We're all haunted by them in some form and we either rise to the occasion or succumb to the depths the demons so desperately seek to drag us into. This truth extends to the hockey rink and reaches into players and teams alike. Every year there are multiple story lines that revolve around a player or team either exorcising their past demons or falling victim to them yet again. For example, Scott Gomez scoring last night means one less demon floating around the ice in a haunted Montreal season.
Closer to home in the Northwest Division, each team faces their own demons as they head into the stretch run of the season and the questions of whether or not they will exorcise them ring louder and louder with each passing game.
Calgary has finished each of the last two season in 10th place, missing the playoffs by 5 points two years ago and 3 points last year and with them currently in 11th place it's become obvious the team in Calgary may not be built to achieve much more than they already have in the past two seasons. Will the Flames figure it out and find the consistency that's going to be needed to leapfrog the 3 teams in front of them and hold off Colorado and suddenly hard-charging Anaheim?
Colorado's struggles after the All-Star break were recently broken down by overlord DDC so I won't rehash work already done.
Edmonton's primary demon seems to be GM Steve Tambellini, who refuses to upgrade the hilariously AHL-quality talent on the roster and for the second straight year is likely to trade away an established NHL player or two for more prospects/picks. This is still a much-improved roster from recent years but injuries and the looming trading deadline threaten to further sink the once-promising Oilers season.
Minnesota's tendency to get outplayed nearly every night but still come out ahead in games would seem unsustainable but we're nearing 60 games played and the Wild continue to defy every piece of hockey logic in the history of forever by picking up 2 points more often than not. Just kidding. They really need to send the NHL a fruit basket because the 8 loser points they've obtained is keeping them afloat. Still, if they can overcome their injury issues and offensive struggles, the Wild are unfortunately likely to be in it at the end.
Vancouver doesn't really have any regular season demons to worry about. Their overall talent combined with a weak division means they're an easy shoe-in for postseason play. Once there, however....hahahaha.
Team capsules after the jump.
All standings related info taken from NHL.com...
Calgary Flames ( GP 55 25-22-8 58 Pts)
- David Moss is on IR with a foot injury.
- Derek Smith has a high ankle sprain.
- Curtis Glencross is currently sidelined with a "lower body" injury.
- Lee Stempniak is out with a high ankle sprain.
Colorado Avalanche (55 GP 27-25-3 57 Pts)
Edmonton Oilers (54 GP 21-28-5 47 Pts)
Last Week: 1-2-0
- Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is out 7-10 days with a shoulder injury.
- Theo Peckham is day-to-day with a face injury.
Minnesota Wild (54 GP 25-21-8 58 Pts)
- Guillaume Latendresse after skating last week and suffering a setback, he has not practiced with the team since.
- Jarod Palmer 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 last week and was placed on injured reserve on February 9.
Vancouver Canucks (54 GP 34-15-5 73 Pts)