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Northwest Check - "Still Flying Blind" Edition

Isn't it awesome how I somehow manage to make this about ME instead of the Avalanche? Don't you scoff at me,  Dan Winkler. So as some of you know, I've been on a little vacation and really my only access to the internets was for last week's NW Check and apparently hockey in East Tennessee is...unheard of. As such, I honestly can't comment on any Avalanche games with any kind of analytical thought because I simply haven't seen them. I've not even really had a chance to catch any of the highlights between all the insane Starcraft news/showmatches in the last week and the whole traveling across the country and back stuff. I can't believe I missed Gaunce's debut/first goal and both Forsberg games. See if I ever leave my apartment again.

This week I've decided to stop asserting hockey superstitions are just stupid crap and have been changing everything I associated with the Avs losing streak in order to see one more win in my lifetime. Seriously, if we go o-for-February, I'm going to go all Latrell Sprewell on the bum down the street I used to give cookies to. No, that does not mean to imply I'm going to hoist up 16 contested shots a game and complain I can't feed my family on $8 million per year or whatever. That bum only wishes.

Fun facts have been eliminated this week for everyone except Colorado only because I'm a jerk and want to drive the stake in as deeply as I can. It's a troll's life, y'all.

Oh, and I've added the Transactions report for the Avs this week for obvious reasons. Erik Johnson, you better be worth it. Thanks in advance for forcing me to buy your jersey for being so awesome. /altitudejinx'd

Northwest Standings

Vancouver 60 38 13 9 85
Calgary 61 31 22 8 70
Minnesota 59 31 22 6 68
Colorado 59 25 27 7 57
Edmonton 59 19 32 8 46

(updated 2.21.2011 at 8:15 PM MST)

Team capsules after the jump...

All standings related info taken from

Calgary Flames (61 GP 31-22-8 70 Pts)

Last Week: 2-0-0 4-2 W vs. DAL, 4-0 W vs. MTL (Heritage Classic)

Conference Standing: 6th Place, 2 points ahead of 9th place Los Angeles and 15 behind 1st place Vancouver.

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 2.9 (7th)
  • Goals Against: 2.8 (16th)
  • Power Play %: 17.4 (17th)
  • Penalty Kill %: 81.5 (17th)

Fun Facts:

This Week: The Flames continue their 5-game homestand Tuesday night vs. BOS before returning to continue the bloody battle for Western Conference playoff positioning as they have huge games Friday vs. SJ and Monday vs. STL.

News: As expected, much of the news about the Flames revolves around their participation in the recently completed Heritage Classic vs. Montreal.

And even more Heritage Classic stuff!

...and even more

Matchsticks and Gasoline takes a look at the recent waiving of Niklas Hagman and the potential of Vincent Lecavalier landing in a Flames uniform.

Transactions: Feb 17 - Niklas Hagman placed on waivers.

Injuries:  C Daymond Langkow is still out indefinitely with a "head" injury, F Raitis Ivanans is day to day with a head injury (no shock there, really), F Adam Pardy (when did he become a forward???) is listed as out indefinitely with an "upper body" injury.


Colorado Avalanche (59 GP 25-27-7 57 Pts)

Last Week: 0-1-1(YES!)  2-3 OTL vs. PIT, 0-4 L @ SJ

Conference Standings: 14th place, 11 points behind 8th place Dallas and 28 points behind first place Vancouver.

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 2.9 (9th)
  • Goals Against: 3.4 (30th)
  • Power Play %: 18.7 (12th)
  • Penalty Kill %:  77.4 (28th)

This Week: We are winning this week. Do you hear me? We are winning. I don't care against who. But we are winning. Someone will suffer the shame of being the team to finally lose to us. The contenders are: Tuesday @ STL, Wednesday vs. EDM, Saturday @ LA, and Sunday @ ANA. ONE OF YOU WILL LOSE TO US. My sanity demands it!

Fun Fact: The Avalanche are now just as close to last place Edmonton points-wise as we are to 3rd place in the division. Happy Tuesday!

Transactions: February 14 - Peter Forsberg announces retirement. February 18 - Colorado trades G Craig Anderson to Ottawa in exchange for G Brian Elliot. February 19 - Colorado trades F Chris Stewart, D Kevin Shatternkirk and a second round pick to St. Louis in exchange for D Erik Johnson, C Jay McClement, and a first round pick. Both picks are conditional and will be exercised by the conclusion of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft.

Edmonton Oilers (59 GP 19-32-8 46 Pts)

Last Week: 3-0-0  4-1 W vs. DAL, 4-1 W vs. MTL, 5-3 W vs. ATL

Conference Standings: 15th place, 22 points behind 8th place Dallas and 39 (!) points behind first place Vancouver.

