Let’s LOCK the Bruins, Devils, and Capitals into the playoff picture because anything short of a plane crash it’s pretty much impossible for them to fail. The remaining teams are ALL on the bubble and any stumbling by any one of them and they could slide down that razor blade, below the MENDOZA LINE and being playing wedges out of sand traps?soon.
Taking those teams one by one:
FLYERS: Points - 84… Games left to play – 13… They are sitting in 4th place 6 points above the MENDOZA LINE. ?The Flyers because of major salary cap constraints weren’t able to upgrade their defense. That, along with the play of both goalies (Biron and Niittymaki) are shaky to say the least. Trying to get the M*A*S*H Unit/Band-Aid boy (signing mistake) Briere into the lineup hasn’t faired too well but all the have to do is play pretty much 50/50 hockey to get a playoff position.
PENGUINS: Points – 84… Games left to play – 10… Sitting in 5th place based on games left to play they do have (1) more win than the Flyers. The Pens are the hottest team in the NHL since the Bylsma took the reigns from Therrien. The trades getting Kunitz and Guerin for Crosby’s line and return of Fedotenko plus the addition of Gonchar combined with the strong play of Malkin and Crosby and the focus of Fleury this team now looks like what they were predicted to be at the end of last season. They too, like the Flyers, ‘could’ play 50/50 hockey and still get the last playoff spot. The Flyers, Rangers, and Montreal – all have games in hand but the Pens have a nice home schedule.
NY RANGERS: Points – 82… Games left to play – 11… Like the Penguins the Rangers were also struggling and added Tortorella, who claimed the RAGS were out of shape. Do you recall Therrien doing that same thing on his first week with the Penguins. They also added Avery, Antropov, and Morris. They like the Flyers and Penguins need a major hiccup not to make it.
MONTREAL: Points – 81… Games left to play – 12… They are in the hunt and they also fired their coach (Carbonneau) and GM Gainey takes over. Gainey didn’t fare so well on his last take-over of this kind and really this team requires pretty much a group enema. The defense has been in shambles – the young players have been accused of partying too much… they have so many off ice distractions along with an inconsistent Cary Price – they could be flushing this centennial season right down the toilet.
CAROLINA: Points – 81… Games left to play – 10… The trade deadline is affective here too as Cole paired with (Jordan’s brother) the other?Staal and the come to Jesus wakeup of Roids Brind’Amour have them moving up. Of course, last night New Jersey rests Brodeur (who rested all season) and played their 2nd backup Weekes. Maybe they are afraid of a Penguin first round match-up too. Carolina is on a roll at the right time – just like the Pens.
– – – – – – – THE MEDOZA LINE – – – – – – –
FLORIDA: Points 78… Game left to play – 12… More or less a surprise team but decides not to trade Bouwmeester at the deadline and then Horton breaks his thumb. Oh RATS (pun intended)… They are going to have to have someone to rise up on what looks to be a very weak offense but I just don’t see that happening.
BUFFALO: Points 76… Games left to play – 12… IMHO you can never count Lindy Ruff out of it. The injuries to both Vanek and Miller were crushing blows but their inconsistency may do them in. Tenth at this time isn’t a pretty spot but neither Buffalo nor Florida are out of it BUT it will take a winning streak combined with a losing streak by one of those above the MENDOZA LINE if they are to get in.
Magic Numbers aren’t too far behind!
This is DR Hook… carry on