th, but this team still has some work to do.  Even before going on IR, Ray Emery clearly wasn't the answer.  They need a better goalie, and they could probably do better without their #1 goon Daniel Carcillo.  For a half-a$$ed season to this point, they get an EHH.

 Phoenix Coyotes (28-16-5): Heisenburg's uncertainty principle said nobody knew what the hell was going on with this team over the summer, and because of that, Wayne Gretzky stepped down as head coach.  This team, however, has been a very pleasant surprise despite all the issues surrounding them.  They're tied with Nashville for 4th in the West, and are still chugging along.  I applaud this team for not letting the questions get in the way of their game.  MM-HAH!

 Pittsburgh Penguins (30-19-1): They've had a couple of losing streaks, but their recent road trip may have helped.  Despite all the injuries they've been sustaining, this team just keeps on truckin'.  Despite the fact that their PP is lousier than Ryan Leaf's NFL career (or lack thereof), they're still in good position to make the playoffs.  I doubt they'll overtake Brodeur and company for the division crown, but they're still looking good overall.  Oh did I mention Sidney Crosby has 30 goals and is tied for 2nd in the league in that category?  MM-HAH!

 San Jose Sharks (31-10-8): As usual, they only have 4 regulation losses on home ice, are 9 points ahead of Phoenix for the Pacific division lead, and just 2 points behind Chicago for the most points in the NHL.  They're always one of the greatest regular season teams, but fall asleep after game 82.  This isn't about playoffs yet though, so for now, they still easily get a MM-HAH!

 St. Louis Blues (21-19-7): This team is pretty darn good on the road, but they're God awful on home ice, their 17 overall losses (3 in OT) in St. Louis is the most overall home losses in the NHL so far this year, talk about home ice disadvantage!  If Anaheim got a FEH, and everyone below them in the West got a FEH, there's only one possible grade for the Blues...FEH!

 Tampa Bay Lightning (18-19-10): They're trying to improve, but this team still stinks for the most part.  Add up their regulation and OT losses, and they're exactly .500 at home, and absolutely pitiful on the road.  Steven Stamkos is having a great year, but overall this team is amazingly lousy, and they're not going anywhere come the second week of April except the golf course. FEH!

 Toronto Maple Leafs (16-24-9): They managed to climb out of the cellar in the East, but their performance is still below the Mendoza line.  This team is still a laughing stock, and still very much in the running for the #1 draft pick, which they won't have because they traded it away to get Phil Kessel.  They're very capable of ending up with the worst record in the league by the end of the year.  FEH!

 Vancouver Canucks (28-18-2): They're tied for second in the Northwest division, and Luongo is having another great year, no surprise there.  The division title could go to them, the Flames, or the Avs at this point, it's a crapshoot.  I thought this might be the toughest division in hockey, and with the top 3 teams separated by 2 points after 48 games (49 for the Flames), they're living up to that prediction.  MM-HAH!

 Washington Capitals (30-12-6): Who's ready for the next round of Crosby v. Ovechkin?  The two will finally meet for the first time this season Thursday night in Pittsburgh.  The Caps are currently atop the Eastern Conference with 66 points, and have a stranglehold on the Southeast division with a 17-point lead over the Thrashers, the biggest lead for any of the 6 current division leaders.  They should easily win the Southeast, and will be a tough out come playoff time once again.  MM-HAH!

So there you have it.  As you can see, some teams are firmly in control and are going to cruise into the playoffs, some are in a fight for their playoff lives, and a few can already start scheduling tee times for Monday, April 12.  It's going to be a great second half on the ice, and I'm looking forward to some great action!

BK over and out
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1/19/10   |   HULL_17   |   2495 respect

well as a Red Wings Fan i can say up untill now this season has been very disappointing and a bit of a bummer....but with the disappointment there are a few great things....Jimmy howard being one he has the 3rd best save % in the NHL...and he's getting better...another bright spot is the emergence of younger players...and once we get healthy again we'll be performing much better...and we will make a great push for the playoffs...

