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Conference (III) Call: Season Opens With Bangs, Booms, and Blahs

The weekly look at the Central Division looks at how each team has fared in the early going of the season. Feel free to skip over the Avs cause it's uuuuugly.

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Hot start, Pete.
Hot start, Pete.
Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports


So it's been a while since I've written this column. In fact, the last time I did, it was still called 'Northwest Check'. For the next few weeks, I'll probably be test driving a couple of different names and ultimately deciding on the one I hate the least. Until then, bear with me. Onto the division!

Minnesota dominated us. I'm pretty over talking about the Wild. See you in February, fuckers.

While the overreaction in Avs land has been swift and loud, I'm not sure there's been a place as excited about two whole games quite like the Predators and their fans are. After an abysmal season that saw them slip out of the playoffs, one can understand why people would be excited with a 2-0-0 start. Disregard that they beat a bad Ottawa team and the sure-to-be-overrated Dallas squad coming off a tough home opener and you get what's taking place in Nashville right now. I could probably copy and past this paragraph the next couple of weeks because their schedule doesn't get overly difficult anytime soon. This is my early pick for the annual 'team that wastes a good October because it turns out they're not very good'. Sorry, Nashville. I'm still underwhelmed.

Chicago is pretty business as usual. If you recall the days of the Northwest Check, you might remember I ran out of clever ways to say Vancouver was really good and dominated the division. I foresee Chicago presenting me with a similar difficulty, although their annual swoon when their stars get bored with the regular season always provides a fun January story for writers looking for an easy story. For now, Chicago went all ezpz mode and beat the Stars in one of the more entertaining hockey games of the year so far and then slapped around Buffalo because that's why Buffalo exists right now.

St. Louis certainly remains one of the teams I'm most interested in watching this season because while they're defensively excellent, their goaltending will pretty much always be a question mark while Brian Elliott waits to sink the this team and the absurd shooting percentages of last season look to regress. But let's be real here, Colorado is the only place actual regression will take place. Because narrative, right Mirtle? Anyway, the Blues kicked off their season in fine fashion and while they lost to the Rangers, their Olympic hero TJ Oshie beat up one of the smallest guy in the league because he's a typical faux-tough St. Louis player and then the Blues actually won where it mattered against Calgary behind a whole bunch of former Avs players. The nightmare lives!

Winnipeg put up a wtf-inducing scoreline in Arizona for their opening game and then returned to Earth, getting smoked by a couple of California teams because that's what happens when you play the Sharks and Kings on the road. Especially if you're bad like Winnipeg.

Forgive me if I pass up on recapping the Avs previous week for I've not much to add to the bloodbath.

See you on the flip <3

Central Division Standings

Minnesota 2 2 0 0 4
Nashville 2 2 0 0 4
Chicago 2 2 0 0 4
St. Louis 2 1 1 0 2
Winnipeg 3 1 2 0 2
Dallas 2 0 1 1 1


2 0 2 0 0

All standings related info taken from

Chicago Blackhawks

Last Week: 2-0-0 3-2 W @ DAL, 6-2 W vs. BUF

Division Standing: T-1

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 4.0 (4th)
  • Goals Against: 2.0 (6th)
  • Power Play %: 22.2 (12th)
  • Penalty Kill %: 90.0 (10th)

This Week: The Blackhawks have an easier slate this week as the Flames come to the Windy City on Wednesday and then they await the arrival of Nashville on Saturday night. Cushy schedule, NHL.

News: Have you heard that Kane and Toews are building a legacy in Chicago?

Corey Crawford recently sat down with ESPN Chicago and did an interview about what it's like being an elite goalie in the NHL. Like he'd know. Snicker.

Are you a Blackhawks Bandwagoner? Click here to find out!

With the return of Dan Carcillo, the Blackhawks placed Brandon Mashinter on waivers.

Colorado Avalanche

Last Week: 0-2-0 L 0-5 @ MIN, L 0-3 vs. MIN

Division Standing: Fucking last

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 0.00 (30th)
  • Goals Against: 4.0 (22nd)
  • Power Play %: 0.0 (24th) lmao what?
  • Penalty Kill %: 100 (1st)

This Week: Busy week for the Avs as they kick off their normal early season swing through the Eastern Conference, starting today with the Columbus Day game against the Bruins. If the Avs were all about celebrating Columbus Day, they'd sail in and take whatever the hell they wanted and leave NEVER. Anyway,  from the midday game against Boston today to the early evening game against Toronto Tuesday, the Avs will be playing with heavy legs when they roll into Ottawa on Thursday night and finally Montreal Saturday. Should be a fun week in Avs hockey.

