The Stars were really bad against their own division this year. 7-14-7 is not a good record against anyone, and it is an especially not-good record when it is against the very teams that you need to beat in order to play in the bonus round of the season. Three-point games and loser points and the disaster that is the NHL's standings construct have rendered intradivision games more crucial than any other. Those are the times when you can actually prevent teams from getting points. The Stars have not prevented other Central teams from getting points this year.
Why is that? Well, Sean McIndoe lays out just how ridiculous the Central has been this year. Check this out:
Consider the following:
• The division already features three 100-plus-point teams in Nashville, St. Louis, and Chicago, while the Jets and Wild could both join them.
• The Wild have been the best team in hockey since mid-January, yet still won’t finish any higher than fourth in the division and may drop to fifth.
• As of today, the division boasts four of the league’s top eight teams based on goal differential.
• There’s a good chance the Central will claim both Western wild-card spots and send five teams to the playoffs.
• Even the division’s two "bad" teams, the Avalanche and the Stars, aren’t disasters; both could still hit 90 points. The last-place Avs are currently 15 points better than the league’s next-best last-place team, the Hurricanes, and Colorado would rank ahead of four Metro teams.
• Perhaps most impressive of all, the division boasts four teams in the league’s top 10 overall. That’s a relatively rare feat; it’s happened only once since the turn of the century.
So sure, the Central is unquestionably the league’s best division this year, but what about all time? Could the 2014-15 Central belong in the discussion with some of history’s best collections of teams?
I'd recommend the rest of that article heartily, even if it does fail to mention the Pacific Division in 2010-11, when the Stars were a win away from bringing all five teams in the Pacific into the playoffs. Now that I've brought that nice memory back, let us get to the links. You're welcome.
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I'll be at the Anaheim game tonight. The old "rivalry" schedule saw the Stars playing the Ducks and Kings eight times each during the year, which meant that I got to see the Stars eight times a year without having to drive for more than half an hour. This year I got two games. This is another reason I don't like the Central Division, selfishly.
Can you trust what the Stars are doing? Mike Heika asks this question. [DMN]
Jamie Benn's hot play this year has not gone unnoticed. [TSN]
The Texas Stars moved into 5th place in their division with a 6-4 win last night. Devin Shore and Brett Ritchie were among the goal scorers. [100 Degree Hockey]
Mike Heika had himself a chat with you people yesterday. [DMN]
Travis Morin has been inducted into the ECHL's South Carolina Stingrays' Hall of Fame. Morin was with the Stingrays from 2007 to 2009, and he scored over a point per game. [Stingrays]
Derian Hatcher is the co-owner of the OHL's Sarnia Sting, and he is going to be the head coach next year as well. [Yahoo]
Ondrej Pavelec posted his second road shutout in as many nights as the Blues fell 1-0 to the Jets. If you are a Jets fan, you can't be thrilled with the prospect of Pavelec starting your playoff games, right? [NHL]
The Kings were defeated by the Oilers despite Drew Doughty's goal from center ice. The Kings may miss the playoffs, folks. [NHL]
Jaromir Jagr anticipates returning to Florida next year. (To play hockey.) [SI]
The Senators are probably not making the playoffs, but they certainly put a scare into Pittsburgh last night. Ottawa came back from a 3-0 deficit to win 4-3. Sidney Crosby did get two points, for you Art Ross watchers. [NHL]
Finally, Jaroslav Halak did not exactly reassure his teammates with the last-second goal he allowed to Brayden Schenn yesterday. Awhoopsie: