If there was ever a division in NHL hockey that perfectly exemplified the North American stereotype of Russian players, it’s the Southeast Division,
“He’s an Enigma!”
The Southeast is the division that everyone underhandedly makes fun of. Call it a bit of sibling cruelty, but a lot of it stems from the “Why can’t out team be in that division” thoughts of fans. Historically, and for the purpose of the post, we’ll look at the Southeast from ’99 on, the division has produced a lot of top teams, but these teams have been 1 offs who never quite reach that plateau again. Take for example the fact that the division has had 2 Stanley Cup victories since ’99. The Carolina Hurricanes and the Tampa Bay Lightning.
While the teams have great individual players, they never compete on a consistent basis. This years standings speak to that point perfectly. Only 1 team finished in playoff contention this year, and 6 out of 14 possible seasons it has only been 1 team. Those other 8 seasons? 2 teams. The Capitals won the division title this year, which is only impressive because that marks their 7th Division title in 14 years. That should probably tell you a little something about the consistent compete level of the Southeast division. When 1 team has as many Divisional Titles as the 4 other teams in the division combined you know there’s a little problem.
Flip that over and compare it to other divisions, and we’ll take the Northeast, because we’re a Senators blog, and things get a little weird. The Northeast Division, while finishing with 3 of 5 teams in the playoffs more often than not (11/14) has only 1 Stanley Cup Champion coming from the division in the same time frame as the 2 from the Southeast. It’s a less competitive division that produces more Stanley Cup Champion teams.
I’m telling you, it’s an enigma. It’s the division that hits a crazy hot streak, and then fades. It lets Washington have its championships in a mediocre division and then a team blazes forward on an unholy hot streak and takes home the big prize.
In fan circles, you’re known as the South-Least Division, and we’re going to miss you and your obligatory playoff spot. We’re going to miss you Southeast Division, but not that much, because now we can watch Pavel Datsyuk on a regular basis.