Dallas Stars

Last Week: 0-1-1 3-2 OTL vs. CHI, 1-4 L @ NSH

Division Standing: 6th

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 1.5 (26th)
  • Goals Against: 3.0 (15th)
  • Power Play %: 14.3 (18th)
  • Penalty Kill %: 87.5 (12th)

This Week: Likes the Avs, Dallas heads out on the road in Eastern variety as they go to Columbus on Tuesday before heading heading to Pittsburgh on Thursday and then returning home to take on Philadelphia Saturday night. Personally, I think all 3 of those teams are better than Dallas so have 6 free points, Stars!

News: Already a week old but I like stuff like this so here you go: A look at how this year's Stars team was built.

The off-season's darling struggled in their first two outings, causing the rash of hockey cliches to be unleashed. Amusing the Avs are crucified in typical internet neener neener fashion over the weekend by numbersy folk but the Stars got a free pass because people just LOVE what they've done with their windows.

In case you missed it, this Trevor Daley goal is cooooool, man.

Did you know this team has high expectations?

Minnesota Wild

Last Week: 2-0-0 Annihilated Colorado twice. WE GET IT.

Division Standing: T-1

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 4.0 (4th)
  • Goals Against: 0.0 (1st)
  • Power Play %: 0.0 (24th)
  • Penalty Kill %: 100 (1st)

This Week: Minnesota gets their first true test of the season as they play actual NHL-caliber teams when they head to Anaheim Friday and stop by LA on Sunday. There. I role-played a Minnesota fan for less than 30 words. Comin' after you, bucket list!

News: Stud D Jonas Brodin signed a 6-year contract extension, ensuring he remains underpaid until he's eligible for UFA status. I'm not linking anymore Minnesota shit. We've had enough of them for a while.

Nashville Predators

Last Week: 2-0-0 3-2 W vs. OTT, 4-1 W vs. DAL

Division Standing: T-1

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 3.5 (9th)
  • Goals Against: 1.5 (4th)
  • Power Play %: 16.7 (15th)
  • Penalty Kill %: 83.3 (17th)

This Week: The Predators and their fancy new up-tempo style continue their cupcake early season schedule when they welcome fellow bottom-feeder Calgary to town on Tuesday before finally hitting the road for the first time in a back-to-back on Friday and Saturday in Winnipeg and Chicago, respectively. The schedule is ripe for the overreaction to continue in Nashville.

News: People have games to write about, so let's paint broad strokes about 2 whole games. DONE.

On The Forecheck always does great work. This is another example of that.

Guys who don't play for Dallas anymore but play for Nashville now wax nostalgic about their time in Dallas? This article is oddly timed.

St. Louis Blues

Last Week: 1-1-0 2-3 L vs. NYR, 4-1 W vs. CGY

Division Standing: 4th

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 3.0 (12th)
  • Goals Against: 2.0 (6th)
  • Power Play %: 20.0 (14th)
  • Penalty Kill %: 88.9 (11th)

This Week: The Blues continue their assault on the Pacific Division this week as they head to LA on Thursday before hitting up a back-to-back on Friday and Saturday in Arizona and Anaheim, respectively.

News: This happened. I kid you not. Dario and I sitting together at training camp all those years ago totally saw this coming.

The Blues are taking fan service more seriously than usual, apparently, because this seems to be a big deal on their website. Sure hope they don't hit the Hitchcock Wall in the middle of all that effort.

A few weeks old but a reminder that when you go to games, please do so safely, people.

Also in case you missed it, TJ Oshie picked on the smallest guy he could find. NHL 16 cover awaits, TJ.

Winnipeg Jets

Last Week: 1-2-0 6-2 W @ AZ, 0-3 L @ SJ, 1-4 L @ LA

Division Standing: 5th

Overall Rankings:

  • Goals For: 2.3 (22th)
  • Goals Against: 3.0 (15th)
  • Power Play %: 0.0 (24th)
  • Penalty Kill %: 100 (1st)

This Week: The Jets have a nice 4 days off before they have their home-opener on Friday versus Nashville and welcome the visiting Flames on Sunday night. Must see TV, folks.

News: Evander Kane takes the mic and becomes the interviewer. I enjoy these things. It's the small things in life, I guess.

This still pisses me off. Love Boods. Eff you, Jets.

Somebody waited all summer to post this headline. October 11 is all it took. Congrats, coolguy Ken Wiebe (Any relation to Steve?).