It’s been commonplace the last few seasons to name the Atlantic Division as the strongest in the NHL with the Boston Bruins, Toronto Maple Leafs and Tampa Bay Lightning at the top of the standings with deep, elite and talented rosters. This was borne out last season when the Lightning ended up hoisting the Stanley Cup last fall after eliminating the Bruins in the second round of the playoffs, and it’s the case again this year in the realigned NHL.
The Bruins, Leafs and Lightning are all respectively leading their division with the B’s sitting at 20 points in the East Division, the defending champ Lightning leading the Central with 19 points and the Leafs holding a dominant lead in the Canadian North Division with 23 points thus far this season. The Panthers and the Habs are second place teams in the Central and North Divisions respectively as well, to continue the theme of dominance for “the old Atlantic.”
Nobody knows what’s going to happen beyond this season, and whether the Atlantic Division will be reformed exactly the same following the 2021 NHL season. But Bruce Cassidy said it’s been good to see the Bruins’ fiercest division rivals seeing all kinds of success this season.
“I think it tells that in our division there are three really good teams and there have been for a while,” said Bruce Cassidy. “And they are going to continue to get better. Everybody looks at Toronto and sees a young team on the rise. Tampa right down the middle built for right now. And us, I think people thought we were going the other way, but we’re out there just trying to play our game every night and collect points.
“I’m actually…I don’t what the right word would be…happy…because I think it’s a tough division and a legit division. So, I think it’s good to see everybody doing well even if there’s a certain animosity with those teams. That’s more when we play them and that’s not going to happen this year until the playoffs. We’ve got different challenges this year, but good for the old Atlantic teams.”
With the Atlantic Division dominating the NHL standings right now, let’s move on to the puck links:
*Larry Brooks seems to be seeing it as the sunny side of the street for a New York Rangers team defense that would be dead last in the East Division were it not for postponements with the Sabres and Devils. The Rangers have been a dud thus far. (New York Post)
*Some really interesting thoughts on the Boston Bruins’ Perfection Line and their face-off plays in the offensive zone that set up a ton of their goals. Kudos to FOH (Friend of Haggs) Elliotte Friedman for contacting UVM’s head coach for his insights. (Sportsnet)
*Matt Grzelcyk is out of the lineup again for the Boston Bruins with his troublesome lower body injury, which means that it’s time for Cliffy Hockey against the New York Rangers on Friday night. (Boston Hockey Now)
*This is an old article, but you have to appreciate any compilation of John Tortorella meltdowns overt the years. (Sports Illustrated)
*Will the new Pittsburgh Penguins management group make the big trade to blow things up with the Pens nucleus? It’s a fascinating question. (Pittsburgh Hockey Now)
*Certainly, it seems FOH Darren Dreger doesn’t think it’s impossible that Sid the Kid could eventually get moved by the Penguins if they miss the playoffs this year.
Possible Lil Cros and The Dogg collab in the future? pic.twitter.com/2amBXY9y0B
— Spittin’ Chiclets (@spittinchiclets) February 12, 2021
*Speaking of Sidney Crosby, I really wasn’t prepared for Sidney Laine. Yikes.
Sidney Laine pic.twitter.com/4i1cBf9fgn
— Matty Go Sens (@Gerv_Rebrand) February 12, 2021
*If you haven’t yet purchased any tickets, please consider getting some 50/50 tickets to raise money for fallen Bishop Feehan hockey player AJ Quetta. The Bruins Foundation has raised $150,000 and counting for the 50/50 raffle at this point. (Boston Bruins)
*USA Today has their winners and losers from the first month of the NHL season, and as you might suspect the Boston Bruins are winners, and the Vancouver Canucks are big time losers. (USA Today)
*For something completely different: It’s a spooky, spooky Halloween episode of WandaVision that is setting things up for a big finale. (Rolling Stone)