Where they stand: NHL All Star break
1. Ottawa* 66 pts
2. Philadelphia* 59 pts
3. Carolina* 52 pts
4. Montreal 60 pts
5. New Jersey 59 pts
6. Pittsburgh 58 pts
7. Boston 55 pts
8. NY Islanders 54 pts
9. NY Rangers 54 pts
10. Washington 51 pts
11. Atlanta 50 pts
12. Florida 49 pts
13. Buffalo 48 pts
14. Toronto 48 pts
15. Tampa Bay 45 pts
-Amazing how all 5 of the Atlantic Division teams could make the playoffs and how tight the divsion is.
-Carolina is another reason why I dislike giving division winners the top three seeds. Overall, they're 9th in the conference.
-11 points separate the 2nd seed from the 14th. Should be an interesting second half where each game will be vital.
1. Detroit* 78 pts
2. San Jose* 61 pts
3. Minnesota* 59 pts
4. Dallas 61 pts
5. Anaheim 60 pts
6. Calgary 58 pts
7. Vancouver 57 pts
8. Colorado 56 pts
9. Columbus 56 pts
10. Nashville 55 pts
11. Phoenix 54 pts
12. St. Louis 51 pts
13. Edmonton 51 pts
14. Chicago 50 pts
15. Los Angeles 42 pts
-Detroit is going to run away with the conference. Should be fun to see if they lose steam heading into the playoffs and set themselves up for another post-season disappointment.
-Like the Eastern Conference, 11 points separate the 2nd and 11th seeds. It's tight.
-How great of a second half is it going to be when a single win can vault a team a handful of places in the conference?
NEWS AND NOTES
One of the worst kept secrets around the league finally came out this week as the Maple Leafs fired general manager John Ferguson Jr. and named Cliff Fletcher interim GM. The way Toronto handled the entire situation was disgraceful and disrespectful to Ferguson. Good on him the way he went about his business throughout. Despite the fact he may have deserved to get the axe, it should have been drawn out in such a public fashion.
Over the weekend, Gary Bettman announced plans had been finalizedto begin the 2008-09 season in Europe again. The Senators and Penguins will play in Stockholm, while the Rangers and Lightning will meet in Prague. Both of the teams will play two regular season games against one another as well as some pre-season games.
The oft-traveled Kris Beech is set to join his fourth team this month as the Penguins picked him up on waiver from the Capitals over the weekend. Famously remembered as being part of the Jaromir Jagr trade from Pittsburgh to Washington, Beech was picked up for depth reasons as the Pens are suffering from a number of injuries at the moment. General manager Ray Shero is also hoping he can catch some lightning in a bottle and that Beech can live up to his potential and contribute.
Versus picked up it's option to broadcast the NHL through at least the 2010-11 season. I'll have my take on this deal sometime this week.
AROUND THE BLOG WORLD
Kevin Schultz of NHL FanHouse took a trip to Atlanta and chronicled All Star weekend.
That Pens-Flyers game on Thursday was another doozy, eh? Well, The First Annual Krog Blog isn't too happy with a personnel decision made by Philadelphia coach John Stevens.
Taking One for the Team breaks down the best and worst case scenarios for the Penguins in the post-Crosby era for the next 6-8 weeks.
Joe Pelletier of Greatest Hockey Legends takes a look at some brotherly love at NHL All Star Games.
Don't know who Quintin Laing is? On Frozen Blog introduces you to a helluva shot blocker for the Caps.
LET'S GO TO THE VIDEOTAPE!
Highlights from the revamped Skills Competition from Saturday night.
A pretty good fight between George Parros and Raitis Ivanans
A look back a Wayne Gretzky's last NHL game.
TSN SportCentre's Top 10 innovative plays in the game.
PLAYER OF THE WEEK
Daniel Alfredsson had the highlight of a shortened All-Star week as he had a 3 goal, 4 assist, +5 performance against the Lightning this week, putting him ahead in the scoring race lead.
UPCOMING GAME OF INTEREST
Montreal Canadiens at Washington Capitals, Thursday, January 31st, 7pm EST
The second game of the home-and-home series between the two this week. Bruce Boudreau has done some wonders with Washington since taking over the job at Thanksgiving. The Caps are now in playoff contention and mere points out of the Southeast Division lead (and #3 seed in the Eastern Conference). Montreal will be starting their push for the playoffs and many have them as dark horse contenders to come out of the Eastern Conference.
GRATUITOUS PITTSBURGH PENGUINS RELATED AWESOMENESS
Highlights of the 1990 All Star Game from Pittsburgh, where Mario Lemieux won MVP honors with a 4 goal performance.
Same time, same place next week for more "Puttin' on the Foil".