Well, I don't pretend that I predicted the standings to look like what they are now, but I'm not surprised by many teams right now.
On your "impressing" list, only the Islanders are really impressing me. Atlanta and Toronto were hungry after missing the playoffs by a few points, and improved their weaknesses during the offseason.
Dallas was a good team last year and didn't change much. Anaheim, well, it's already been discussed...
Other than the Islanders, I was impressed with the strong Wild start. Changing so many faces during the offseason usually results in an early slump. Quite the opposite in the end... I hope Jacques Lemaire can get them back on track.
On your disappointing list, I consider Detroit and Colorado's small falling in the standings to be expected. Years of free spending politic will continue to heart them for some years in a cap system.
Pittsburgh, on the other end, really improved from last season. They're rather a good surprise than a bad one. It takes some time to turn a very young but immensely talented squad into a highly competitive team. They'll be there in a couple of years...
Ottawa's problems and Philadelphia's deep fall are more surprising, though it seems circonstancial for Ottawa. They've already lost a division title to the Leafs or the Bruins a couple years ago, only to be stronger the year after. Not to mention that if they're good in the playoffs, nobody will care if they entered the post-season 1st or 7th.
On other teams, Washington is also pleasantly surprising. And the overall tight race in the Eastern conference is really astonishing. Technically, only Florida and Philadelphia are below .500. Of course, the OTL point is a flaw here. Already 50 points have been awarded in OTL in the East, while only 33 in the West.
But, in the end, a less surprising year than last season, and that seems logical...
ducks suprised me...teams like ducks, sharks, predators, blue jackets, panthers etc.... always suprise me... i still don't consider them NHL Franchises...its just no, but don't hang me for hating...i just hate :s
1-Anaheim.What the hell??If you could have predict their first position in the NHL by december, i would have call you Copperfield.Giggy is outstanding
HA! you know what? right after carolina won the cup last year, i said hmm i wonder who would win next year...then i said Anaheim, they will win the cup next season! and that was before they traded for pronger! of course they are in *** first place! their defence is best in the league, they have solid goaltending, and some very good firepower up front. they are impressive, but it's no surprise to me!
2-NY Islanders.The team im used to laugh at is pillng up victory and is now first in their conference.....wow Yeah i picked these guys to run at the bottom of the league...i guess Ted Nolan is a way better coach than anyone ever knew! at least they did one thing right on the island by hiring him...
3-Toronto Leafs.Just two points behind the Habs,fighting for a playoff spot. Well i cant say im really surprised, they rolled the dice on raycroft, and its really paying off. and changing the coach is really helping too. you can see how maurice makes then shoot so much they score alot of goals, but now they loose 4 straight, so dont hold your breath...
4-Dallas I didnt expect them to make the playoff, and now they are very good this season well dallas has a solid team, Turco is their backbone, and he is very good! Modano who for some reason was stripped of his captany is a top tier player, and he continues to lead his team. surprisingly lindros has done not too bad for them, and has yet to be injured... and besides, they got ribs on their team to help them ouT
5-Atlanta.I tough the lost of Savard could have kill this team...but i was totally wrong.Kudo to the Thrashers!!! are you kidding? savard was a tool! this team is all about Hossa Kovalchuck and Lehtonen! if lehtonen was healthy all last season, they would have made the playoffs without a doubt! This is going to be one of the top goalies in the league, and i would not be surprised if they win their division this year!
Teams that dissapoint me the most.
1-Detroit.They are lucky to have good defence and Hasek in net, because offensivly, this team reak.Datsyuk and Zetterberg, where are ya guys??? yeah poooor detroit i knew that without yzerman and shanny, this team would dip. i had them placed mid to lower pack in the playoff race, nashville will take that division. they are lucky that their defense is so good, they make hasek job very easy!
2-Ottawa.At this pace, ottawa will not make the playoff....wow.Didnt predict that.Ltely they play well tho, maybe they will finally look like a championship team afterall. nop i really did not see them playing this bad, although they seem to have turned it around a bit. they should still scrape into the playoffs
3-Colorado.Well i didnt expect a lot from Colorado at the beginning of the season, and i was right.Colorado wont make the playoff.Mark my words. yeah with the high level of play in the western conference and espeacially in their division, i had them on the outside looking in...
4-Philadelphia.I expect them to not make the playoff this season, but i didnt expect them to suck that much.Wow... yeah who would have know that they just would suck THAT bad, i mean i knew their defense was slow and weak, but wow just wow, talk about not working in the new NHL..
5-Pittsburgh.With Crosby,Malkin,Fleury,Stall,Armstrong,Gonchar,Recch i, i expect this team to be way better.They had a good start, but they slow down recently. hey they are way better! im sure they are on pace for more wins than last year! but i did not expect them to make the playoffs, the team is still very young, and they have alot to learn!
MOST IMPRESSIVE: NY Islanders
Without a doubt the most improved team in the league.
I had no idea that Ted Nolan would have had this kind of impact so soon.
2 months ago they were the laughing stock of their division, now they're laughing at the top of their division.
LEAST IMPRESSIVE: PHI Flyers
the sophmore trio of Hamburger, Carter and Richards have pretty much vanished.
Nitty has been subpar.
Forsberg is nowhere near the level he should be.
Bottom line is that no team has taken a bigger nose dive in just one season like the Flyers have.
Toronto Maple Leafs
New Jersey (with Claude Julien, thought they would do well with him)
Pittsburgh: Watch out for them. Don't be fooled. They own.
Ottawa: They're playing pathetically for the team they have
Boston: I knew when they signed Chara they wouldn't do that well. Waste of $
Calgary: Where are they this season? honestly...
Vancouver: Expected them to be a solid 7th to 8th place team.(guaranteed playoff spot)
Philly: Cause they have horrible D
Colorado: Theodore is in nets.