Silver Nuggets: Upper Echelon

Alfie trying to take some of Crosby's life force, presumably. - Justin K. Aller

WIth five teams remaining in the playoffs right now, you are certainly starting to see some familiar names. In a league that has been proud of its parity in recent years, these teams represent that next level.

Los Angeles Kings. Boston Bruins. Chicago Blackhawks. Pittsburgh Penguins. Detroit Red Wings.

The class of the NHL. The five remaining teams. The last five Stanley Cup Winners.

Since the (first) lockout, the NHL has been a league of relative parity. With the institution of the salary cap, teams couldn't do what the Rangers and Leafs of old used to, in terms of signing every free agent to outrageous deals. It was much harder to put together an all-star team (though nobody has told Ray Shero this).

While Bryan Murray (and most general managers) is fond of saying you just need to be in the playoffs to be a contender, because anything can happen, this year may be proving differently. These five teams represent the toast of the league, a definite cut above. Can they be beaten in a seven game series by an opponent not mentioned above? Sure, the Bruins were taken to seven games (and the absolute brink) by the Leafs, and the LA Kings won an extremely tight series against the Sharks in seven games.

But there are no surprises among the remaining teams, except for maybe this year's incarnation of the Wings. These are teams who have been there recently, won, and are back, and not by fluke. They've all done it differently of course. The Wings have arguably the best coach in the world, the Kings were patient and built a good team that was made great through trades, the Bruins built a core through smart free agent signings and some good trades, the Blackhawks drafted three superstars for their core and players flocked to play with them. The Penguins won a lottery and people flocked to them.

These teams represent the true elite of the NHL, the true contenders. What do the Ottawa Senators need to do to get there? I'm interested to hear your thoughts.

Sens Links

  • A hilarious and stinging roast of the Sens, and no its obviously not Berkshire's. [SSS]
  • Summer school as the large number of Senators rookies look to improve in the offseason. [SE]
  • What was left behind on locker clear-out day! [RBM]
  • Daniel Alfredsson announces his retirement, so he can take up professional shirtless ping pong. [6thSens]
  • As mentioned in the last Nuggets, the team needs scoring. Bryan Murray agrees. [SE]
  • Hilarious article from Chet Sellers on who the Sens could target. While this is a satire piece, it kinda reminds me of HF Boards. Also the comments are gold. [RBM]
  • Roundtable of Death tackles the end of the season. [WTYKY]
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