Checking Up on the Canadian NHL Teams
To be blunt, Calgary has no goaltending, which reflects in their 3.54 team GAA and dismal .880 save percentage. After waiving MacDonald, Calgary is praying Berra is the answer. Hudler is playing unsustainably well but at least Monahan looks good. The Flames are 5-6-2 and going nowhere.
Shouldn’t the Oilers be good by now? Although their goaltending has been subpar, their team defence is the bigger issue. The Oilers D corp is among the weakest in the league and their young forwards lack strong two-way play. To make matters worse the injury bug not been kind. With a 3-10-2 record the Oilers have “earned” a spot in the basement. Poor Eakins, kids are heckling him and after back-to-back shutout losses, his team is playing to get him fired.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Despite Saturday’s lackluster effort where Kessel was applauded for dropping his gloves (an upgrade on the two-handed hack) and Lupul leveled Kadri (after a failed headshot on Sedin), the Leafs are actually having a good year. Led by Kessel’s 18 pts and strong goaltending numbers from a tandem of Bernier and Reimer, their 10-5 record is good enough for 3rd in the Conference.
Les Habitants are off to a slower start than expected but at 8-7 they sit 6th in the Conference. Price is competing for a starting spot for Canada and his performance has been strong with a 2.18 GAA and a .932 save percentage. Subban, another Olympic hopeful, leads the team with 14 points, Plekanic has picked up the scoring of late and the kid line looks poised for a steady year.
If his performance this year is any indication, maybe Craig Anderson is not the answer the Sens are looking for. At 4-6-4 they are currently sitting in 10th in the East with plenty of room for improvement. On a positive note, Bobby Ryan has fit in well, Spezza is playing great, after an Olympic camp snub, and Turris is on pace for a breakout year. Oh and we can’t forget offensive stud Eric Karlsson.
The Canucks’ 10-5-1 record is currently good enough for 6th in the West. The Sedins are scoring highlight reel goals and Kesler looks rejuvenated on the wing. Under the tutelage of Tortorella, the Canucks are blocking shots and playing a stronger defensive game. Luongo desperately wants to play for Canada and appears to have overcome his hurt feelings. On Saturday he shutout the “best” team in Canada
A move to the Western Conference has not been kind to the Jets. At 5-8-2 they sit 2nd to last in the Conference and have lost their last 3 in a row. The Jets lack star power with a below average first line and a weak starting goaltender. If they want to stand a chance in the West they will need a true #1 in net. Expect the Jets to be golfing by Mid April.