Now that we’ve reached the halfway point of the season, we’re going to list five things that have surprised us so far, and five things that have dissapointed us. If you disagree with us, comment below, but don’t forget to “like” us on Facebook, share with your friends, and follow me on Twitter @hkyblogger!
Alex Galchenyuk: Heck, for that matter, the entire Canadiens team. After tanking last year and getting the third overall pick, the Montreal Canadiens have done an amazing job this year. I had them ranked pretty low in my pre-season rankings, and boy was I wrong. I give a lot of credit to the new coaching staff but in particular to GM Marc Bergevin. He basically rebuilt this team in a year. Kudos to you Mr. Bergevin!
Jiri Tlusty: I, along with many Leafs fans, believed he was another bad move that former GM John Ferguson Jr. made. Remember, he was drafted before guys like Michael Grabner, Claude Giroux, and Semyon Varlamov. However, he has turned his game around this year. I just have one wonder about this. Can he sustain this pace? If he can, this is a nice steal for the Carolina Hurricanes who traded AHL’er Philippe Paradis for him.
Nazem Kadri: He has gone off the charts this year with 10G and 14A in just 24 games. That might not seem a lot, but consider this. From 2009-2012, he played 51 games for the Toronto Maple Leafs, but only had 8G and 11A. If he can maintain that pace, I truly believe he can be the #1 center that the Leafs are looking to anchor the team along with Phil Kessel.
Chicago Blackhawks: Yes. This one was probably the most expected one. You may know about the streaks but did you know this? The last time that the Blackhawks didn’t get atleast one point in a game was March 23, 2012. Yes 2012. Yeah I know many of you might say, “Oh but there’s been a lockout.” But consider this. when your backup is 8-0-0, you know your team is playing well. How long will the streak last? Who knows, but I love the streak. It gives the fans a reason to watch the regular season. The regular season has been called irrelevant by many people, because all that matters to them is who gets hot in the playoffs. However, many people are not tuning in to watch the regular season. Why? Because they want to watch the Blackhawks. Other teams might not enjoy getting beat, but this is fun hockey to watch.
Competition in the West: Might not be spoken of that often, but I love this. The West is very competitive right now. Did you know that there is only a two point difference between 10th place and 5th place? Man that makes it FUN!
Cory Schneider: I guess you can put this as a surprise for Roberto Luongo. I thought that this would be the year where it all ends. Luongo gets traded and Schneider is the undisputed #1 goalie, but this seems not be the case. Scheider hasn’t played up to expectations and as a result, we have the circus known as the goalie tandem…
Washington Capitals: I had them pretty low during the pre-season rankings, but not this low. Ovechkin had a bad start to the season, their goalie situation is a mess, and they’re now 28th in the league. This is not what Adam Oates had in mind. They better catch up. Fast.
Florida Panthers: They’re now 29th in the league. Remember, they made the playoffs last year. With Jose Theodore now out for one to two months, you might as well kiss goodbye to their playoff hopes. Maybe next year? But think of the bright side, Jacob Markstrom will get some great playing time that can only benefit his development.
Buffalo Sabres: All was going well until last year. They said that last year was rock bottom. But they hit rock bottom this year. Firing Lindy Ruff. The team has some great talent with Miller, Pominville, Vanek, just to name a few. But they’ve all under preformed Take Ville Leino as an example. He’s just under preformed since he signed his contract with the Sabres. There is hope though, the Sabres are only four points from 8th and final playoff spot.
New York Rangers: I had them ranked near the top of the league, but man have they been bad. Barely clinging on to the final playoff spot. Now with Marc Staal out with that gruesome injury, it’s going to be hard to cling on to the last spot. I do believe that the Rangers are feeling the pain of losing Prust and his “truculence”. They need to add some grit to the team, and if they can, I do believe they can maybe move up to the 4th or 5th spot by the end of the year.
Well that’s what I think of the year so far. What about you? Comment below, share with your friends, do your thing!