Northwest Check - "Swift As A Coursing River" Edition

"NOU" (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

I'm really starting to respect Calgary for their consistency. As a fan of a team whose season has been a roller coaster from the very beginning, the Flames must be really easy to root for. They've gone 1-1-1 each of their past three weeks and while they haven't made any significant moves up the standings, they've barely given up any ground as each of the teams around them continue to be very inconsistent. As much as I make fun of Calgary for insisting on collecting as many mediocre hockey players as possible and then re-signing them for too long and too much money (lol Anton Babchuk), at least they've figured out how to really compete for 12th place in their conference. They'll always have that!

Colorado continues to be a maddening team to write about. One week it's totally fun and we're winning games and rolling in the points and the next we're getting blown out by Pittsburgh and then scoring 7 goals just days later before losing on the road in a game we were sosososo close to stealing a point in. They're driving me insane. I'm sad there are only 13 games left because this team is a clear improvement over the one we watched fall apart last year but I'll be glad when the ride finally stops. These guys are exhausting.

Edmonton was a team I seriously was afraid of once they started getting healthy. Their potential to play major spoiler was pretty high because that offense can smoke any team on any given night. Unfortunately, I was blinded by the beacon of optimism given off by the Edmonton media and forgot they have a shitty defense and comically inept goaltenders. Not quite like Toronto but they give them a decent run for their money. Needless to say, my comfort with seeing them on the schedule this weekend is probably a really bad sign.

Speaking of comically inept, you have the entire Minnesota franchise. Beset by terrible injury problems, the remaining terrible hockey players just couldn't continue to play as far over their heads as they did at the beginning of the year. As much as I love the Houston Aeros, at least now I know just how bad it would be if they were competing in the NHL instead of the AHL. Maybe they'll get a Top 5 pick and and their scouting staff will finally manage to not screw up a first round pick. Maybe.

Vancouver, as you will read below if you click dem links, is struggling mightily on offense with the Sedins suddenly finding themselves unable to carry the rest of that team. I imagine the regular season is just boring that entire franchise at this point because even their media is openly rooting for the playoffs to start so the team can begin it's real season. Unfortunately for them, their obscenely comfortable lead in the division (as in, you know, they'll be clinching it here in the next 2 weeks) isn't indicative of their standing in the Western Conference as they've been overtaken by St. Louis for the time being. If the Canucks can't refocus, they could be in for a much tougher first round playoff series than they were expecting. Excellent....


Northwest Standings

GP W L OTL PT
Vancouver 68 42 18 8 92
Colorado 69 35 30 4 74
Calgary 67 30 25 12 72
Minnesota 68 29 29 10 68
Edmonton 67 26 35 6 58

(updated 3.8.2012 at 10:37 PM MST)

All standings related info taken from NHL.com...

Calgary Flames

Last Week: 1-1-1 (for the third straight week) 2-3 L @ ANA, 2-3 OTL vs. DAL, 5-4 W vs. MTL

Conference Standing: 11th Place

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 2.38 (25th)
  • Goals Against: 2.64 (12th)
  • Power Play %: 17.5 (15th)
  • Penalty Kill %: 82.9 (11th)

This Week: Calgary is guaranteed not to have another week of 1-1-1 as they play a whopping four games this week, beginning Friday at home versus Winnipeg. The Flames then will enjoy taking the easiest 2 points in all of hockey when they beat Minnesota on the road Sunday afternoon (bold prediction GET) and head back home for two monumental enormous huge whoamg clashes Tuesday versus San Jose and Thursday versus Phoenix on the front end of a challenging back-to-back.

News: Seems the rest of the NW is picking up Colorado's slack on the injury front this year. Good for them.

Top prospect and 2011 draftee Sven Baertschi was called up from the WHL and will make his NHL debut Friday.

This article laments Calgary's inability to pick up extra points in games that extend past regulation. Oddly, no mention of the loser point keeping them in the race. They did manage to take a shot at the Avs ability to win games in OT/SOs, though. Always with the luck.

Winning isn't always pretty but the Flames will take it any way they can get it.

Transactions: Assigned G Leland Irving to Abbotsford, recalled F Guillaume Desbiens, F Krys Kolanos, F Greg Nemisz from Abbotsford.

Injuries:

  • Lee Stempniak is out with a high ankle sprain.
  • Blair Jones is on IR with a fractured ankle.
  • Mikael Backlund is on IR with an upper body injury.
  • Chris Butler is on IR with a leg injury.

