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The NHL: Where Questions Will Become Answers, Just Not Yet

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It's been a pretty tumultuous first two weeks for the Red Wings. They started out great against the Ducks, looked good against the Hawks, threw a game away against the Avalanche, stunk up the joint in Dallas, and survived a game against the Coyotes. A ton of questions have come up already in this young season: should Chris Osgood ever be allowed to play a game of hockey again in his lifetime? Why does the power play look as lifeless as I do when I'm out shopping with my wife? Is Jiri Hudler still on Russian time, because he looks like he's slept through the first 5 games? Did the intense training camp wear out Mike Modano already? Why do I automatically think of Johan Franzen when I play Mike Tyson's Punch Out and I'm facing Glass Joe? Rather than tackle these tough questions, I decided to look at the rest of the NHL. I was amazed to see a few of the things that have transpired early in the season. Join me after the jump where you'll be as shocked as I was.

First, a quick glance at the standings reveals that as of this writing, your division leaders are as follows:

 

New York Islanders
Toronto Maple Leafs
Tampa Bay Lightning
Chicago Blackhawks
Colorado Avalanche
Dallas Stars

Look at the East and let those teams stew around in your brain for a second. The Islanders, Leafs and Lightning, 3 of the worst teams in the league last year, are leading their divisions 2 weeks into the season. Now, I realize that it's early, but when was the last time that you could say "Leafs" and "Islanders" and "leading" that didn't involve golfing in April. But here we are. The other thing that surprised me is that the last two undefeated teams were the Stars and Leafs. These are the teams that finished 20th and 29th overall last year, respectively. I can't even begin to imagine what the odds would have been of that happening. It got me thinking about some things that I would have considered more likely to have happened before Dallas and Toronto were the two last undefeated teams in the NHL. So, invoking the spirit of Petrella at TPL, here are some things I considered more plausible than the Stars and Leafs being the last undefeated teams in the NHL.

- Sidney Crosby proves he's a big boy by going to see an R-rated scary movie without having to hold Mario's hand or asking Gary to come over that night to check for monsters under his bed.

- Calls to the Phoenix Coyotes and Colorado Avalanche's box offices are met with the same outgoing recorded message: "We're sorry, but all remaining home game tickets have been sold out. Thanks for your support."

- Gary Bettman is asked to write the introduction of the next edition of "How to Win Friends and Influence People".

- Ryan Getzlaf and yours truly are asked to be spokesmen for "Hair Club for Men".

- Glen Sather hosts a seminar for businessmen and women entitled "How to Remain Fiscally Responsible in Difficult Market Conditions"

- Jay Bouwmeester is invited to Mike Peca's hockey school to talk to the kids. Topics include "How to be an effective hockey player" and "How to use criticism to your advantage"

- Sean Avery is invited to become the political spokesman for the Tea Party because of his "outstanding tact and decorum" when dealing with situations that involve conflict.

- Rick Rypien is invited to be a guest on "Evening at the Improv". In his set, a would-be heckler is put in his place by Rypien's wit and humour, making the heckler feel quite the fool for doubting Rypien's comedic talents in the first place.

Now that the Leafs and Stars have lost, I can breathe a little easier knowing that things are getting back to normal. Had both of their undefeated streaks lasted much longer, I would have been heavily investing in warm clothes, since it would have been readily apparent that hell was indeed freezing over. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to get my tinfoil hat ready for the upcoming stretch of Wing games, because it's gone dusty from lack of use so far this season.