After looking at the recent standings it seems as though the NHL may just have achieved a greater level of parity than any other sport in recent memory.
In the East:
Philly is in second with 59 points and Toronto is in 14th with 48. That’s a massive separation for only 11 points. It’s also interesting to note that if the Caps gain one point on Carolina they will jump from 10th to 3rd in the conference.
In the West:San Jose is in second with 61 points and Chicago is in 14th with 50 points. Again, 11 points separates pretty much the entire conference. Detroit may be the only team in the league that you can consider dominant in relation to everyone else. Of course, we've all seen what happens to them in the playoffs.
Ultimately, we are going to have a ridiculous number of competitive teams that won’t even get to play in the playoffs. Boston, Islanders, Rangers, Washington, Atlanta, Florida, Buffalo and Toronto will all be battling for the last couple of spots in the east. Now if it weren't for Buffalo's recent slide they would never be on the outside looking in, but that's a different post altogether. As is the importance of Ovechkin (MVP) and the arrival of Backstrom in Washington.
In the West, Calgary, Vancouver, Colorado, Columbus, Nashville (what!??!), Phoenix, St Louis, Edmonton and Chicago will all be fighting for the last 3 spots. It's hard to imagine Calgary and Vancouver missing the playoffs but that last spot is for the taking. Colorado has suffered through massive injuries and, on the back of a rejuvenated Theodore, are actually hanging on to the last playoff spot. Leclaire and Hitchcock have the BlueJackets looking for their first playoff appearance and Bryzgalov's arrival in Phoenix has transformed that team into a playoff worthy group.Anyone care to venture a guess as to who will make the playoffs and who won’t? I'll make my guesses in a later post.