The tournament being two weeks ago today so now is as good a time as any to take a look at where things are.
Early League Leaders
The Predators and Blues lead the Central Division with 11 and 10 points respectively. Each has 6 matches under its belt. Only the Oilers have more with 7 and a record of 1-6. In a four-way points tie for third place league-wide are the Wild, Panthers, Capitals and Sharks, each with 8 points. The Wild are 3-0 while the other three teams are 3-1. But as per tournament rules, it doesn't really matter who leads the league in the end — only who finished at the top of their divisions. It will be those six teams plus a wild card that move on to the Championship Tournament.
If The Playoffs Were Tomorrow...
Just two weeks in, it's impossible to tell who will make it to the Championship Tournament. Anything can happen. But that doesn't mean its not fun to think about it anyway. If you need a refresher on how to determine who moves on to the next tournament, read this.
EAST At this point in the Atlantic, the Flyers and Rangers are shoo-ins. But let's not forget the Devils have played only one match. The Northeast is led by the Sabres and Senators with the Canadiens and Bruins each with just two matches played. Atop the Southeast are the Panthers and Capitals with the Hurricanes and Lightning having played only two matches each. Regardless of how unfair it would be consider since teams are rather uneven in the number of matches played, we'll do it anyway. If they playoffs started tomorrow, the following teams would move on from the Eastern Conference: the Flyers, Rangers, Sabres, Senators, Panthers, Capitals and Hurricanes.
WEST In the Central, the Predators and Blues are running away with the show. The Wild and Flames sit atop the Northwest while the Sharks and Kings lead in the Pacific. The Stars and Coyotes join the Devils among the clubs with the fewest matches played — having just one each. So if the playoffs began tomorrow, the following Western Conference teams would be eligible: the Predators, Blues, Wild, Flames, Sharks, Kings and Oilers.
But friends, we've only just begun. This will be a marathon tournament that won't end until almost the middle of August. So if your team hasn't made a good showing yet, there's still plenty of time...
The Baddest Of The Bad
...unless they just have a really bad logo. This tournament awards points to teams even when they lose a match. If you lose 2-1, you still get that one point. But if you lose 3-0, you obviously get no points. At this point in the competition, the Ducks have had 4 matches yet have exactly no points to show for it. Sadly, I just don't see them advancing very high in the Pacific Division. Other noteworthy bombs seem to be out of the East, in the form of the Maple Leafs, Penguins and Islanders. These are all teams without a single win. The Blackhawks, Red Wings and Oilers aren't doing much better, each having just one win along with a handful of losses. (This, despite the Oilers being eligible for the playoffs at this point. And that's only because more matches equal more possible points.)
Sitting On The Fence
Then there are the teams who haven't quite been awesome or abyssmal. The Bruins, Thrashers, Lightning, Blue Jackets and Canucks each have as many wins as losses to this point in the tournament. But anything can happen. Keep an eye out for their future progress. They could go up or down — or just stick to the middle of the road all the way through.
But Now Back To The Best
Were you wondering who's kicking ass and taking names? Well to this point that would be the Hurricanes and Stars. They've swept their only matches to this point and are the only teams with "perfect" records. The Hurricanes have two matches and the Stars have one. Other teams are undefeated and they are the Devils, Canadiens, Wild, Flames, Avalanche and Coyotes.
I would do a bit of predictions here but that would be a little unfair considering I'll be the one deciding the fates of each logo as I continue to write every match of the tournament. Instead I'll just say that it has been going very well so far. I've been happy with the readership since the tournament began. According to my stats, we've been averaging about 70 to 80 hits a day. It's not overwhelming and I'd sure love to see more visitors, but I'll take what I can get. I just hope that those of you who keep coming back are enjoying the nonsense I keep coming up with — that and the news on new logos and Rbk EDGE jerseys.
The Capitals unveiled a new logo on June 22. It took effect in the tournament on June 23 when they faced the Islanders. The Bruins unveiled their new logo on June 21. Their first match after that date was on June 25 against the Maple Leafs. The Blue Jackets also unveiled new uniforms and made the official announcement that the old third jersey logo would now be the team's primary mark. That logo has been used since the beginning of this tournament.