In what has already proven to be an interesting season, we are getting closer and closer to the start of the playoffs. Just weeks away from the regular season ending, we are seeing more and more teams by the day securing their spot in the race to win the ultimate trophy, the Stanley Cup.
With the past few days, four elite teams have punched their tickets and started their preparations for the grueling four round playoffs. Not surprisingly, the Chicago Blackhawks, Washington Capitals, and Pittsburgh Penguins are of the teams that have a guaranteed spot. The surprising addition to the list is the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Since hiring John Tortorella as head coach, the Blue Jackets have completely turned their team and structure around. Being somewhat of a forgotten team in past season, the Jackets have climbed their way from the bottom of the leader board to clinching a playoff spot in the most competitive division in the NHL, the Metropolitan.
In general, this NHL season has seen a shift in team standings. Once revered as one of the best and most consistent team in the league, the Detroit Red Wings find themselves in a very unfamiliar position, out of the playoffs and at the bottom of the conference, only above the New Jersey Devils. With a coaching change and a 25 consecutive playoff appearance run flushed down the toilet, the team are in desperate need for a change next year.
Although they hadn’t had an almost mythical playoff run like the Red Wings, the Colorado Avalanche were shaping up to be a good team these past years. With good, young talent coming through the ranks, they were destined for greatness. But unfortunately this greatness never came, at least not yet. With so much young talent, it is easy for a team to lose their way, especially after different coaches coming and going. Hopefully next season will prove to be more positive after they bring new talent to the team. Standing at the last position in the league with only 43, god knows they need some help.
Of course it is fun to see the best teams in league compete against eachother for the cup, but when it is the same teams year after year, it tends to become a bit mundane. Even if its just one or two teams that are added into the mix, it brings a new sense of excitement. The unknown becomes a factor, will the team succeed or be swallowed up by the big dogs in the first round? The Stanley Cup playoffs don’t really need any more excitement and hype than it already has, but the new questions are fun to think about.