- The Columbus Blue Jackets are in last place in the Central, but can you blame them? This division is unreal. Chicago just recently lost for the first time, Detroit is a perennial pain in the skate blade, and Nashville and St. Louis feature two of the stingiest defenses since Buddy Ryan’s 46. The Winged Insects recently turned it on though, winning 5 in a row. Former Flyer Sergei Bobrovsky has a 2.20 GAA.
- Calgary is in last place, and guess who leads the Flames in points? Jerome Igilna of course, and that means the usual trade rumors. He’s an unquestioned leader , so the rumors are warranted, as anyone would have to love to have him for a playoff run. His cap hit is high at $7 million, but I would think teams will offer up some savory morsels of future stars for the Flames to build upon.
- The Los Angeles Kings are streaking and guess who has helped them win 8 out of their last 10? Former Flyer Jeff Carter has 17 goals, placing him second only to Steven Stamkos. Personally I would still rather have Jakub Voracek, but Carter has been great for the reigning Cup champs. He gets goals in a way that must frustrate teams the most; a seemingly harmless rush turns into a lit-up scoreboard with a quick flick of the wrist.
- The Phoenix Coyotes need to step up and play better or their dwindling crowds (averaging around 13,000 people a night, 29th in the NHL) will shrink to Antarctica-outpost levels. Oliver Ekman-Larsson might be the only reason why I’d watch this yawn-inducing squad.
- In Vancouver, the Sedin twins have a combined 47 points which got me thinking about who the best brother tandem in the league is currently. Right now, I have to go with the Staal brothers in Carolina in a slight edge over Henrik and Daniel because they can play both ends of the ice, and both have won Cups (albeit on different teams). As far as physical specimens go, Philadelphia’s Schenn brothers stand alone. The medical bills those two alone have inflicted upon the players of this league are staggering.
- Pittsburgh is second in the conference, and Sidney Crosby leads the league in scoring with 45 points. As much as it pains me to say it, Crosby has to be the best player in the league by a long shot. He’s a good team leader (as the Flyers learned when they were up 3 goals on Thursday) and can do whatever he wants with the puck. You have to respect the great players, and Crosby’s skills are deeply disturbing. Seriously, why does Chris Kunitz tickle that much twine?
- Can someone help John Tavares on the Island? The NYI center has 16 goals and the team isn’t too far back, but they’ve given up the second to most goals in the conference with 88. Tavares is a beast. Give that team some players that can play both ends of the ice and they will make a quick surge. Sounds easy, I know.
- Florida is last in the Conference and has won only two of their last 10. I mostly blame their record on injuries, as it seems almost everyone on their team has missed extended time. One bright spot is Jonathon Huberdeau, who has 12 goals. He’s 19 years of age.
- I do believe Steven Stamkos is partially to blame for the surging electricity costs on this continent, leading the league in goals on a consistent basis the way he does. The Tampa Bay Lightning, however, are a disappointment.
- The Winnipeg Jets are my favorite non-Flyers team to watch. Dustin Byfuglien is the size of an NFL linebacker on skates and exhibits the grace of a swan with optimal plumage. They missed the playoffs in their first season back in Winnipeg last season after moving from hockey hell that is Atlanta, but with a somewhat more consistent offense they'll make it this season.