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 2.5 (27th)
  • Goals Against: 3.2 (28th)
  • Power Play %: 12.8 (30th)
  • Penalty Kill %: 76.0 (29th)

Fun Facts:

This Week: Last weeks most undefeated team in the NHL gears up for a return performance with road games Tuesday @ MIN and Wednesday @ COL before returning to the friendly confines Friday vs. STL and Sunday vs. BOS. Go Avs imo.

News: Ales Hemsky was named the NHL's Third Star of the Week.

Gene Principe takes an extremely convenient look back at the Hall or Seguin argument from last year's NHL Entry Draft.

Derek Zona over at Copper n Blue begs for sanity at this year's trading deadline. Included in there is someone's extremely slick prediction of Stewart, Shattenkirk and a 1st for him. Considering how the deal really went down...well damn.

Transactions: None.


  • Ryan Whitney is on IR and is out indefinitely with an ankle injury.
  • Jim Vandermeer is no longer on IR and is day to day with an ankle injury but should be returning to action this week.
  • Gilbert Brule is not on IR (?!?!) and is out indefinitely with an ankle injury\

Minnesota Wild (59 GP 31-22-6 68 Pts)

Last Week: 1-2-1 1-4 L vs. VAN, 1-3 L @ CHI, 5-1 W vs. ANA, 1-2 OTL vs. DET

Conference Standing: 7th place, tied with 8th place Dallas, 17 points behind 1st place Vancouver.

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 2.6 (24th)
  • Goals Against: 2.5 (11th)
  • Power Play %: 20.5 (6th)
  • Penalty Kill %: 83.1 (11th)

Fun Facts:

This Week: Last week's busiest NW team continues to play a ton of hockey in a nice rhythm as Tuesday night they play host vs. EDM before doing the back-to-back thing like everyone else beginning Thursday @ LA and Friday @ ANA before returning home Monday vs. CHI

News: Holy busy Saturday, Minnesota.

Hockey Wilderness throws some jello at the wall and hopes it sticks with their look at a Trading Deadline response to the Mikko Koivu injury.

Hockey Wilderness also continues one of my favorite SBN series with their most recent NHL's Worst Rule Contest. This week was Loser Point vs. Touch Icing. I wish we had thought of this.

Russo's Rants gets into the nuts and bolts of how the Wild are looking to move on with their season.

Transactions: Feb 19 - Recalled C Cody Almond from Houston. Feb 20 - Reassigned D Marco Scandella to Houston


  • James Sheppard is still out with a knee injury with his return unknown.
  • Josh Harding remains out with a knee injury of his own but has begun skating lightly.
  • Guillaume Latendresse is out indefinitely with what is listed as a hip/hernia injury.
  • Mikko Koivu suffered a broken index finger and is out...for a while.

 Vancouver Canucks (60 GP 38-13-9 85 Pts)

Last Week: 2-1-0   4-1 W @ MIN, 1-3 L @ NSH, 5-2 W vs. DAL

Conference Standing: 1st Place, 5 points ahead of 2nd place Detroit.

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 3.3 (1st)
  • Goals Against: 2.3 (1st)
  • Power Play %: 25.1 (1st)
  • Penalty Kill %: 85.5 (4th)

Fun Facts:

This Week:  Vancouver continues a 7-game homestand with games 2-4 this week as Tuesday night vs. MTL they look at beatdown some fellow Canadians and Thursday vs. STL they continue to shred the Western Conference before their week finale Saturday vs. BOS

News: Tons of easy to find links this week, starting with a story of how Chris Tanev continues to be solid despite his rookie status.

The Canucks "Where Are They Now?" feature takes a look at the plight of Paul Reinhart. I'd love an Avalanche version of this feature.

Vancouver REALLY likes beating Montreal.

The "North-West Effect". Read it. It's cool.

Transactions: D Yann Sauve recalled from Manitoba. C Cody Hodgon recalled from Manitoba. D Evan Oberg was recalled and then reassigned to Manitoba. Oh the life of a minor leaguer...


  • Dan Hamhuis is day-to-day with a concussion.
  • Keith Ballard will miss another 2-3 weeks with a knee injury.
  • Alex Edler is out indefinitely after having back surgery.
  • Lee Sweatt is week-to-week with a foot injury
  • Andrew Alberts just had successful wrist surgery and is out for a long time because that really hurts.
  • Kevin Bieksa is out for an undetermined amount of time thanks to a pesky foot injury.