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Northwest Check - "Heehaw Seesaw" Edition

Winning is kind of cool.

Sadly, due to the curse of this column (uhh..don't go look that up) and the upcoming matchup against the impossible-to-beat Minnesota Wild, I sure hope Avs fans everywhere really enjoyed these last couple of wins and look forward to our 2 minute (max) blip on 24/7 next week. I know I had plenty of (mostly drunken) fun. Moving away from the team we all know about, the division had a pretty interesting week (I honestly could say this every week).

Calgary played pretty well and ended up picking up 5 of a possible 8 points this week, ultimately gaining ground on Minnesota and surpassing struggling Edmonton. I still can't quite figure out this Flames team. They have an interesting mix of good and bleh talent but really need their stars to produce in order to stay successful (cough). Last week, they produced, results followed. Math is ez.

Edmonton is experiencing the kinds of growing pains that come with being a very young hockey team (COUGH). Stretches of hot goaltending overshadowing shaky offense and then white-hot offense making up for porous defense/goaltending and then everything falling apart together. These things happen. Still far too much talent to expect this two week trend to continue.

Minnesota is unbeatable and I refuse to accept their last two weeks as a regression to any sort of stupid mean, you hear me Jibbles? THEIR TRUE IDENTITY IS UNBEATABLE. They have the power to be the sort of heroic team the NHL needs. The other teams just need to stop getting in the way of true justice.

Vancouver...screw you. I hope Lapierre breaks both legs getting off the airplane. (They've been crazy hot for a month and are back to their division-trampling form)

Northwest Standings

Minnesota 36 20 11 5 45
Vancouver 34 21 11 2 44
Calgary 35 16 15 4 36
Colorado 35 17 17 1 35
Edmonton 34 15 16 3 33

(updated 12.22.2011 at 10:50 PM MST)

Team capsules after the jump.

All standings related info taken from

Calgary Flames (35 GP 16-15-4 36 Pts)

Last Week: 2-1-1 2-3 OTL @ FLA, 2-4 L @ CHI, 2-1 W vs. MIN, 3-2 W vs. DET

Conference Standing: 11th Place

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 2.5 (25th)
  • Goals Against: 2.7 (15th)
  • Power Play %: 16.8 (18th)
  • Penalty Kill %: 82.4 (17th)

This Week: Calgary begins a crucial 7-game road trip Friday in Vancouver before heading east for some ezpz games Tuesday in Columbus and Thursday at the Islanders. If Calgary is going to maintain pace with a suddenly competitive Northwest Division, they're going to need to take advantage of the soft underbelly of this long roadie that's only going to get harder.

News: Here's some reaction to Rene Bourque's suspension.

Jay Feaster's reaction to Rene Bourque's suspension.

Rene Bourque's reaction to Rene Bourque's suspension.

Transactions: Recalled F Paul Byron and F Greg Nemisz from Abbotsford of the AHL.


  • Anton Babchuk is on IR with a hand injury.
  • David Moss is on IR with a foot injury.
  • Mark Giordano is on IR with a hamstring injury.
  • Henrik Karlsson is on IR with an MCL injury.
  • Brett Carson is on IR with an "upper body" injury.
  • Matt Stajan is on IR with an ankle sprain.

Colorado Avalanche (35 GP 17-17-1 35 Pts)

Last Week: 3-0-0 2-1 W vs. WSH, 3-2 W vs. PHI, 3-2 W vs. STL

Conference Standings: 12th place

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 2.5 (23rd)
  • Goals Against: 3.0 (22nd)
  • Power Play %: 20.7 (3rd)
  • Penalty Kill %: 80.5 (23rd)

This Week: A busy week for the Avs as they have 4 games, 3 of which are at home. The Avs finish off a successful homestand with the visiting Tampa Bay Lightning before hitting the road for an autoloss Monday at Minnesota. The Avs return home immediately after being bored into submission for game 2 of a back-to-back Tuesday versus Winnipeg and then have to survive another snoozefest Thursday versus Phoenix. Hooray!

Edmonton Oilers (34 GP 15-16-3 33 Pts)

Last Week: 1-2-0 2-3 L @ SJS, 2-3 L vs. DET, 4-1 W vs. MIN

Conference Standings: 13th place

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 2.7 (13th)
  • Goals Against: 2.6 (13th)
  • Power Play %: 20.6 (4th)
  • Penalty Kill %: 83.5 (9th)

This Week: A light week for the Oilers as they have two home games, Monday versus Vancouver and Thursday versus Minnesota. At least their games this week give them the chance to make up ground on the two teams pulling away from the pack. Of course, if they lose both they're in even deeper a hole than they are right now, so...I kind of hope that happens.

News: Pretty big news for the Oilers this week was giving highly touted youngster Magnus Paajarvi some time in the AHL to find his game.

Shane Doan: Eric Belanger's biggest fan?

Hahaha this recap is hilarious.

More evidence people just don't care about this stuff.

....more evidence for keeping Julie Browman away from...err...everything.


  • Cam Barker is out 3 months with an ankle injury.
  • Ales Hemsky is day-to-day with the flu.

Minnesota Wild (36 GP 20-11-5 45 Pts)

Last Week: 0-3-1 1-2 OTL vs. NYI, 0-4 L @ VAN, 1-2 L @ CGY, 1-4 L @ EDM

Conference Standing: 2nd place

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 2.3 (28th)
  • Goals Against: 2.1 (4th)
  • Power Play %: 16.3 (20th)
  • Penalty Kill %: 84.6 (8th)

This Week: After two weeks of inviting the division to catch up to them, the Wild get a reprieve from good hockey teams beating them as they invite Colorado into the WILD DEN where Minnesota has proven to be ABSOLUTELY UNSTOPPABLE. After taking the lolpoints Monday night, the Wild hit the road for a back-to-back Wednesday in Nashville and then home Thursday versus Edmonton. Their lulling the division to sleep may or may not continue this week. The cobra lurks.

News: Copper N Blue asks if the Wild are improving at possession. 0_o

Apparently Wild fans have the same reaction about Kobasew as us, Dario notwithstanding.

Russo puts the Wild back to Square One thanks to this cobra-slide they're on.

Transactions: Reassigned C Chad Ratu to Houston, recalled LW Jeff Taffe from Houston.

Injuries: Lazy copy/paste mode ENGAGE.

  • Devin Setoguchi suffered a lower body injury last Tuesday. He has been placed on the IR on December 18.
  • Casey Wellman suffered a wrist injury and was placed on the IR December 18.
  • Mikko Koivu suffered a lower body injury on December 14 and was placed retroactive on the IR December 22.

Vancouver Canucks (34 GP 21-11-2 44 Pts)

Last Week: 3-0-0 5-3 W @ TOR, 4-0 W vs. MIN, 4-2 W vs. DET

Conference Standing: 4th place

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 3.3 (3rd)
  • Goals Against: 2.4 (6th)
  • Power Play %: 26.1 (1st)
  • Penalty Kill %: 86.3 (7th)

This Week: Like the Avs, Vancouver is busybusy this week with two home games against divisional opponents, Friday versus Calgary and Monday versus Edmonton, before diving into the California Crusher Wednesday at San Jose and Thursday at Anaheim. Have fun >_>

News: lol Michael Buble got to be Canuck for a Day.

I don't care what this is about, it has Twin Peaks in the title. Nice.


Transactions: Mark Mancari re-assigned to Chicago of the AHL.