Sports department for the student run radio station 90.3 WRST at UW-Oshkosh
Hello Again Hockey Fans!
If you were watching hockey at all this week, you would realize that not much has changed since last week’s hunt for the playoffs. Though another team has locked in their playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, let’s take a look at the teams who no longer have a chance at the cup this year.
In the Eastern Conference, The Buffalo Sabres have ended their chances for the playoffs in 2013, but it’s extremely difficult to readjust wen your head coach is fired near the beginning of the year and your game plan changes with staff. The Philadelphia Flyers are next, even with a powerhouse set of men like Hartnell, Giroux, Simmonds and Bryzgalov the Flyers just had a loss streak that went far too long and forced themselves to chase for the rest of the year. The Tampa Bay Lightning, another team with All-Star players in Martin St. Louis, Vincent LeCavalier, and contender for the Rocket Richard trophy Steven Stamkos, has been a big disappointment this year with a 17-23-4 record for the entire year. Their neighboring team the Florida Panthers also had a horrible season, with a losing record at both home and away; and just a little to the north is the last group of men who lost their playoff chances in the Carolina Hurricanes.
The Western Conference has only solidified three teams who will not be making it to the Stanley Cup this year, but it’s been fairly obvious that these teams would not have a shot even if they did make it to the playoffs. The Colorado Avalanche have had so much trouble this year it’s frightening. From a team that used to compete in a dynasty pace, it’s almost sad to see them fall so far and finish their season so close to last place overall. The Nashville Predators however, have always been a team struggling to find their edge on the ice. Even with Weber and Gill, arguably the best defenseman duo in the entire league, the Predators have always had trouble putting pucks in the net while defending their own. And last in the West to fail to make the cut is the Calgary Flames. By trading away their team captain and making a vast amount of switches by trade deadline the Flames almost looked like they were functioning fairly well again, but they couldn’t shake off the losing streak at the beginning of the year, forcing them out.
Close to join the fallen are the Edmonton Oilers of the West and the New Jersey Devils of the East, who are both eight points behind the 8th place spots. The Detroit Redwings, Dallas Stars, and Phoenix Coyotes are closing in on the Columbus Blue Jackets and the Minnesota Wild for a spot; and Winnipeg is just barely scraping the heels of New York’s Rangers and Islanders in the East. A big game will erupt soon when the Islanders and Jets face off today!
The most recent team to achieve a playoff spot is the Boston Bruins. Unfortunately, Boston is still in the light of a sad time since the bombings that occurred just recently in their city. The game against Pittsburgh was cancelled and moved to today because the city was shut down as Boston’s finest protected their citizens during a manhunt for a suspect. Boston is one of the few cities that will shut everything down to reassure justice is brought to their name, and I believe all of us hold this city in the highest of regards at this point regardless of sports. To not talk about this topic would simply be naïve, and Boston will by no means be seen hiding in fear. In respect to the events that have happened recently, I highly recommend you tune into the ceremony that will take place today at the rescheduled game of the Boston Bruins and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Though all of this news seems grim, we must remember that there is always hope, and a chance for happiness. It’s the same reason these teams keep fighting to achieve the happiest moment any hockey player can imagine; the feeling of raising the Stanley Cup over their heads in triumph. Through the toughest diversity, whether it is a sports team, a city, or a nation, there is always a chance to endure and succeed even in the darkest of times.
Happy playoff hunting everyone.
Here’s a link to a wonderful article from ESPN Boston, from which this photo was supplied. I highly recommend reading it and watching the videos that accompany it.