Jun 1, 2014; Chicago, IL, USA; Chicago Blackhawks players watch and react as the Los Angeles Kings players celebrate after game seven of the Western Conference Final of the 2014 Stanley Cup Playoffs at United Center. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
With the NHL season just about over (Kings lead the Rangers 3-0 in the Stanley Cup Finals), we at Blackhawk up decided to say goodbye to Central Division this year. The best way to say goodbye to a dead season is to give a eulogy. So here is our eulogy for the Central Division:
Winnipeg Jets 37-35-10:
Song Playing: Steve Miller Band “the Joker”
The Jets faithful are mourning the loss of another tragic season. We had to jettison Claude Noel after going 19-23-5. The Jets did find their coach of the future in Paul Maurice. The Jets do not have a top pick in this year’s draft and are not set at key positions including goalie. Ondrej Pavelec was bad and Al Montoya was not much better. Not all was bad with the Jets, Blake Wheeler had a career best (28 goals and 41 assists) and so did Brian Little ( 23 goals and 41 assists). Now if they can only find out what do with Evander Kane and Devin Setoguchi? We now lay the Jets 2013-2014 season to rest.
Nashville Predators 38-32-12:
Song Playing: Third eye Blind “How’s it going to be”
The Predators season was over this year before it really began. They lost Pekka Rinne very early and never recovered. The Preds tried riding Carter Hutton, Devan Dubynk, and Mark Mazanec in place of Rinne. All three were huge disappointments. The season was put to rest when the Preds traded their franchise player David Legwand to the Red Wings. It was not all gloom and doom for the Preds. Shea Weber had another excellent season and Seth Jones debut season was a success. Nashville concluded their disappointing season with firing Barry Trotz. “ How’s it going to be when the Preds do not know Trotz, when he’s not there. How’s it going to be”.
Dallas Stars 40-31-11:
Lost Conference quarter-finals (4-2) vs. the Anaheim Ducks.
Song Playing: Fun: “ It’s Gets Better”
The Dallas Stars arrived one year ahead of schedule. Their rise was due to the play of Tyler Seguin, Jamie Benn, and Kari Lehtonen. Seguin excelled in his first season out of Boston. They made the playoffs for the first time since 2009. People are finally hopeful in Dallas, but it was not all good in Dallas. Rich Peverly collapsed during a game and had to be taken to the hospital. He had to have a heart procedure and miss the rest of the season. The Stars had leads on the Ducks in the playoffs but could not hold them. This year was good but can they get better next year.
Minnesota Wild 43-27-12:
Won Conference Quarter Finals (4-3) vs. Colorado Avalanche
Lost Conference Semi-Finals (4-2) vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Song Playing: Linkin Park: “ Shadow of the Day”
The Wild played extremely well this season, getting great play from their Stars Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. The difference in the Wild team compared to last season was their depth. Jason Pominville, Mikko Koivu, and Nino Niederreiter had good supporting seasons. The Wilds down fall this year was lack of consistent goalie. The Wild played with Niklas Backstrom, Darcy Kuemper, Josh Harding, and Ilya Bryzgalov play in the net this season. Harding was great but then his MS couldn’t be kept in check. Kuemper played well against Colorado and then got hurt. Bryzgalov was himself, erratic. The Wild gave the Blackhawks a better series but could not overcome the Blackhawks talent.
Chicago Blackhawks 46-21-15:
Lost Conference Finals (4-3) vs. LA Kings
Won Conference Semi-Finals (4-2) vs. Minnesota Wild
Won Conference Quarter-Finals (4-2) vs. St. Louis Blues
Song Playing: Toby Keith “As Good As I once Was”
The Blackhawks had the shortest offseason in NHL history, they had 10 players sent to the Olympics, and played in an EPIC stadium series game. Jonathan Toews, Patrick Kane, Duncan Keith, and Patrick Sharp had great regular seasons. The Blackhawks fell one goal short of the Stanley Cup Finals for the second straight year. The Blackhawks looked tired and did not have the depth they had in previous seasons. Their trades for Kris Versteeg and Peter Regin did not produce the results they were hoping for.
St. Louis Blues 52-23-7:
Lost Conference quarter-finals (4-2) vs. Chicago Blackhawks
Song Playing: Lit “ Miserable”
This was the Blues year, they paced the NHL for the most of the year. Alex Steen, David Backes, and T.J. Oshie had great regular seasons. The Blues went it for it all at the deadline acquiring Ryan Miller. Ryan Miller started off well for the Blues. As the playoffs rolled around, he started struggled. In the playoffs Miller struggled mightily. The Blues had a 2-0 lead against the Blackhawks in their first round playoff series. The Blues lost their last four games in a row. Miller played so bad that the Blues opted to resign his backup Brian Elliot.
Colorado Avalanche 52-22-8
Lost Conference quarter-finals (4-3) vs. Minnesota Wild
Song Playing: Nikki Minaj “ Starship”
The Avalanche were the biggest surprise in the NHL this season. They went from a last place team in 2012-2013 to the best team in the Western Conference during the regular season. The main cogs in their turnaround was Patrick Roy. Roy got his young talented to not be afraid of anyone. Matt Duchene emerged as an elite NHL player and Nathan MacKinnon is a player to be feared for years to come. Roy also got the most out of Semyon Varlamov. Varalmov went from one of the worst goalie in the NHL to one of the best in one season. The Avalanche might have risen to power to soon as they could not stop the upstart Wild. The 2013-14 season might be the start of something great for the Avalanche.
This lays to rest the Central Division for the 2013-14 season. There is always next year.
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