I have to admit I have been really guilty of walking around today and asking everyone if the saw the Flames/ Sharks game last night. So now that Flamestr and Vetter have both written on the subject I'll leave it alone and take a closer look at the North West. This is where I ask you to go read my previous blogs and I get to say I told you so...I love doing that.
I wrote That eventually the Wild would realize they were the Wild and die off quickly and I also pointed out that when they started playing more divisional games they would realize how tough it is. At the time I wrote that blog they were First in the division, they are now third and it doesn't look good.
When the Canucks signed Mats they were challenging the Flames for first overall in the N.W. and I was confused why a winning team would upset the apple cart, winning even without Luongo! I wrote that signing a very old center to a very big contract might upset other star players who make less. That team chemistry might go up in flames... Maybe it did, maybe it didn't but when you look up the one stat that counts since they allowed Sundin in the line up, the win column, it doesn't look rosy for the Vancouver fans.
The Oilers have shown a heart beat lately, Cole has managed to squeeze out some points and it is being done with out Hemsky, last night beat down by the Wild aside this team is two points out of the playoffs. That loss last night was huge as they would be in the 8th spot and the wild would be outside looking in. The good news for Oiler fans is that there is a very realistic chance, given their tendency to have great second halves to make the playoffs this year...and get Detroit or San Jose.
The Avs... always next year guys. Sakic AND Stastny? you never had a chance without a legit number 1 goalie. Too bad and a huge let down for some of the best fans in the game.
The Flames are overcoming the tag that they can't beat the big teams and also the tag they play down to the level of the softer opponents. They play for each other very strongly right now and there is huge optimism here right now.
The interesting aspect is the points and games played, 4 teams in this division are within 4 points of each other and with the games in hand that all teams have on Vancouver it is possible for the Canucks to be tied for the basement of the division by weeks end. It is extremely difficult for a team to play playoff hockey from January and still have gas in the playoffs. On the flip side if Calgary lost it's three games in hand Vancouver still could not catch them on those numbers alone. For Calgary to be up 9 points at this point with THREE games in hand and a soft schedule coming up is the perfect storm. There is a very good chance that if Calgary can put together three or four more straight wins that something would have to be catastrophic for them to lose the division and it's just January. Injuries have been kind to the Flames as well while the other Divisional opponents have lost players like: Gaborik, Luongo, Sakic, Stastny, Hemsky...game breaker type players. the list is longer that that of course but my point is clear, however at the end of the year clubs are rated based on wins and typically the deepest team wins.
With the signing of Sundin and the very tight race in this Division the pressure to make moves will be huge, this will be a CRAZY trade deadline!!