So it begins, the phenomenon we call March Madness[and no, sorry but it has nothing to with NCAA basketball]. Let the madness begin. Usually March is synonymous with NHL teams solidifying their rosters and making their playoff push as the season winds down. This year while it is true that EVERY game in March is extremely important to the playoff drive, this week is merely the halfway mark. This year it will truly be March Madness as the halfway mark will be even more significant in a shortened season. Teams have until [3 PM Eastern] April 3rd to make any roster changes to their teams in their quest for the cup. April usually marks the beginning of playoffs, but this year it marks desperation month as teams will try and squeeze as points as possible out the 12-15 games they will play. First all 30 teams [minus Chicago] will battle through March Madness before Absolutely ‘Must Win’ April begins.
March Madness will be a test. Every team will use Chicago’s ridiculously brilliant first half of the season as a measuring stick[seriously…their first half was nearly perfect going 21-0-3!]. By the end of March the frame work of the playoff picture will begin to become clear as desperation teams will look to steal points and momentum from teams that seem locked in. The playoff picture will change a lot between now and the beginning of April.
What better way to begin the madness then to take a look at a revealing statistic? Fun fact: Did you know that no player in the NHL has more points than Henrik Sedin since 2008? True story. That is an incredibly impressive feat considering the offensive talent that has been in the NHL the last 5 years.
Since the beginning of the 2008/2009 season:
Henrik Sedin (Vancouver) –391 points [personal best 112 points in 2009/2010]
Alex Ovechkin (Washington) –386 points [personal best 112 points in 2007/2008]
Daniel Sedin (Vancouver) –360 points [personal best 104 points in 2010/2011]
Evgeni Malkin (Pittsburgh) –359 points [personal best 113 points in 2008/2009]
Sidney Crosby (Pittsburgh) –351 points [personal best 120 points in 2006/2007]
Jarome Iginla (Calgary) –327 points [personal best 98 points in 2007/2008]
Corey Perry (Anaheim) –326 points [personal best 98 points in 2010/2011]
Patrick Kane (Chicago)–324 points [personal best 88 points in 2009/2010]
Patrick Marleau (San Jose)–309 points [personal best 86 points in 2005/2006]
Marian Hossa (Chicago) –274 points [personal best 100 points in 2006/2007]
Jonathan Toews (Chicago) –290 points [personal best 76 points in 2010/2011]
Teemu Selanne (Anaheim) — 265 points [personal best 132 points in 1992/1993 ***rookie season]
Ryan Kesler (Vancouver) — 261 points [personal best 75 points in 2009/2010]
Alex Burrows (Vancouver) — 232 points [This was the beginning of Mr.Clutch goal scorer. Prior to 2008/2009 season Burrows only had 52 points total in the previous 3 seasons!]
March has only just begun, we’ve still got three weeks left for the real madness to ensue. After March Madness will come Absolutely Must Win April. The shortened season has set up lots of home and home series within the mandated conference play leading to many playoff type atmospheres. Are you prepared? Let the madness and desperation begin!
As always, until next time, nuck said.
P.S. Congratulations to Jannik Hansen and his wife who welcomed twin boys[Daniel & Lucas] into the world March 3rd. Congratulations also go out to Alex Burrows, whose wife Nancy gave birth to their 2nd daughter[Lexie] March 4th.