OTH: Break Time's Over

Hello, and welcome back to Central Divided! With the holidays, my wedding and the fact that’s it’s literally colder in Chicago than on parts of Mars, I may have temporarily forgotten about the fact that I run a website… sorry about that.

So, let’s dive right into the post-All-Star rankings. No more distractions. No more excuses. We’ll only talk hockey from this point on, starting right now. I promise there will be no more wedding talk. Here are your Central Division Rankings:

1) Nashville Predators: (30-18-4)

Why is wedding food so expensive? Can you remember what you actually ate at the last wedding you attended? Don’t lie, you don’t. The food doesn’t matter! Wedding food’s only role is to fill our gut enough that you don’t die of alcohol poisoning from the open bar. I wanted Chipotle to cater my wedding, but nooooo… apparently, that would have ruined Someone’s big day.

Upcoming Games: @FLA, DAL, ARI, DAL

What’s Gonna Happen: There is no way this team should do worse than 3-0-1 in the next four games. Naturally, Nashville will drop two of the home games. 

2) Winnipeg Jets: (31-16-2)

Hosting our wedding in January really spooked some folks. “Oh, it might snow, the roads might be bad!” What losers. The losers ended up being right. It snowed. A lot. I think those people who worried so much about it actually willed it into existence. You know, like The Secret, but with the weather. Jokes on you though, I didn’t have to drive in it and our pictures look amazing.

Upcoming Games: CBJ, ANA, SJ, @MTL

What’s Gonna Happen: Winnipeg’s homework for the second half of the season? More of your shots, less of theirs. The Jets are allowing nearly 33 shots a game, 26th in the league, while only averaging 32 themselves, which ranks at 13th. Block a shot or two guys, Jeez.

3) Minnesota Wild: (26-21-3)

(Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

(Nhat V. Meyer/Bay Area News Group)

There was a great moment when our poor DJ was accosted by a wedding guest to play a request. The guest was someone I worked with in the past and I’ve seen her bring a 6’5’’ 300 pound man to tears with a sentence, so I was a tad bit concerned for our DJ’s mental well-being as he kept telling her no, you cannot change the music that the couple spent 4 hours curating and almost ended their relationship over. The kid stood his ground! I was very impressed. Make sure to tip those people extra, folks.

Upcoming Games:  @DAL, CHI, @BUF, EDM

What’s Gonna Happen: Minnesota inked backup Alex Stalock to a 2.35 million dollar, three-year deal. Stalock’s 6-5 on the year with a .894 save percentage. This feels like a deal Paul Fenton made because he’s stuck in the polar vortex. 

4) Dallas Stars: (24-21-4)

Pro Tip: Don’t bar crawl from 11 am to 8 pm and then eat dinner at the fanciest restaurant in town. The staff can tell when you're 14 beers in when you roll up in a hoodie and an Elmer Fudd Hat. I almost went full Blues Brothers and bought the women in the family next to us. My wife fell asleep in her steak. This was day two of our marriage.

Upcoming Games: BUF, MIN, @NSH, ARI

What to Expect: Dallas technically has the 1st Wild Card spot in the west, but there are seven teams currently between 52 points (where Dallas stands) and 49 points. This includes Edmonton, the only team that has managed to have a weirder year than the Stars. The West is coming for you, boys. Better not play like F&^#ing Horse$!%+.    

5) Colorado Avalanche: (22-20-8)

I was lucky to spend a lot of time with my Dad before my wedding. I stayed in his hotel room the night before and spent most of the day of hanging out with him. During that time, sitting with the man who has taught me most about life, we watched Gunsmoke. That’s literally all we did. When I did finally see something in color that day, my eyes nearly melted out of my skull.

Upcoming Games: VAN, CBJ, @WSH

What’s Gonna Happen:  Since the start of December, The Avs have gone 7-17. 7-17 and they’re still in a Wild Card spot! The West is crazy this year. 

6) St. Louis Blues (22-22-5)

My fearless co-host, Zack McCann, drove 11 freaking hours to get to my wedding, because he’s the best. He drove through three states and through rain, sleet, and snow to share in the Masters’ big day. To repay him for his generosity, my mother-in-law called his team’s lack of cups out in her speech to our guests and I screamed Chelsea Dagger in his face. Love ya, Bud.

 Upcoming Games: @CBJ, @FLA, @TBL NSH

 What’s Gonna Happen: Look at that Schedule… Better put Ryan O’Riley’s All-Star Game highlights on loop for the next week. 

7) Chicago Blackhawks: (18-24-9)

In a couple of weeks, I’m heading to Iceland for our honeymoon. I did quite a bit of research on the country and discovered that Gunner Stahl is not actually a hockey player from Iceland. In fact, the country doesn’t have much hockey history at all. It seems the only real fact from D2: The Mighty Ducks comes from Iceland’s medical trainer, who (surprise!) is also not from Iceland. “Greenland is covered in ice (for now) and Iceland is covered in green.” As of publication, the current temperature in Reykjavik is 25 degrees Fahrenheit. In Chicago? -24. Whoo! Beach Vacation!! 

Upcoming Games: @BUF, @MIN, @EDM VAN

What’s Gonna Happen: Chicago is tied with the Ducks for the most overtime loss points in the league (9) thus far. This team can’t even lose right. Make like Sherman and Abrams and T.A.N.K!