Can We Play in YOUR Division?

The Florida Panthers last post-season appearance was shortly after Y2K. Yeah.

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There was a time when the South-East division was the weakest in the league. Florida and Atlanta were laughing stocks, Tampa Bay had some rough stretches, while Carolina and Washington were the best of a bad lot. Then Washington took a big step forward, and started cleaning up in the standings, finishing 4th in the league in ’08-’09, first overall in ’09-’10 and 2nd overall last season. But despite a series of impressive regular season performances, post-season success proved elusive.

The Vancouver Canucks were thoroughly dominant during the 2010-2011 regular season. They scored the most goals in the league (262) and also allowed the fewest (185) for a staggering +77 goal differential, capturing the President’s Trophy as the league’s top regular-season team. Unlike Washington, they made a strong playoff run, coming one game away from winning the Stanley Cup. But they also came inches away from losing to 8th place Chicago in the first round (Patrick Sharp nearly converted on the powerplay, mere minutes into OT of game 7), and struggled at times against a far less talented Nashville team. The finals loss to Boston can be blamed in large part on injuries, but what happened in the first two rounds? Continue reading

2012 NHL Standings Forecast

Standings forecast on a divisional basis

Might want to check out the FULL SEASON PREVIEW first, but here’s a plain old forecast of the NHL’s 2011-2012 regular season standings:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1WASHINGTON CAPITALS

2BUFFALO SABRES

3PITTSBURGH PENGUINS

4BOSTON BRUINS

5PHILADELPHIA FLYERS

6TAMPA BAY LIGHTING

7NEW YORK RANGERS

8NEW JERSEY DEVILS

9MONTREAL CANADIANS

10TORONTO MAPLE LEAFS

11CAROLINA HURRICANES

12WINNIPEG JETS

13OTTAWA SENATORS

14FLORIDA PANTHERS

15NEW YORK ISLANDERS

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1LOS ANGELES KINGS

2VANCOUVER CANUCKS

3CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS

4SAN JOSE SHARKS

5DETROIT RED WINGS

6MINNESOTA WILD

7ANAHEIM DUCKS

8ST. LOUIS BLUES

9CALGARY FLAMES

10NASHVILLE PREDATORS

11COLUMBUS BLUE JACKETS

12DALLAS STARS

13PHOENIX COYOTES

14EDMONTON OILERS

15COLORADO AVALANCHE

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For a bit of playoff intrigue, check out THE CONTENDERS SERIES, chronicling:

THE BEASTS OF THE EAST

THE CLASS OF THE WEST