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Northwest Check - "Chaos Begins" Edition

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A new season means a whole new slew of weekly looks at our division rivals and what they're up to.

Doug Pensinger

Awww yeah.

With the majority of the teams in the division already 21% of the way through their schedule, I suppose we have a lot to talk about, what with this being the first legitimate Northwest Check since the second-to-last week of last season. Since them, an awful lot has happened just with our own team, let alone the drama queens we inhabit standings space with.

Calgary did like Colorado and set fire to $16 million only Euro'd the crap out of the name and went with "Jiri Hudler" because it was more exotic sounding than David Jones. Unlike Colorado, they didn't stop the money fire pit there and went cash crazy with the acquisition of Dennis Wideman (7p in 8gp, aka more points than our entire defense combined) and held onto Jay Bouwmeester. Must be nice to be owned by rich people, eh? I digress. Calgary, despite their shiny toy distraction additions, still isn't very good and entirely reliant upon Miikka Kiprusoff to bail them out most night. Seeing as how Kipper is 36 and already hurt, I'd say the outlook in Calgary is excellent. At least from an Avs fan perspective :D Their big off-season moves consisted of signing ultra mega hyped defenseman Justin Schultz and drafting first overall...again selecting a high-scoring forward with little defensive acumen and hoping Devan Dubnyk can live up to his billing as goaltender of the future in the present. As you'll read below, 10 games have come and gone and the Edmonton media is up in airs and cannibalizing itself in search of pointing the finger at the right guy. Justin Schultz is the prized free agent pickup of the season and despite lighting up the AHL has struggled to find his defensive legs in the NHL quite yet. It's only 10 games, though, so don't go getting crazy and making any drastic movies, Tambo. Also please keep playing Ryan Whitney. The rest of us are enjoying it immensely.

Minnesota found themselves stealing the July Darlings title of the phantom but totally real Silly Season Summer Championship titlebelt from The Genius George McPhee and the Washington Capitals because of their hypocritical $198 million commitment to two whole players. Sadly for the Wild, they're still waiting on vaunted defensive star Ryan Suter to show up to camp. If any of you see him, btw, don't bother telling him the Wild are looking for him. Life is more fun this way. Unfortunately for the Wild, things like growing pains exist for younger players so Baby Granlund hasn't evolved into Superstar Granlund...yet.

I hate talking about Vancouver. That Kassian kid looks legit and the Sedins are still co-captains of the Flop All-Stars. I can barely watch their games without having horrible nightmares of Manu Ginobili tumbling over with every breeze (and let's be real, the way that guy plays defense means there are a lot of breezes). Hopefully the monster Gillis has created by refusing to part ways with Roberto Luongo ultimately backfires and swallows the team whole in their next inevitable playoff letdown. At least I have that to look forward to :D

See you all on the flip <3

Northwest Standings

Vancouver 10 6 2 2 14
Edmonton 10 4 3 3 11
Minnesota 10 4 5 1 9
Calgary 8 3 3 2 8
Colorado 10 4 6 0 8

(updated 1.20.2013 at 1:12 AM MST) <---lol

All standings related info taken from

Calgary Flames

Last Week: 2-0-1 2-3 OTL vs. CHI, 4-1 W @ DET, 4-3 W @ CBJ

Conference Standing: T-12th

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 3.00 (9th)
  • Goals Against: (25th)
  • Power Play %: (6th)
  • Penalty Kill %: (28th)

This Week: The Flames actually play some games (finally) this week as they finish off a 3-game roadie in Vancouver Saturday night before heading home for a Monday night tilt versus Minnesota. Assuming they can manage to get off the mat after a hard fought contest with last summer's July Darlings, the Flames welcome to town a mediocre at best Dallas team Wednesday night. I can't wait for that game to go into overtime!

News: Danny Taylor's journey back to the NHL appears delayed as he has spent his time in the AHL this season playing on skates that are deemed illegal in the NHL. This is such a Flames story.

The recent injury to G Miikka Kiprusoff has sparked talks of the team looking to trade for a new backup to help keep the team afloat while their long-time netminder is on the mend. Ben Bishop is specifically named as a potential target, but only because he's so big it couldn't be avoided.

