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 Central Division, where a pair of Senator castoff goaltenders are making some noise:
Chicago Blackhawks (1st in Central Division, 21-9-4)
Where they are: On top of the league. The Hawks sit in first place overall, a point up on Boston and Minnesota
Where they expected to be: A year removed from a Stanley Cup, they still have the core that would be expected to be at or near the top of the standings.
CHRISTMAS WISH: From afar, I would wish for the continued success of Ray Emery. I still feel he got a bit of a raw deal from the Senators, and his perseverence since that time earns my best wishes. He has taken control of the Chicago net and has proven himself to be a quality goaltender once again.
Detroit Red Wings (2nd in Central Division, 21-10-1)
Where they are: Sitting 4th in the conference, the Wings are in a dogfight in their own division with the Central owning half of the current playoff spots. Only Boston has a greater goal differential than Detroit’s +36, and they have done it without typical production from Henrik Zetterberg or Pavel Datsyuk early on in the season.
Where they expected to be: Right where they are, if not higher. Success in Hockeytown USA is expected and not hoped for.
CHRISTMAS WISH: Another Norris for Nicklas. If Nick Lidstrom can win the award for top defenseman, it would be his 8th and tie him with Bobby Orr for the most in NHL history. At 41, Lidstrom looks like he could play until he is 50, but the time is running out.
St. Louis Blues (3rd in Central Division, 19-9-4)
Where they are: Way ahead of where many thought they would be, the Blues are in the mix for top spot in the Conference and the NHL. Riding the hot goaltending of former Senator Brian Elliott, the Blues have been a revelation under new coach Ken Hitchcock.
Where they expected to be: Heading into the season, the Blues and their fans would have been satisfied by squeaking into the playoffs as a 7 or 8 seed.
CHRISTMAS WISH: Success and good health for David Perron. After more than a year battling post-concussion syndrome, Perron finally made his comeback this season and the power forward has put up a point per game in his 7 games. He is a leader in St. Louis and the team is way better off with him in the lineup.
Nashville Predators (4th in Central Division, 17-12-4)
Where they are: Scrapping for the 7th or 8th playoff spot, beginning to lose touch with the top 6.
Where they expected to be: After last year’s playoff run, they would have expected to build on that and be a playoff sureity.
CHRISTMAS WISH: Signed long-term contracts for both Shea Weber and Ryan Suter in Music City. It in unsure whether there is enough money for both, but in a perfect world the duo would stick together to finish what they have started to build as Predators.
Columbus Blue Jackets (5th in Central Division, 15-17-1)
Where they are: At the bottom of a pit and not showing any signs of getting out any time soon.
Where they expected to be: With the addition of a top flight centre (Jeff Carter) to play with captain Rick Nash, and spending money on James Wisniewski, the Blue Jackets hoped to be in playoff contention
CHRISTMAS WISH: Nail Yakupov. The Blue Jackets aren’t going anywhere this season, and netting the top prospect in the draft would be a good step in finally making some noise.
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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