I took a look at the Western Conference standings this morning to see where our beloved Avalanche are sitting and something caught me a bit off-guard. Believe it or not, the ENTIRE Western Conference – all 15 teams – are separated by a mere 12 points!!! That is the equivalent of only 6 games!!!
A couple things to note here:
- The Avs are sitting in 12th place (30 points), but are only 7 points behind the 1st place Dead Wings (37 points).
- Only 2 teams in the conference have a sub-.500 record (Edmonton & Calgary)!!!
- There are 6 teams tied with a total of 32 points.
So, I want to ask you, what is it? What is it with the NHL this year that has brought the whole conference so close? On any given evening, any team can win – yes, even the Edmonton Oil Spill. Why does every team in the conference have a shot at the playoffs? What changed?
Well, in my opinion, it’s overall talent. The kids that are coming up from the junior and college ranks are just getting that much better. Take a look at the Avs this year. They have had as many as 6 rookies playing on any given night and yet remain competitive. Take a look at the other teams and you’ll see names like Jordan Eberle, Corey Crawford, Logan Couture, Kyle Clifford and Alex Pietrangelo. Who??? Exactly… These kids – along with your Avalanche unknowns like Greg Mauldin and Kevin Shattenkirk – have been stepping-up and helping out their respective teams in a big way.
Yes, it’s still early in the season, but what will the Avs have to do to secure a spot in the post-season? PLAY BETTER!!! Dropping games against the likes of the Carolina Hurri-cant’s and the Florida Kitties just won’t cut it. Yes, those are Eastern teams and the losses don’t hurt as much, but when the burgundy-clad boys take on teams from the west, they simply must play better.