Colorado Avalanche

Last Week: 2-2-0 1-5 L vs. PIT, 2-0 W @ MIN, 7-1 W vs. MIN, 2-4 L @ NSH

Conference Standings: 10th place

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 2.48 (22nd)
  • Goals Against: 2.68 (15th)
  • Power Play %: 18.5 (12th)
  • Penalty Kill %: 81.6 (19th)

This Week: The Avs continue to put a stranglehold on 10th place in the West with home contests against inferior beings Edmonton on Saturday and Anaheim on Monday before heading out East for a challenging back-to-back Wednesday at Buffalo (Vanek at the Disco, amirite UZ?) and a Calder Trophy Showdown Throwdown Thursday at New Jersey.

Edmonton Oilers

Last Week: 1-3-0 1-3 L vs. DAL, 2-4 L @ ANA, 3-2 W @ SJ, 3-5 L vs. MTL

Conference Standings: 14th place

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 2.64 (14th)
  • Goals Against: 2.94 (25th)
  • Power Play %: 21.7 (1st)
  • Penalty Kill %: 82.2 (14th)

This Week: Edmonton continues to be bad at their spoiler role but will surely find a way to dick over Colorado in Denver on Saturday before heading to San Jose on Monday night. The Oilers then take a trip to Columbus where the hard-charging Blue Jackets no longer appear interested in the first overall pick. Classic Battle of the Bads.

News: Sam Gagner is dying to get a taste of the playoffs. Also included is a confusing insistence on bringing up his 8-point night. Just for funsies, I guess.

The Oilers are bad.

Inevitable comparisons between Peyton Manning's recent departure from the only NFL home he has known and Wayne Gretzky's abrupt disappearance from Edmonton started almost immediately.

Since having an AHL roster has been Edmonton's go-to the last few years, apparently bringing in an AHL coach would also be wise ;)

Transactions: Recalled F Linus Omark.

Injuries: None again. Yikes.

Minnesota Wild

Last Week: 1-3-0: 0-6 L @ DET, 0-2 L vs. COL, 1-7 L @ COL (hahahahahaha), 3-2 W @ PHX

Conference Standing: 13th place

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 2.14 (29th)
  • Goals Against: 2.56 (10th)
  • Power Play %: 15.4 (25th)
  • Penalty Kill %: 82.3 (12th)

This Week: Slowin their roll a bit, the Wild have just two games this week. Of course, they're ultra important for the playoff race they're no longer realistically a part of when they host the Calgary Flames on Sunday and Dallas Stars on Tuesday before getting a delicious 3 day break from losing. lolbad

News: Gettin blowed up is fun as hell. The Wild love to do it. It's so fun and awesome, right guys?

I wonder if this article is still true several days later....

Since their playoff hopes are essentially done for, the Wild players might as well take time to reflect back on their glory years.

My favorite part of this was that Matt Kassian was a second round pick. Nice.

Transactions: Reassigned F Chad Rau to Houston, recalled G Matt Hackett and D Steve Kampfer from Houston. Both recalls played vital roles in getting blowed up by Colorado. Thanks, guys!

Injuries: Lazy copy/paste mode ENGAGE.

  • Guillaume Latendresse has been diagnosed with concussion symptoms and is on Injured Reserve.
  • Pierre-Marc Bouchard has concussion symptoms and is on Injured Reserve.
  • Clayton Stoner suffered a lower body injury on February 4 and was placed on injured reserve on February 9. He could return on Thursday if Tyler Cuma does not arrive in Phoenix on time.
  • Mikko Koivu is currently out with an upper body injury. He has been shut down until March 13, when he will be reevalutated.
  • Mike Lundin suffered a lower body injury and was placed on injured reserve on February 19.
  • Niklas Backstrom suffered a lower body against Montreal on March 1 and did not travel with the team on its current road trip.

Vancouver Canucks

Last Week: 1-2-0 3-5 L vs. BUF, 2-5 L vs. DAL, 3-2 W vs. WPG

Conference Standing: 2nd place

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 3.06 (4th)
  • Goals Against: 2.29 (5th)
  • Power Play %: 21.4 (3rd)
  • Penalty Kill %: 86.7 (5th)

This Week: I am so tired of this team. Chances are they'll beat the teams we don't care about, like at home versus Montreal on Saturday, but lose the games we need them to win in regulation, like at Phoenix on Wednesday.

News: Kind of cool that reporters in Vancouver can openly root for the Canucks.

Overreacting when elite teams struggle late in the season is silly. Seriously just stop it.

Chris Higgins, a fourth line role filling addition last year, has apparently earned time on the second line. Tony Gallagher might be his biggest fan.

Waaaahhhh the world is ending.

Transactions: None, I guess?

Injuries:

  • Steve Pinizzotto is out indefinitely with a shoulder injury
  • Aaron Volpatti is out 4-6 months with a shoulder injury.
  • Andrew Ebbett is out 4-6 weeks with a collar bone injury.
  • Keith Ballard is out indefinitely with an upper body injury.
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