Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend's events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.
So I went to NHL.com yesterday to have a look at the conference standings. Why? I'm not entirely sure, since they don't even matter a little bit. Perhaps it's because they don't matter at all right now that they're so completely ridiculous.
The top of the Eastern Conference is, I guess, only a little surprising. The Rangers, after all, got off to a hot start last year and they've won seven on the trot. I think the real surprising thing is that they've averaged four goals a game and allowed less than two doing it. But at the same time, they're tied with a very good Penguins team for the NHL, conference and divisional lead, so that's not totally horrifying.
But then look at the rest of the East. Ottawa leading the Northeast, the Sabres and Thrashers with one regulation loss each, the Bruins sub-.500? The Devils are 4-3-0 despite allowing more goals than they've scored. I don't even know what to make of it.
I've watched a few Thrashers games this year and haven't been struck by how terrible they are. It's like 'up' suddenly became 'down' because they drafted Evander Kane(notes).
The West is just a disaster. The Avalanche and Coyotes lead their division, and are on pace for 133 and 113 points, respectively. Normally you'd call that a fluke and normally you'd be right, but these teams look unstoppable doing it. Look at the stats on Craig Anderson(notes): 2.09/.935. Nine thirty-five! With the Avs!
But these Coyotes, man. They're a machine gun emplacement and they're just waiting for teams to poke their heads out of a foxhole.
(Coming Up: Vintage Afinogenov; as Staal goes, so go the Hurricanes; Duchene stays; Huet apologizes; Vinny and Marty reunite; the magic of Tippett; a silly Blues/Oilers trade; Havlat INJURED?!?; and who throws hats on the ice after a shootout goal?)
So far this season, the Coyotes have played the Sharks, Bruins and Penguins, and come out with three wins because they allowed one goal total. Against literally the best two teams in the league last year and the Stanley Cup champions (for the record, they beat the Sharks 1-0 in a shootout, shut out the Penguins 3-0, and settled for a dominant 4-1 victory against the Bruins Saturday). The scariest part is that they've allowed more than two goals just once, and that was on opening night.
Of course, there's still only like 14 people who care about any of this -- all of whom, I assume, are related to players in some way -- so I still don't buy that whole "Glendale deserves this team" argument, because clearly they don't.
Meanwhile, Anaheim and Detroit are on seven points from as many games, and Vancouver, widely picked to win the Northwest, has just six. It sure is swell to look down and see those three teams in the same situation as the Wild and Predators, even if it's only for the next two weeks or something like that.
But just to show that there's some rationality left in the world, the Leafs (who, by the way, have held like six minutes' worth of lead so far this season) and Islanders have four points between them, and neither has a win yet. It's the little things like this that reassure us everything's going to work out a-OK.