Welcome to a new feature that we will be running weekly here at Winging it in Motown. If you're like me, you probably do not have a lot of time to check out the rest of the NHL. I like to keep my finger on the pulse of the league, but with having a day job, wife and two kids, I don't have the ability to sit and watch hockey for 7 hours every night without someone telling me to get a damn life. However, I want to make sure that you, the reader, know what is happening with our divisional opponents. Every week we will be recapping the week that was in the Central, and give you a sense as to our fellow Centralians have been up to. Remember, this is our division, and we want it back. Follow me after the jump where we break down what's been happening.
Now, before we get to this thing, let me note that the Red Wings will not be included here. This is a Wing blog, so there's no need to recap their week since we all follow them extremely closely. This will be a slightly in-depth (read: completely superficial) look at the other four teams. We'll see how they did over the last week, their overall record, and we'll break down what happened to them in the last 7 days. Let's get to it.
Overall/Weekly Record: 5-0-3 - 13 points - 1st Central Division, 1st Western Conference, 1st NHL
The Skinny: The Predators are first overall in the NHL. Consider this the first and last time you will hear this phrase.
Steve Sullivan is currently the Predators' leading scorer, as he has enjoyed a little rejuvenation in his career now that he is healthy. Here's hoping that he builds up a big enough lead on the team before his back gives out.
The Preds are the NHL's last "unbeaten" team, which makes no sense to me since they have 3 OT losses. But, in fairness, they are the only team left in the NHL without a regulation loss, meaning they are in the running for the Phoenix-Coyotes-Award-For-Racking-Up-OT-Points.
One thing that really scares me is that they are once again playing very stingy defense, and Pekka Rinne is 3rd overall in the NHL in save percentage, which is good, because in the spirit of the "I'm-Your-Backup-Now-But-I'm-Going-To-Wally-Pipp-Your-Ass" phenomenon in Nashville, Anders Lindback stepped in while Rinne was on the shelf and put up some really impressive numbers.
The Preds did play the only 2 teams in the East that might be half-decent (the Capitals and Penguins), and lost to both of them in OT, and have beaten the surprising Stars and Lightning. Barry Trotz is once again getting the most out of this team, and this is a team to watch.
Overall/Weekly Record: 5-4-1 - 11 points - 3rd Central Division, 5th Western Conference, 6th NHL
The Skinny: The NHL scheduling office obviously got "Red Wings" and "Blackhawks" mixed up, as the Hawks have played a pretty brutal schedule in the first 2 weeks, playing 10 games in 16 days. This has left little time for Patrick Kane to go out trolling cougar bars.
The Red Wings continued their mastery of Marty Turco, as they have become so bored with beating him that they have resorted to trick shots.
Out of the 10 games the Hawks have played so far, eight of them have been 1-goal games. They say that games like that develop character, but since these guys did win the Cup last year, I say it shows a lack of a killer instinct. It's amazing what a difference it is in being the hunted vs the hunter, eh Coach Q?
Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp are on fire. It's amazing how freaking hot these guys are, and without them, the Hawks would be in some serious trouble. Oh, and Tomas Kopecky is their third-leading scorer. Apparently after picking up all of Hossa's leftovers this summer, he has decided to continue during the season.
Despite the sluggish start, I am not convinced the Hawks are in any sort of trouble. They still have a winning record despite their top line struggling. They will make the playoffs, but their lack of depth is already starting to show.
Marty Turco got off to a slow start, but seems to have settled in. For as much as we make fun of him around here, he's a good goalie who will give the Hawks a chance to win most nights.
Overall/Weekly Record: 4-1-2 - 10 points - 4th Central Division, 6th Western Conference, 7th NHL
The Skinny: The Blues played? I never watch them, so this will be more of a 'fly-by-the-seat-of-pants" kind of post.
In the last two weeks, the Blues have beaten the Ducks, Hawks and Penguins. If I didn't loathe their team and bitter fans so much, I'd be smiling at that.
We don't play the Blues until November 17th? But how am I supposed to sustain myself on their tears until then?
The Blues have already won 4 games at home, and considering how much they struggled last year in this department, this is a nice development for them. Of course, they haven't won on the road yet, but nobody's perfect.
Brad Boyes has 1 goal in 7 games. Considering the trend that he is on, he may be the only player to ever score negative goals in 2 years. Seriously, how far can a former-40 goal scorer fall?
I weep for a team that has TJ Oshie both as their leading scorer and most recognizable player.
Barret Jackman only has 1 assist so far this season, setting the Cavemen-Can-Play-In-The-NHL movement back 25 years (Give Henrik Zetterberg his Calder, you hack).
Jaroslav Halak has been an absolute beast for the Blues so far this season, posting a GAA under 2 and a save percentage at almost .930. We were all worried when he was traded to the division, and so far those fears have been realized to a degree. He makes them a better team.
Overall/Weekly Record: 5-3-0 - 10 points - 5th Central Division, 8th Western Conference, 12th NHL
The Skinny: You know, the Blue Jackets are like the little runt of the group: you let him tag along and feel bad for making fun of him, but you have to do it anyway.
Seriously, the Jackets have a winning record. Against other NHL teams. In the regular season. After the 2nd game of the year.
The Jackets started the season over in Sweden, ensuring that the NHL will never be accused of always sending the contenders overseas to promote the league in an effort to weaken them for the rest of the season. They were able to split with the Sharks, no small feat considering the Sharks are still one of the favourites this year.
A particular highlight for the BJs was getting shellacked 6-2 by the Flames when Calgary was on their second of back-to-back nights. Always a good time to get destroyed by the team that's supposed to be more tired.
The Jackets did have a great come-from-behind victory the other night against the Blackhawks, a result that will always make me smile.
RJ Umberger has more goals than Rick Nash. Fantasy geeks everywhere are rushing to scan their waiver wires. Not one player on the Jackets is scoring at a point-per-game pace, and it seems like once again the BJs are going to have problems putting the puck in the net.
Steve Mason is off to another rough start, with a GAA at 3 and a save percentage right at .900. Although it should be pointed out he is facing over 30 shots per game.
That's it for this week. Let us know whether there's anything specific you'd like to see as part of this feature, and as always, LGRW!