Thursday, March 26, 2009

Limping To The Finish Line!

1) Looking at the NHL standings it seems some teams have performed (or under performed) the past couple of weeks like they have little to play for, when in fact their playoff lives are at stake! Two of those teams played last night. The Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers squared off in Buffalo. The Sabres were in the far worse situation of being 5 points out with 10 games remaining, while the Panthers were 2 points behind Montreal for the 8th spot. In their respective past 10 games combined including last night's Sabres victory both teams have gone a pathetic 6-10-4. hardly the appearance of teams gearing up to win a spot in the post season!

2) The Sabres can point to the loss of starting goalie Ryan Miller as a cause of their recent down turn. While Florida has had its share of injury woes as well. Sorry, we're not buying that excuse. The NJ Devils lost their starter for 4 months, and all they did was surge to the top in their division/conference. Wasn't Lindy Ruff supposed to be a great coach? Sorry, we believe he is vastly over rated! On the flip side the Panthers, winners of 2 in the past 10 seem to be falling into their perennial trap of near playoff misses. Again falling into the NHL version of no-mans-land. What makes it even worse was the fact that Florida gambled at the trade deadline retaining impending UFA defenseman Jay Bouwmeester. If they were to not make the playoffs, miss the draft lottery AND lose Bouwmeester, we'd say its strike 3, you're out Jacques Martin!

3) We should also add that the current 8th spot occupant, Montreal Canadiens have hardly been tearing up the league. Winning a mere 3 of their past 10, just ending a season long 5 game losing streak by beating the lowly Thrashers at home. They are also helped by the fact that 5 of their next 6 opponents are not currently top 8 teams, so theoretically they should be able to solidify their lead, but the way teams near that spot have done lately, we wouldn't place money on it!

4) In the West the situation is not nearly as bad with the bubble teams, Nashville, Minnesota, and Edmonton trudging along at or near .500 the past 2 weeks. Only Anaheim who most felt should be in the playoffs, and the Blues, who few saw as a playoff threat, have been playing consistently well recently. Its still anyone's guess as to the final 2 positions out west with 5 teams having a realistic shot at the final 2 slots. Like the East, it appears that teams just can't close the deal.

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