1/19/10   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

I'd say give Howard a little more time, this is the first year he's really played what could be considered a full season, right?  I understand the frustration for the shootout the other night, but he's done pretty well overall, 17-10-4, .928 save %, and 2.18 GAA, not bad for a guy you can consider a rookie goaltender.  I wouldn't worry about him being bad in the shootout much longer, even though Osgood is probably at the end of the road, I'm sure he's been showing Howard the ropes.  He has a pretty darn good teacher there.

1/19/10   |   Diablorain   |   4425 respect

GO WINGS!!!!!!

1/19/10   |   jtrain11   |   188 respect

Go Hawks!

1/18/10   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

woody050681 wrote:
I want it back!!! And that series still hurts by the way

 Well you can't have it!

1/18/10   |   woody050681   |   13689 respect

kramer wrote:
I am enjoying it, especially since they beat the Wings to take that Cup.

I want it back!!! And that series still hurts by the way

1/18/10   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

woody050681 wrote:
Hey, You zip it Kramer The Penguins have the CUP that belongs in Hockey Town. Enjoy it while you can.

I am enjoying it, especially since they beat the Wings to take that Cup.

1/18/10   |   woody050681   |   13689 respect

(Edited by woody050681)

Hey, You zip it Kramer The Penguins have the CUP that belongs in Hockey Town. Enjoy it while you can.

1/18/10   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

kteacher wrote:
Pssshh....I think they still need to see their team miss the playoffs...just to make sure.

That would make me a happy man.

1/18/10   |   woody050681   |   13689 respect

(Edited by woody050681)

Yes it has , but all they have to do is make the playoff's and anything can happen

1/18/10   |   kteacher   |   34390 respect

kramer wrote:
 Don't worry, I think for the most part, having a season like this so far has humbled Wings fans a little, at least I hope it has.

Pssshh....I think they still need to see their team miss the playoffs...just to make sure.

1/18/10   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

kteacher wrote:
0-2 with two games remaining. (So....don't be getting all high and mighty with me. )

 Don't worry, I think for the most part, having a season like this so far has humbled Wings fans a little, at least I hope it has.

1/18/10   |   kteacher   |   34390 respect

woody050681 wrote:
Hey Becky, what's the King's record against the Wings this year? Uh oh I think I may have poked the bear

0-2 with two games remaining. (So....don't be getting all high and mighty with me. )

1/18/10   |   woody050681   |   13689 respect

kteacher wrote:
ha ha....OK smarty pants! I don't think the Raiders had a winning record against their own division. The Kings are 11-3-1 (or something like that)  against their division and have a pretty darn good record against the entire Western Conference as well.

Of course I would love to have Jack Johnson live up to all his hype and Randy Jones to learn how to play some D....but overall the Kings are pretty darn good this year.

Hey Becky, what's the King's record against the Wings this year? Uh oh I think I may have poked the bear

1/18/10   |   nyrangers   |   192 respect

(Edited by nyrangers)

Valid point. Don't jinx it though!!! *knock on wood*

EDIT: meant as a response to Kramer

1/18/10   |   kteacher   |   34390 respect

kramer wrote:
Yeah, they beat good teams this year, but the Raiders did that too and only finished 5-11.

ha ha....OK smarty pants! I don't think the Raiders had a winning record against their own division. The Kings are 11-3-1 (or something like that)  against their division and have a pretty darn good record against the entire Western Conference as well.

Of course I would love to have Jack Johnson live up to all his hype and Randy Jones to learn how to play some D....but overall the Kings are pretty darn good this year.

1/18/10   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

nyrangers wrote:
Good write up, I do have a few comments though:

The Wings haven't lived up to their potential because they have been devestated with inuries. Franzen will be out for basically the entire regular season, Zetterberg has missed a few weeks and has just returned recently, and there are a few other notable names that I can't seem to remember that have missed / are still missing time.

I'd give the Canadiens a "FEH" because they have played awful defense. I have seen some of their games, they don't do a great job of protecting the mediocre Carey Price or Jaroslav Halak.

I might also bump the Stars down because of their shotty goaltending. Turco has been awful and has let up way too many goals that shouldn't go in

You mentioned that the Leafs are in the running for the #1 overall pick in the draft...well unfortunately for them they are not. They gave their number one pick for the upcoming draft (and the following draft) up to the Bruins in the deal for Kessel.

