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Southeast Division - Tightest in the League? Written by Carl O'Linacanes - January 21st, 2009

After a slow start by most of the southeastern teams, four of the five have managed to squeeze into the top 8 in the East, and thereby are fully in the playoff picture. With Lightning only 4 points out, is there a remote possibility that all 5 Southeast division teams make it to the playoffs?

It's a tight race at the moment for the first place in the Southeast. Carolina has temporarily taken the sole lead as they squeezed out a win in a game that Capitals mostly controlled. Only 4 points separate #1 Carolina, and #4 Atlanta, so every single game has huge ramifications on the internal standings.

Atlanta Thrashers recently acquired the league's dumbest twins. Luckily for Thrashers, it's hockey skills that matter, and not the potential to understand a research thesis. The Atlanta GM should see their production steadily increase. With Nagy gone after this season, and Kolzig getting up there in years, is this the year they make a push to go deep in the playoffs, or will they be sellers at the trade deadline? Difficult decisions await the GM, but right now, they're competing with the best.

Carolina Hurricanes started out the worst of all the Southeastern but after a few trades, things started picking up, and now they have managed to get on top. Led by veterans Jagr and Sullivan, the team that couldn't score in any situation is now lighting it up regularly. With a healthy dose of relative youth and 4 first round draft picks in the upcoming draft, the future looks alright despite the prospect of Jagr leaving this summer. There are faint rumors that Jagr might be coming back despite all, but that remains to be seen. This team is hungry NOW.

Florida Panthers is as stacked a team as any other in the league. Their roster should by all reasonable assumptions rock the East, but for some reason, it isn't quite clicking. Their leftwingers are the best in the league with Bertuzzi, Nash, Morrow, and Sergei Kostitsyn. With Evgeni Malkin centering the first line, this team should be almost unstoppable, but somehow it hasn't quite worked out that way. Is the ice tilted too much to the left? Is there dissent and malcontention in the locker room? Whatever it is, watch out for this team once they figure out what's wrong!

After an incredible summer, Lightning was looking to extend the coming season into June of 2009. Something went wrong, however, and the success turned into relative failure. Grizzled veteran Brind'Amour is holding up his end of the bargain, but where are the others? Will this team get it together, or will Brind'Amour get a new home at the deadline?

Capitals are led by veteran Doug Weight, and they have a nice mixture from top to bottom of young talent and solid veterans alike. On the horizon is Devin Setoguchi, who should by all right become a star in this league one day. The only large questionmark they have is in net. Can Munro carry them in the playoffs, or will he be lit up by the league's best?


Submit A Comment -

Interesting article. I am constantly surprised at how tight the Eastern Conference is this season. Washington has been a force, but Munro is playing way over his head. We'll see how long that lasts.

Written By: habsfan93 (2009-01-22 07:36:50)

The Lightning took steps today to make sure they are indeed a force in the second half of the season.  The fact that we have hung around so far this season should be making other Southeast Division GMs very nervous.

Great article by the way.  I especially like the indepth description of the Doublewit Twins!

Written By: Dave (2009-01-22 20:20:02)

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