Here we have a call to arms of sorts for former Av Alex Tanguay to step his game up in the absence of Kipper. Personally, I was moved.

Leland Irving's body is ready.

Colorado Avalanche

Last Week: 0-2-1 3-1 W vs. EDM, 2-3 L vs. DAL, 0-3 L vs. ANA

Conference Standings: 14th

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 2.10 (27th)
  • Goals Against: 2.60 (13th)
  • Power Play %: 9.1 (29th)
  • Penalty Kill %: 78 (18th)

This Week: Just two games for the Avs this week (hooray) as they finish up their homestand when the visiting Phoenix Coyotes come to town Monday night before heading back up to Minnesota where this chaotic train wreck started for a Thursday night contest that guarantees to bore most of us.

Shameless Self Plug: Yesterday I did a podcast with the Burgundy Brigade. It's lengthy, totaling about an hour and 40 minutes but it includes me melting down about Ryan O'Reilly. So that's fun.

Edmonton Oilers

Last Week: 0-1-2 1-3 L @ COL, 2-3 OTL vs. VAN, 2-3 OTL vs. DAL

Conference Standing: 8th

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 2.30 (22nd)
  • Goals Against: 2.60 (12th)
  • Power Play %: 28.3 (4th)
  • Penalty Kill %: 87.2 (7th)

This Week: Edmonton continues their best season in years by going wheels up for a back-to-back Saturday in Detroit and Sunday in Columbus. I'm looking forward to them returning home Tuesday against Dallas because both of those bad defenses should test the might of their goaltenders, making for great viewing for me. Hooray!

News: I'm not sure what I found more surprising: that the Oilers might finally be healthy or that someone was paid to write this article.

Then there's this article, which seems to totally contradict the first one I linked. Edmonton press, go home. You're drunk. Also the Oilers are bad at faceoffs.


There's a decent chance the Oilers current roster sends as many players to the most recent WJCs as to next year's Olympics. That's fantastic.

Minnesota Wild

Last Week: 0-3-0: 1-3 L @ ANA, 1-2 L @ PHX, 1-4 L vs. VAN

Conference Standing: 11th ($200 million goes a long way, people)

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 2.10 (28th)
  • Goals Against:2.80 (17th)
  • Power Play %:16.2 (21st)
  • Penalty Kill %:82.9 (11th)

This Week: The July Darlings continue their march towards mediocrity with a busy slate of games, starting Saturday versus Nashville and continuing Monday and Tuesday with a delightful back-to-back at Calgary and Vancouver, respectively. The Wild finish their week with a home tilt against the vastly superior in every way including and especially in pretty people Colorado Avalanche. Bring it, uglies.

News: 10 games into the season, the Wild are already asking: "What else can we do?"

The quotes in this article almost sound surprised about what they got in Mike Rupp. You'd think they would scout these guys, amirite?

The fourth line is the new cool place to be in Minnesota. It could be worse, Avs fans. We could be fans of these guys.

Our Rangers SBN brothers break down the Mike Rupp trade. Sort of.

Vancouver Canucks

Last Week: 3-0-0 2-1 W vs. CHI, 3-2 W @ EDM, 4-1 W @ MIN

Conference Standing: 3rd

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 2.60 (18th)
  • Goals Against: 2.10 (6th)
  • Power Play %: 15.7 (22nd)
  • Penalty Kill %:76.7 (20th)

This Week: The Canucks continue their drive for another Northwest Division title with a relatively light schedule of games, beginning Saturday vs Calgary and ending Tuesday vs Minnesota. Pretty boring week for the division's marquee team, eh?

News: This Keith Ballard puff piece includes Ballard admitting he didn't know what he was supposed to be doing last year. I guess "play defense" was a concept too complicated for him to grasp.

I think there's a higher chance Mike Chambers writes about Kyle Quincey's lack of roommate woes before he gets around to writing something silly like this about the Avalanche. Still, this is an amusing read about how the Canucks players are adjusting to life on the road alone.

Henrik Sedin quietly nears the franchise record point mark of Markus Naslund.