Just over a month into the season the NHL is getting into the swing of things. And as promised last week, here is a wrap of what has happened so far.
In the Eastern Conference – Philidelphia leads the way in the Atlantic Division, Washington is miles clear in the Southeast and Montreal tops the Northeast table but Boston has a couple of games up their sleeve. In the West – Detroit lead Central, Vancouver the Northwest and Los Angeles the Pacific.
Each division winner progresses to the playoffs with the five ‘next best’ also making it through. The standings for the season so far can be found here.
Tampa Bay have struggled for the last three seasons but have surprised by settling into second place behind Washington in the Southeast. New Jersey have been the biggest disappointment after exciting fans with the $100m signing of left winger (not in the political sense) Ilya Kovalchuk from Atlanta. Unfortunately for Ilya and the Devils, this penalty shootout fumble has been the most memorable moment of the Russian’s season to date.
Players who have shone for the right reasons are Steven Stamkos from Tampa Bay with 15 goals, Combulus goal tender Mathieu Garon has been the best stopper and Washington’s Brooks Laich shares the lead with Montreal’s Mike Cammalleri in the complicated all round rankings (which I will explain another day).
For now though Washington look to be the standout and this is reflected in the betting markets. Last season’s runners up Philadelphia look to be the next best chance to take out the Stanley Cup. But it’s still very early.
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In the NBA the biggest story was Boston’s successful trip to Florida. The Celtics knocked off Miami for the second time this season leaving many people in doubt whether the Heat can live up to the expectations thrust upon them. The Lakers and New Orleans both lost, so nobody will achieve the seemingly impossible undefeated NBA season. The best effort remains Chicago’s 72 wins and 10 losses in 1995-1996. That team had Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen, so it’s just about safe to say it will never be done.
Oklahoma took huge steps in the right direction with a win against Utah earlier today (our time). The Thunder look to have worked out a system that provides support to megastar Kevin Durant. If they keep it up the Lakers easy path through the Western Conference doesn’t look so easy all of a sudden.
In the NFL. THE BILLS WON! I talked up their chances last week to break their duck and they didn’t let me down with a 14-12 victory at home against Detroit. It was far from pretty, but Bills fans and players didn’t mind one little bit. The loss was Detroit’s 25th consecutive on the road, a new NFL record. Next week the Bills are off to Cincinnati and they are a good chance to make it two in a row.
In other matches New England recovered from last week’s loss with a solid win against Pittsburgh, Dallas shocked the New York Giants, Seattle registered an important win against Arizona and Miami won for the first time at home against Tennessee in a loss that may well sting the Titans finals chances.
Sorry if I left out your side, more than happy to provide a write up on teams across all codes by request. Leave a comment below.
This week’s video is the world’s most awkward handshake from the recent Timberwolves-Bucks matchup.