2) We'll skip the Tavares hype for this post, but the teams that were supposed to be in the 'hunt' for the coveted forward were Atlanta, Tampa Bay, NY Islanders, and the Maple Leafs. Until recently no Western Conference team appeared to have a shot, but recent swoons by both Colorado and Phoenix at this stage put them in play for the "race to the bottom". As for the aforementioned Eastern Conference dregs, all they have done lately is win. Odd since they were supposed to be tanking it for the pick, right?
3) Apparently others have begun to notice this phenominon as well. As recently as last week one of our favourite hockey bloggers, James Mirtle was writing how he believed the Isles were 'playing to get Tavares'. Ostensibly tanking the entire season to get the top pick. Of course we scolded him for that because it would be inane to tank an entire season, and also silly as the bottom team has less than a 50% chance of winning the draft lottery anyway(48%). Apparently James has been paying better attention as he did a very nice post yesterday about the Isles. Here---> http://www.fromtherink.com/2009/3/17/800843/a-tank-for-tavares-update
- The Thrashers had their franchise best winning streak, six, snapped last night by the hottest team in the East Pittsburgh. After thoroughly manhandling the SE division leaders Capitals the night before 5-1. The Thrashers did it without superstar Ilya Kolvulchuk. Head coach John Anderson has his sextet playing with emotion and grit. Hardly mailing it in, going an impressive 8-3 in their last 11 games.
- The Islanders have been as impressive. In mid January they appeared poised to finish dead last by quite a margin, but Coach Gordon has instilled confidence in the younger players who have by and large been the catalyst in this resurgence. Gaining points in 8 of their past 10 games including beating Montreal, Chicago and blowing out the previously hot Devils and Marty Broder 7-3
- The Maple Leafs appeared to be in solid Tavares territory going into December. It seems once Brian Burke took over the team responded. Even more so since the trade deadline when the team off loaded Nik Antropov and Dominic Moore for draft picks. They have won 8 of the past 12 to pull themselves pretty much out of Taveras contention
- The Lightning, though hardly burning up the league haven't been pushovers either lately, adding points in 6 of their last 10 contests. As FR2 wrote in their power rankings, this team should be doing better than it is, but at least lately it appears that the team isn't laying down and dying.
5) We won't again go into how we detest the rewarding of losing(both in games with the OT loser point, and in improved draft position) but we are glad to see that this year anyway it appears that teams aren't tanking it for potential rewards in June! Nice job guys!