Because of the absolute wretched nature of the SE Division, The Washington Capitals on March 11th, with a full month remaining on the NHL schedule have clinched their division title. That's ****ing sad considering this...
At the start of the season, the Southeast Division was looking like they finally might stop being the laugher division of the NHL.
The Tampa Bay Lightning had selected Victor Hedman 2nd overall, who had favourable comparisons to Nik Lidstrom and was said to be a fantastic skater for a 6'6" player. They had signed Matthias Ohlund to mentor him and expanded their D in other ways. They had picked up Alex Tanguay for a cheap 2.5 million, looking for him to make a Flying Frenchmen connection with Martin St. Louis and Vincent Lecavalier who had just come off of surgery to fix his wrist problems. Steven Stamkos had ended his season strongly and had a good IIHF World Championships. It seemed like they had a solid lineup to contend, so much for that, 66 points in 66 games and 12 loser points in that total.
The Atlanta Thrashers were committed to the playoffs, 4th overall pick Evander Kane made the team, while Nik Antropov had been acquired to centre their superstar Ilya Kovalchuk, Maxim Afinogenov signed cheaply as a restoration project, Pavel Kubina to enhance their PP unit and Zach Bogosian looking to improve on his rookie stats and perhaps a rejuvanated Kari Lehtonen? Nope, 66 points in 66 games like Tampa, but with only 10 Loser points instead of 12.
The Carolina Hurricanes had fought a surprising campaign in the post-season to arrive in the Conference Finals last season, so they were considered a possible threat to at least not directly hand the Division Title to Washington. They went on one of the worst losing streaks in recent NHL history, lost their franchise men in Staal and Cam Ward for various amounts of time and Rod Brind'Amour seriously showed his age. The team was flat, uncompetitive and nothing like the feisty Hurricanes who had outworked their Quarter and Semi-Final opponents in the Playoffs. Despite a late surge, they stand on 64 points in 67 games, but have the fewest OT losses in their division at 8.
The Panthers, well nobody expected ****-all from them really, permanent Sunbelt loser squad and was supposed to be easy 4-point game for the rest of their divisional rivals. They've actually been fairly competitive and if not for the Booth hit by that **** Richards they could probably have at least 3 more wins in their column, 64 points in 65 games, but with Booth around who knows, maybe they'd be tied up with Boston for the 8th Playoff spot, but would still be 29 points behind Washington.
Worst Division in the NHL or what?