There can't be much doubt that the Northwest has been, in recent years, ridiculously uncompetetive. The Canucks' back-to-back
Good evening, Wild pals.. spotted this article on the Puck Daddy Headlines today.. written by (I believe) a Flames fan. Now, ignoring the attention-grabbing headline and all.. I actually found a lot of merit in this article and thought it asks some interesting questions about next season (please, please, let there be a Season!). For anyone who doesn't already know, I should point out that I'm a Blackhawks fan.
It's basically been a cakewalk for the Nucks (the Wild dickslapping them a couple of times last year notwithstanding) . Coming from the uber-intense Central, where four of the five teams made the playoffs (god bless the Beej), it seems strange to not be in a position where all those TV-Friendly rivalry games at the end of the Regular Season don't actually mean that much.
I'm of the opinion (while I agree with almost all of the article) that things are about to change in the NW..
Vancouver, although still (on paper, at least) the most Stacked team in the Division, are kind of heading into a strange period.. I won't say "Rebuild" (yet) but the signs are there that the Sedins are maybe starting to creak a little, Bobby Lu is on his way out of town, Kesler is hurt (and maybe worse than reported), Bieksa and Burrows are still dickbags (not relevant, just have to add it) and they have.. I don't know.. lost some of their "Invincible" sheen?
I'd say they're vulnerable this year.. maybe to a team that has just added some Elite talent to a decent squad that is heavy on young, potentially excellent, players.. (no, not YOU Edmonton. Sit down.) The Wild have gotten (from the point of view of someone who wishes they were back in "Norris 2: This Time It's Personal") much, much stronger.. they have added, in Parise & Suter, players who would have looked at last year's injury crisis, shrugged their shoulders, and put the entire team on their backs (the way that Elite players like Toews, Kesler, Nash, Lidstrom, Selanne can do: no offence to Dany, but he's not that sort of player) With Granlund coming up to the Big Team, plus the continuing fruit of the Wild's careful horticulture of young players and a great goaltending tandem.... I see a formidable team playing in the Twin Cities.
I'll briefly mention that I think the Avs are going to be in-or-around the Playoff picture too.. they will likely benefit from the weakening of NSH, DET and StL (I think their burst while trapped in the orbit of Planet Hitchcock will not be sustainable.. regression to the Mean..(you guys may be familiar with that) and trust me, in St Louis, they KNOW from Mean..
So, to make my point, I see the Wild challenging very strongly and possibly winning the NW this year. And I would (as an outside observer) consider that a bloody good return for the massive outlay on Parise & Suter.. winning the Cup may be beyond the Minnesota team this year.. but that would be the perfect start, with so much talent percolating up, for a Cup Run in 2014..
Anyway, that's just what this dumbass Chicago fan thinks.. I did include a poll, though..