Skip to main content

Central surge

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

As of Monday morning, four Central Division teams had identical 6-3-1 records in their past 10 games. The fifth team, St. Louis, really deviated from the pack with a 6-2-2 mark.

Talk about parity.

Long gone are the days of Detroit beating up on everybody in its division en route to the Presidents’ Trophy. The story of a strengthened Central goes well beyond the rise of the Chicago Blackhawks.

Columbus is poised to make the playoffs for the first time, Nashville is still sturdy under Barry Trotz and St. Louis has more or less decided to stop allowing goals of late.

It’s very conceivable all five Central clubs could make the post-season, solidifying its status as the toughest division in hockey.

RK.

TEAM

LW

OVERALL

L10

THE SCOOP

1

6

41-19-3

8-2-0

Hey Marty, how does that elbow feel?

2

8

42-12-9

3-4-3

Just can't see giving up a boatload for Chris Pronger when Boston already has Zdeno Chara

3

1

42-10-9

5-3-2

Ryane Clowe, who gets a bit lost among San Jose's stars, could still hit 30 goals with a strong finish

4

7

32-22-8

8-2-0

Just two losses in their past 12 contests

5

2

41-14-8

6-3-1

Could you imagine if they did land Niklas Backstrom from Minnesota? Goodbye goalie questions

6

5

37-19-6

7-1-2

Heading out for a seven-game road trip beginning Tuesday in Ottawa

7

3

40-19-5

6-3-1

Boy, Ovie sure took Don Cherry's criticism to heart

8

4

35-17-9

6-3-1

Antti Niemi made 22 saves to win his first NHL start last Sunday against the Kings

9

9

33-18-10

6-3-1

Doesn't feel like they can play with the East's true big boys yet, but more great goaltending from Martin Biron would help

10

12

31-26-6

6-3-1

Probably prudent not to give up too much in any deal for Olli Jokinen at this point

11

10

32-23-8

6-4-0

Takes a pretty good team to walk into Washington and hammer the Caps 6-2 as the Panthers did Sunday

12

17

34-22-7

5-4-1

Jaroslav Halak has been great, but he shouldn't have to make 40 saves a night

13

15

31-28-4

6-3-1

Finally broke through with 17 goals over their past three games.

14

24

28-26-8

6-2-2

Have allowed one goal or less in seven of their past eight games

15

20

32-26-6

6-3-1

Nobody would be crazy about seeing these guys in Round 1 if they sneak into the playoffs

16

21

32-24-8

3-4-3

I know Nikolai Zherdev had three points in John Tortorella's first win as Rangers coach, but why do I have this vision of Torts someday putting the Russian in a stranglehold similar to the one Homer clamps on Bart?

17

19

31-26-5

5-3-2

In the midst of a playoff battle, the Oilers play nine of their next 13 away from home

18

11

32-27-5

5-5-0

Blowing two-goal leads in the third period to Atlanta is not the way to lock down a playoff spot

19

16

31-28-5

5-5-0

New beginning will serve Ryan Whitney well

20

14

30-26-5

4-4-2

Can't lose both Backstrom and Marian Gaborik for nothing

21

18

31-25-7

3-5-2

Would anyone take Maxim Afinogenov at this point?

22

23

25-26-12

5-2-3

Tim Stapleton gets a shootout winner in his first NHL game and his first "real" goal in his second

23

27

26-27-9

2-6-2

Jack Johnson is going to make Carolina regret its odd decision to trade him to L.A.

24

26

23-28-10

5-3-2

GM Bryan Murray has said the Sens will be sellers, but who's wearing the 'For Sale' signs?

25

13

29-26-7

3-7-0

Have scored just six total goals in losing five straight

26

25

27-31-5

3-7-0

Just wait until next year - wherever that may be

27

28

23-34-6

5-4-1

It would be a coup if this team got a top prospect for Kari Lehtonen

28

29

21-30-12

3-6-1

Mark Recchi can still fill a role on a good team

29

30

19-36-7

3-5-2

Trading Bill Guerin can only help the prospects of drafting No. 1 next June

30

22

28-34-1

3-7-0

Hit the road and completely bottomed out, getting outscored 19-6 while losing four straight

The Hockey News ranks the teams 1-30 each Monday based on a combination of last week’s play and a squad’s overall outlook.

For more great profiles, news and views from the world of hockey, Subscribe to The Hockey News magazine.

TOP HEADLINES

CA1_6550

World Junior Roundup: Quarterfinal Matchups Set

The quarterfinal matchups have been decided after an exciting final day of preliminary round action at the World Junior Championship.

USATSI_18090006

Have the Maple Leafs Done Enough to Get Over the Hump?

The Toronto Maple Leafs have had a busy offseason re-tooling their roster. Have they done enough to finally get over the hump?

Detroit Red Wings

NHL Hot Seat Radar: Detroit Red Wings

The Detroit Red Wings are on the upswing, but they'll need their goaltending -- including fresh face Ville Husso -- to be much better this year.