Sunday, March 25, 2007

The Wild, Wild East

The log jam in the Eastern Conference for that last 8th playoff spot has become theater for some high drama. Between 6th place and 11th in the standings is only decided by 5 points. This may not be decided until the final game of the season. In the thick of it are the Carolina Hurricanes, trying to defend their title, Montreal Canadiens and NY Islanders all tied for 8th.

The Toronto Maple Leafs are still in the hunt just 2 points behind. Not yet guaranteed a spot in the post season are the NY Rangers and the Tampa Bay Lightning. The only team the Capitals have a hope of causing some trouble is with the Lightning when they face them March 31st.

The Caps are down to just six games left in their season, facing the Florida Panthers (who will also miss the playoffs) a couple more times and Pittsburgh, Atlanta and Buffalo (last game of the season). While it is unlikely the Caps will be able to knock any of those teams out of the playoffs, their play could decide the order in east and spoil home ice advantage for some.

--Other Notes--

  • Chris Simon offered to meet Ryan Hollweg to apologize for the slash that cost Simon 25 games. Hollweg declined to meet, and the media made more of the incident than the players did as the Rangers and Islanders faced off at Nassau. Too bad the two couldn't shake hands and maybe put the whole incident behind them.
  • The Hockey News came out with a ranking of General Managers around the NHL. George McPhee was ranked 23rd, which I thought was generous.
  • The Hershey Bears are the first AHL team to 100 points with their 44th win over the Binghamton Senators Sunday. The Bears are in prime position to reclaim their championship title as they close in on the playoffs. I am still waiting for that winning spirit to rub off on the big league team. Chris Bourque continues to impress with 47 points and 20 goals. It's unlikely he will see any NHL time this year, he is still my dark horse for making the team next year, or at least get some playing time in a Caps' sweater.

That's all I got.

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