When a empty liquor bottle finds its way on the ice, even after the first 5 or 6 games of the season, you know things just don’t seem to be right in the world.
Deadspin.com released an article this morning documenting how a disgruntled (and probably intoxicated) Boston fan lobbed an empty liquor bottle in the waning minutes of the third period in last night’s Boston/Carolina match-up that saw the Bruins lose 4-1 to the Hurricanes and drop their record to 2-4-0 overall after 6 games, placing them in 11th place overall in the Eastern Conference.
With nearly 10% of the season already expired, you take a look at the divisional and conference standings and league statistics and you see some VERY unfamiliar names squatting on the top positions.
Take the Eastern Conference for example, of course Washington/Pittsburgh/Buffalo/Philly were going to be in the top 8 and rightfully so…but Toronto/Carolina/NY Islanders/and New Jersey closing out the top 8? Wow, talk about bizarro world. Seeing teams like NY Rangers/Boston/Tampa Bay/and Montreal ALL having worse records than the Florida Panthers not only puts things into perspective, but also very clearly shows that we’re still VERY early into the season.
If you look at the Western Conference, you see some very common names on the top 8 currently with Detroit/Anaheim/Chicago/Los Angeles/Phoenix there…but DALLAS and COLORADO at #1 and #2 respectively? Minnesota at #7? Nashville and Vancouver not breaking the top 8? San Jose ONE POINT BETTER than Columbus? Ok, quit laughing, I’m serious! Those are the real standings! However, even though those are the legitimate standings and we are only 5 or 6 games into the season for most teams, some fans are already throwing in the towel with their team.
Think that’s crazy? Take a look at the statistical leaders (top 5) in all major categories. If you had to guess who the only Nashville Predators player on that list would be WITHOUT watching any of the Predators 5 games so far, who would you guess? Pekka Rinne, right? Well, you’d be dead wrong. DEAD WRONG. David Legwand is 5th in the league in total points scored, or better known as the Art Ross Trophy race. Yeah, you read that right. David Legwand is off to a career best start, which is utterly amazing and I am pretty sure I predicted that as my NUMBER ONE prediction.
What’s even funnier about those player statistics? 38 year old Nikolai Khabibulin LEADS the league with a 0.96 GAA and is second with a .957 Save Percentage. If that doesn’t make you stop, shake your head, and say to yourself, “Yeah, it must be early in the season,” then I don’t know what will.
Even though Nashville couldn’t have found the back of the net in Edmonton on their powerplays if the goalie was pulled (0-5 Monday night, 4 shots on the powerplay…all on their first one), the Predators are STILL 8th in the league for total powerplay percentage with 22.2% conversion and are 11th overall in penalty kill percentage with 86.4%. You may think that attempt at a joke was not very funny, but look at it in this perspective:
Nashville is 29th in the league in average shots forced per game at 23, .2 better than the New York Rangers who stand at 22.8. Nashville had one of their top 5 all time worst performances, shooting-wise, on Monday night with 12 shots total, 5 less than their lowest from last year (17 against Vancouver).
If you can say to me in a straight face that you saw EVERYTHING in this article coming true this early in the season, then I need to get you a crystal ball. No one even saw Columbus being this bad (0-5-1), even after all their off-season moves.
Like I’ve continually said, it’s WAY early in the 2011-2012 season, and this only proves it. Don’t jump ship from your team’s fandom 6 games into the year, it’s not worth it. Give your team time and things should slowly correct themselves, well…for MOST teams they will
Stay frosty, friends.