Our division is downright awful. That, my friends, is just the truth. If the division leader didn't occupy one of the top three spots in the Eastern Conference, the division leading team - currently the Winnipeg Jets - would be seeded 7th in the East. That's just one point ahead of the Panthers in 8th. The rest of the division? Well, we are not even currently near a playoff spot as of last night. The Washington Capitals are holding court at 10th, we're in 11th and Carolina is tied for last with the New York Islanders and Montreal Canadiens.
So, after Capitals owner Ted Leonsis admits his team played their worst game all season in their blow-out loss to the Hurricanes, the Jets jumped from being in 8th to 3rd (with 67 points) after their win over the Lightning last night, it's not a stretch to call the Southeast the worst division in the NHL.
So I asked my fellow Raw Charge writers:
In comparison to other divisions, why does the Southeast Division suck so much?
Our answers after the jump and you can weigh in with your theory in the comments
John Fontana - Managing Editor Raw Charge
The problem with the SE division is simple: stagnation.
The Washington Capitals were built and have been retooled for immediate contention and with pieces assumed to put the team over the top... And instead, the team has come apart because of it. The same can be said for the Carolina Hurricanes -- top level pieces were brought in for a team that wasn't quite stocked to make a push. The Former Thrashers are trying to make up for lack of talent by playing the trap. The Panthers? They're getting the most dividends from their last retooling, while the Lightning are in year two of a long term building process (evidenced by the sell off during the past week).
Of course, this is a annual rite of passage for the entire NHL, divisional suck, it's just that this season the Southeast Division is collectively at a low point, while another division (in the East's case, the Atlantic) is at a high point.
Matt Amos - Staff Writer / Don't Trade Vinny
Why does the Southeast suck so bad?
Well, that's obvious. Because it's the division Vinny Lecavalier plays in. Duh.
He makes too much, does nothing for the community, doesn't deserve the number 4 on his back, let alone the C on his chest, and just flat out sucks. So he makes the entire division worthless as a result. He's bad at talking to the media, and his name is hard to pronounce. Suck, suck, suck!!!
Cassie McClellan - Managing Editor Raw Charge
The Southeast Division is a sophisticated trap for the rest of the NHL - they just don't know it yet. But they will. Oh, yes. They will.
Clark Brooks - Staff Writer / Ridiculously inconsistent trickle of consciousness
I'd like to say it's cyclical but I don't think it's true. Certain divisions in all sports tend to develop distinctive characteristics that show up year after year until they ultimately define the teams in that division. Think of the Bears, Lions, Packers and Vikings in the NFL. Whatever the name of the division they play in actually is, it will always be referred to as "The Black & Blue Division". Unfortunately, the Southeast is identified with mediocre hockey, in spite of producing Stanley Cup champions. It's a stigma that is going to be tough to cast off and that's a big reason I say bring on realignment.
Clare Austin - Staff Writer
See, the problem is that the teams in the Southeast Division don’t win as many games as teams in other divisions.
All SE division teams are in the bottom half of the league in Shots For per game, in their five on five goal ratio, and in penalty kill percentage. None are in the top third of the league in power play %, face-off win % or Shots Against per game. None have a positive per game goal differential.
So this is kind of like saying it’s raining because water is falling from the sky. It’s probably more coincidence that all 5 teams are this bad at the same time.