You also mentioned that Gaborik has played all season, but he missed 3 or 4 games. No biggy, but it goes to show how valuable he is that he is still at the top of the league scoring leaders with his score-fail team around him.

I must've forgotten the details of the Kessel trade, thanks for the heads up, I'll fix that.  As for Gaborik, playing all but 3 or 4 games for him IS playing the full season, at least to this point.

1/18/10   |   nyrangers   |   192 respect

(Edited by nyrangers)

Good write up, I do have a few comments though:

The Wings haven't lived up to their potential because they have been devestated with inuries. Franzen will be out for basically the entire regular season, Zetterberg has missed a few weeks and has just returned recently, and there are a few other notable names that I can't seem to remember that have missed / are still missing time.

I'd give the Canadiens a "FEH" because they have played awful defense. I have seen some of their games, they don't do a great job of protecting the mediocre Carey Price or Jaroslav Halak.

I might also bump the Stars down because of their shotty goaltending. Turco has been awful and has let up way too many goals that shouldn't go in

You mentioned that the Leafs are in the running for the #1 overall pick in the draft...well unfortunately for them they are not. They gave their number one pick for the upcoming draft (and the following draft) up to the Bruins in the deal for Kessel.

You also mentioned that Gaborik has played all season, but he missed 3 or 4 games. No biggy, but it goes to show how valuable he is that he is still at the top of the league scoring leaders with his score-fail team around him.

1/18/10   |   kramer   |   11004 respect

kteacher wrote:
I will agree with your grade for the Kings. I am always hopeful every season, but this is the first season in a very long while that I've had hope for a playoff birth. None of the teams on top will get a cake walk series when the playoffs start------which speaks tons for how talented and hard the western conference is.


*** By the way, one  of the Sharks losses at home in regulation is courteous of my Kings (6-2 on Jan.4th). They've also beaten the Penguins and Capitals this season as well.

Yeah, they beat good teams this year, but the Raiders did that too and only finished 5-11.

1/18/10   |   kteacher   |   34390 respect

I will agree with your grade for the Kings. I am always hopeful every season, but this is the first season in a very long while that I've had hope for a playoff birth. None of the teams on top will get a cake walk series when the playoffs start------which speaks tons for how talented and hard the western conference is.


*** By the way, one  of the Sharks losses at home in regulation is courteous of my Kings (6-2 on Jan.4th). They've also beaten the Penguins and Capitals this season as well.

1/18/10   |   Diablorain   |   4425 respect

i just hope the Redwings get their act together!!!!

1/18/10   |   gobigblue1960   |   4803 respect

woody050681 wrote:
The Red Wings are starting to get healthy and if Jimmy Howard or Chris Osgood can improve in goal, they always have a chance. Besides they are only 5 points out of 4th place in the West. I know that's a lot of if's but as a Wings fan I'm staying positive. Gotta get Holstrom, Franzen, Williams and Kronwall back from injuries!

Preach on my fellow Winged-Wheeler. When the Red Wings get healthy they will be a team no one wants to play.

1/18/10   |   kishanpatel495

you are weird and i dislike your jacket

1/18/10   |   Scott   |   53606 respect

The expectations coming into this season havent even come close to being met by the Blues.  They are going to need another run of epic proportions like last season to get a playoff berth. 

1/18/10   |   woody050681   |   13689 respect

The Red Wings are starting to get healthy and if Jimmy Howard or Chris Osgood can improve in goal, they always have a chance. Besides they are only 5 points out of 4th place in the West. I know that's a lot of if's but as a Wings fan I'm staying positive. Gotta get Holstrom, Franzen, Williams and Kronwall back from injuries!

1/18/10   |   billywa   |   658 respect

(Edited by billywa)

Hell I'm a Bruins fan and I'm gonna argue they deserve only an EHH.  Granted, they haven't had a healthy lineup all year (losing Savard(twice), Bergeron, Lucic, and Ferrence, for extended stretches) but even when one or all of those parts have been in place, their scoring is way down. Some other folks need to step up and they haven't done so (calling Mr Ryder and Mr Sturm, hellooooo?).  Might be a different story if they can get everyone back to stay and they can build some chemistry, but up to now, they've been average bordering on bad imho...