Random late-night thoughts

No in-depth stats tonight, just a few scattered thoughts after having watched the Ducks wallop the Stars 4-1:

1. What a traffic jam in the Northwest, where only 2 points separate the 5 teams, and only Calgary would even qualify as a playoff team in the East at this point. It may not be the best division in the NHL, but it sure will be fun to watch down the stretch...

2. Where did all this talk of expanding the goal net come from? Hockey fans don't need more goals, they need more up-and-down action, which is what the post-lockout NHL is delivering. I'd say keep things as they are for a couple more years before making any more big changes. The only minor change I'd recommend is to take another swipe at reducing goaltending equipment, but that's probably a pretty minor effect.

3. James Mirtle points us over to an automated tool for voting Rory Fitzpatrick into the All-Star Game. While I think the campaign is great, this aspect is troubling. It could turn the whole vote into a mess (it should be easily copyable for other candidates), and the NHL would likely be able to solve this to a large extent by limiting votes to one-per-day, requiring some kind of verification. Besides, this just erodes the whole "grassroots internet movement" angle that made it so fun.

4. Nashville now owns the best home ice record in the league (9-1-3), the 4th best offense in Goals Per Game, a talented (albeit young) defense, and is getting great goaltending, even while Tomas Vokoun has been on the shelf. All this adds up to loads of pressure on Barry Trotz to take this team deep into the playoffs this spring.

5. How dominant is Anaheim thus far? Check out the rankings in Goal Differential (Goals For/Game minus Goals Against/Game), and see that the Ducks' +1.31 mark is a far stretch ahead of 2nd place San Jose at +0.88. Also interesting to note is that while all the individual scoring leaders appear to be in the East, 5 of the Top 6 teams in Goal Differential are in the West...

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