The midpoint of the 2011-2012 NHL season is here and with it comes a complete evaluation of each NHL team’s strengths and weaknesses. Today we review each team in the Western Conference and hit their fans with the blunt truth.
First line center and captain, Ryan Getzlaf, is not producing at all like he did last year and many are suggesting a trade. Down for any strategy with a new coach at this point in the season, the Ducks are even trying the "Flying V" but Getzlaf is always called offside when they do.
Another star player, Jarome Iginla, isn’t scoring like he used to in his prime. The 34 year old center recently passed the 500 goal milestone but is having trouble getting used to team practices in the retirement home.
This team is looking poised to finish the season strong and make another run for the Stanley Cup. You can tell the likes of Jonathan Toews, Marian Hossa, and Patrick Kane are working hard with Toews scoring goals, Hossa racking up assists, and Kane getting perms.
The young and rowdy Avalanche are putting on a show this year. After fixing some defense issues, head coach Joe Sacco reached out to Peter Forsberg to motivate the team and help the boys follow in his footsteps while he still has both.
The Blue Jackets are struggling to stay alive and it doesn’t help that Jeff Carter is spending more time with the team doctor than his team. Columbus is in last place and has just fired head coach Scott Arniel who seemingly tasked Steve "the Sieve" Mason with guarding the grand canyon.
Star Jamie Benn has been averaging a point per game in this career year of his, and even got to play with his little brother Jordie, who was called up from the Texas Stars for a few NHL games. Although the roster is looking a bit unfinished halfway through the season, that’s just because Jamie Benn has been penciled in to play every position.
Ignore their recent 5-1 loss to the Islanders and focus on their ability to make the playoffs every year since 1990. This has absolutely nothing to do with Niklas Lidstrom, the perfect hockey player, who’s been playing in Detroit for 20 seasons.
The Oilers are a young team developing chemistry after acquiring back-to-back first overall draft picks in the last two seasons. For now, the team’s young stars are just happy to play at home where they can legally drink.
If the Kings want to get in playoff position, they need to start scoring. But how can they when Dustin Penner had to sit out a game for breaking his back while eating pancakes? Although it was fun substitute for one game, Aunt Jemima cannot help them on the power-play.
Took a bit of a tumble with an 8-game losing streak in the middle of December after establishing dominance as first in the Western Conference. Some argue the Wild’s early season defensive strategy has been dissected, others say "don’t let Mikko Koivu get hurt again!"
Shea Weber is having another outstanding season that could end with him holding the Norris Trophy in his left hand, his beard in his right, and the rest of the team on his back.
Time is ticking for the Arizona expansion team. The news has it that Raffi Torres is likely to get suspended, banned, and executed by the league before the team is moved to colder climates.
The Sharks are toward the top of the league, like they have been every season as of late. Joe Thornton could potentially raise the Stanley Cup over his head as long as the Sharks don’t play any "soft" teams like the Rangers.
Anything can happen in the NHL, and the Blues proved this by tying the Blackhawks and Red Wings in the middle of the season, fighting for a division lead. A revolutionary coaching strategy by Ken Hitchcock advised goaltender Brian Elliot to "give a fuck and stop the puck."
After an early season slumber, the Canucks climbed back on top of the Western Conference, where they were seated last year. Some critics believe their recent success is inflated since goaltender Roberto Luongo did not play in Boston this year during their only matchup with the Bruins.