Well as the Christmas holiday is approaching, fans around the league will be celebrating the holidays, and I am sure most will be making some Christmas wishes on behalf of their favorite team. So this week, I will look at each of the divisions on a different day, looking at where they are, where they expected to be, and what they would wish for if they could sit on Santa’s lap.
I will continue today with the Northwest Division:
Minnesota Wild (T-1st in Northwest Division, 20-8-5)
Where they are: One of the league’s biggest surprises, the Wild are sitting on top of the world. The Wild sit in first place in the division and trail only Chicago by one point for first place in the conference and the league.
Where they expected to be: After missing the playoffs last year and with a first time head coach entering this year, the Wild’s expectations couldn’t be much more than fighting for a playoff spot.,
CHRISTMAS WISH: For Wild fans, if this is just a dream they will be wishing to never wake up. Mike Yeo has ridden the Wild goaltenders to one of the best defensive records despite giving up the 2nd most shots in the league
Vancouver Canuks (2nd in Northwest Division, 19-11-2)
Where they are: Centred in the playoff hunt, they are as close to first overall as they are to 9th.
Where they expected to be: A cup contender. After last season’s near miss, nothing but a Cup will be considered a success.
CHRISTMAS WISH: A dominant stretch for Roberto Luongo. If the Canucks are going to win the Cup they will do it with Bobby Lou. Schneider might soon be able to do it, but not for a couple of years. Luongo needs to re-establish his dominance of the Vnacouver crease.
Calgary Flames (3rd Northeast Division, 14-15-4)
Where they are: The Flames are treading water, and are a couple straight losses away from losing touch with the playoffs. Currently 11th, they are 5 points behind 8th place Dallas, who have 2 games in hand on the Flames.
Where they expected to be: I don’t know if the playoff were expected, but they were definitely on the radar.
CHRISTMAS WISH: A personality transplant for Jay Bouwmeester. The uber-talented defenseman just doesn’t seem to have the fire you would hope. If he had 1/10 of captain Jarome Iginla‘s heart and desire, the Flames would have a Norris contender on their hands.
Edmonton Oilers (4th Northeast Division, 14-15-3)
Where they are: After being a pleasant surprise for the first 1/4 of the season, the Oilers have cooled down to the point that they are like their provinical coutnerpart- on the edge of losing touch with the playoffs.
Where they expected to be: It was expected that they would be better than last year, but I don’t think a return to the playoffs was more than a pipe dream for this year. It was to be a learning year for some young talent who would grow together for a couple of years down the road.
CHRISTMAS WISH: The continued health of Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Injuries derailed Taylor Hall‘s rookie season last year, stealing his chance for a Calder Trophy. Injury appears to be the only thing capable of stopping RNH this year, which would be the first major trophy for an Oiler since Mark Messier‘s Hart Trophy in 1990. It would be a fantastic thing for a franchise that hasn’t had much to smile about in June lately.
Colorado Avalanche (15-17-1)
Where they are: Colorado has been a tough team to figure out. One night they look like world beaters, while others they look AHL-like. Those are the perils of youth and growing pains.
Where they expected to be: Like the Oilers, the Avs were supposed to use this as a development season, with the playoff still out of reach.
CHRISTMAS WISH: For Gabriel Landeskog to develop into the next Peter Forsberg. He came in billed as the most NHL ready prospect from the 2011 draft, but has been overshadowed by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins to the tune of 33 points to 14 over the first half.
Check out previous editions of Christmas wishes:
HERE’S HOPING THAT YOUR TEAM GETS WHAT IT WISHES FOR THIS CHRISTMAS!
Thanks for reading and as always, comments are welcomed.
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