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Posted at 12:00 PM ET, 01/ 4/2011

"Southleast" no more

By Ryan Cooper

A few notes:

-- Tonight’s Caps matchup against Tampa Bay is a chance for everyone to look at how much the so-called “Southleast” Division has improved. If the playoffs started today, three Southeast teams would make the playoffs. Carolina (-4) and Tampa (-1) are the only teams in the division that have a negative goal differential. Compare that to Buffalo, Ottawa, and Toronto, who are a combined -63. The two worst teams in the league right now are in the Atlantic Division (Islanders and Devils). Every single team in the Southeast Division is over .500. In head-to-head matchups with the other divisions in the Eastern Conference, every single team in the Southeast Division is at .500 or above.

-- What’s even more incredible is that the only team with a lower payroll than the Thrashers are the Islanders. The only two teams in the Division that aren’t in the bottom 10 are the Caps and the Hurricanes (who are at number 11).

-- Tampa Bay just got a lot scarier with the addition of Dwayne Roloson. I know he’s a thousand years old, but he’s a million times better than what they had there before with Mike Smith and Diamond Dan Ellis. Would you want to play them in the postseason? I sure wouldn’t.

-- Every single team in the Southeast Division has more points in their current spot than any team in the same position in the Northeast Division. Can we start calling them the “Northleast” please?

-- I felt like the best line on the ice Saturday was the Beagle/Steckel/Hendricks line. I love how they established their forecheck and kept the Pens bottled up in their zone. It felt like whenever they were out there, they tipped the ice.

-- Speaking of tipping the ice, I’d like to direct you here for some wonderful insight on some of the coaching adjustments the Caps have made recently. Great stuff.

-- Finally, I hope the Caps can get their heads back together from all the hoopla this weekend and come out firing. The alternative is what happened to Team USA last night in the World Juniors, who came out flat and got blown out of the building.

By Ryan Cooper  | January 4, 2011; 12:00 PM ET
Categories:  Capitals, Ryan Cooper  | Tags:  Capitals, Ryan Cooper  
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