The Playoff Pool has now been live for two days and trying to piece together your team this early is kind of silly, seeing as though there are only two teams that have clinched at this point in time. Unless you are going to be pressed for time, you shouldn't be thinking about drawing up your team at the moment. This morning, I will have a quick look at who is and isn't on the schedule for some Spring hockey, as of today.
The first team that was officially eliminated from playoff contention was the Columbus Blue Jackets, which happened over a week ago, but you could argue that it happened around the trade deadline, if not Christmas. The Jackets have been terrible this year, between coaching, injuries, goaltending and other miscellaneous reasons that we could only speculate about. Rick Nash has only seen four playoff games in his NHL career and he won't be seeing any more in 2012, since the Jackets are officially out and the team didn't see a deal that they liked to move him at the deadline for.
Next up on the elimination chopping block is the Edmonton Oilers, who only needs one more team in the Western Conference to to hit 85 points, which won't happen on Wednesday night, but it is really close to happening, likely this week.
In the East, Montreal, Long Island, Tampa Bay and Toronto are seemingly out of the race, but mathematically, they could still make some teams nervous, if a miracle was to magically descend upon them. Montreal still needs 7 points to be eliminated and is still poised to be the first team in the East to be eliminated, but that could still be next week before that happens officially.
The two teams that are officially in the playoffs today are the St. Louis Blues and the New York Rangers. The Blues officially clinched when they hit 100 points, while the Rangers just clinched the other night. The Pittsburgh Penguins are on the verge of clinching their playoff spot, as they need 1 point to clinch their spot in the dance or the Buffalo Sabres to lose in overtime (at worst) tonight against the Canadiens. In the West, the Canucks are the next team that could clinch, followed closely by the Nashville Predators, so things are happening.
The playoffs appear to be quite the crap shoot this season, but stay tuned to the blog for more info, as we draw closer to the date of puck drop.