We're now just about halfway through the competition so its time to take another look at where things stand. Remember, each team plays 14 matches, teams with 7 are of course midway through the tournament.
The Midpoint Leaders
First and foremost, are the Hurricanes. They've been wiping the floor with everyone, having swept 75% of their 8 matches to date. Obviously, they lead the league with 22 points. Coming in a somewhat distant second are the Predators with 17 points in 9 matches. Behind them are the Avalanche with 16 points in 6 matches, so they still have a long way to go and could be a dominant force in the West. The Flames and Canadiens 15 points in 7 and 8 matches, respectively. The Panthers and Sharks each have 13 points in 6 and 8 matches, respectively.
If The Playoffs Were Tomorrow...
Here at the halfway point of the tournament, it's still too early to tell who will make it to the Championship Tournament. But that doesn't mean we can't talk about it anyway. If you need a refresher on how to determine who moves on to the next tournament, read this.
At present, the Flyers and Devils are at the top of the Atlantic Division. The Rangers are a point behind the Devils but the Devils have four games at hand. The Canadiens and Senators lead the Northeast and the Hurricanes and Panthers top the Southeast. As for the wild card spot, there's a three-way tie. Rangers, Thrashers and Capitals each have 10 points. However, the Capitals have the tie breaker. And if the playoffs started tomorrow, the following teams would move on from the Eastern Conference: the Flyers, Devils, Canadiens, Senators, Hurricanes, Panthers, and Capitals.
The Predators and Blues still lead the Central Division two weeks after the last time we checked in. High atop the Northwest are the Flames and Avalanche. And leading the Pacific Division are the Sharks and Stars. At this point the Wild take wild card spot with 11 points. So if the playoffs began tomorrow, the following Western Conference teams would be eligible: the Predators, Blues, Avalanche, Flames, Sharks, Stars and Wild.
But once again, we're only halfway through this competition. This is a marathon tournament and there is still a long way to go. 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. The Ducks still have the league's worst logo, having earned no points in 6 matches to date. The Penguins aren't doing much better sitting with 1 point in only 4 matches. They still have a lot of matches ahead of them. The Maple Leafs have 5 points in 7 matches while the Bruins have 6 points in 4 matches. Those guys are pretty much bottom of the barrel at this point.
Another element worth looking at here halfway through, is points percentage. Since the number of matches played for each team varies from 4 to 10, the straight-up number of points isn't always a good barometer for determining who's doing well. For that, we look at their points percentage, which is the number of points they've earned out of the points available to them. Each match is worth 3 points so a team that's played 5 matches has had the opportunity to earn 15 points. But nobody's perfect.
Despite an 11-point difference between them, the Hurricanes and Wild both have a .917 and, of course, no losses yet in the tourney. The Avalanche are .889 and the Devils are .733 a this point. Rounding out the top 5 is the Panthers with a .722 percentage.
Some teams are doing rather impressive right now. Logos with absolutely no losses here at the competition's halfway point are the Hurricanes, Wild, Avalanche and Flames. Is it weird they all have a shade of red as their primary color?
And some teams are doing the opposite of impressive right now. Logos with absolutely no wins at the halfway point are the Ducks and Penguins. Hopefully there's light at the end of the tunnel for these guys. I'd hate to see anyone go the entire length of the tournament without a single win to show for it.
It's looking like the Northwest Division will probably be the top division in the tournament. Three of its five teams have yet to lose a match. I'm also impressed with the Hurricanes' performance. They've surprised me, actually, just like when they won the Stanley Cup in 2006. It'll be interesting to see when/if they ever lose match. They've been unstoppable so far. But I'd be surprised to see any team finish with no losses, or no wins for that matter. I don't think any of the logos stand out quite that much. But we'll just have to see.
So here we are. Just another month to go before the Championship Tournament. Can you feel the excitement? No? The average number of visitors to the blog has dropped to around 60 a day. I'm not surprised, though. No one's really that interested in this drivel of mine, but for those of you who are reading, I appreciate it and I hope you're getting some kind of enjoyment out of it.
Well technically, the tourney is half-over (a dead horse I've been beating for the better part of this post), but only six teams have actually played exactly half of their schedule (7 of 14 matches). Those teams are the Flames, Canucks, Blackhawks, Red Wings, Kings and Maple Leafs. So obviously some teams have more and some have less. The Flyers have already played 10 matches leaving only 4 to go while the Wild, Bruins and Penguins have each played only 4 therefore having 10 remaining. So it will be interesting to see how everything turns out. Keep reading and comment whenever you feel like it.