2010 Playoffs – A Tight Race
Eat your heart out NHL, you have a league full of competitors. In case you haven’t examined the standings lately, the Western Conference is as cut throat as I can remember. With anywhere between 50 and 54 games played by Western teams, there is really only one team that we can “officially” label as out of contention – Edmonton.
The top-8 is the ultimate goal, so let’s look at how close things are between several teams and that final berth.
8. Calgary – 58 points
9. Detroit – 58 points
10. Anaheim – 55 points
11. Dallas – 55 points
12. Minnesota – 54 points
13. St. Louis – 52 points
14. Columbus – 49 points
15. Edmonton – 38 points.
As I mentioned before, it is probably safe to scratch out the Oilers. That leave seven squads competing for the last spot. Of course, the 1-7 seeds might change, but examining the basement of the conference really places the high level of competition in perspective.
Parity across the board seems to be at an all-time high. The Blues are just six points out, but likely don’t deserve to be knocking at the playoffs door given their overall mediocre play for a majority of this 2009-10 season.
Tonight, the Blues square off with 8th place Calgary and have a perfect opportunity to close some ground in a very crowded playoff picture. This ridiculously tight race only makes games such as Saturday’s Anaheim disaster that much more difficult. Sure, the Note secured a point but they also gave an opponent that is above them in the standings points they did not deserve.
Do I honestly think the Blues are a playoff bound team? No, I don’t. However, the playoff picture is still very much alive – given the Blues clamp down on their mistakes and are able to stop giving conference foes points. With so many teams to surpass and points needed to secure a foothold in the playoffs, the Blues inconsistency will likely keep them out this season.
Of course, they could prove me wrong and I certainly hope that they do.