By current conference standings: Pittsburgh: Surprise! For the sole reason that the team played amazing hockey without Malkin and Crosby. Staal elevated his game tremendously and now that Malkin and Crosby are back, it is a shame to see Staal again pushed back and used as a checking forward. Probably one of the best checking forwards, but nonetheless, not going to get as many points. Florida: MAJOR Surprise! Many expected a long wait for a brand new team to find chemistry and settle in, and even execute Dineen's game plan. But these guys have one of the best first lines in the league right now. Versteeg has found a home and is proving many people wrong, who thought he was just a third liner. So far everything seems to work, and even with some injuries the team manages to pull through. The PP is amazing. The defense has been stellar. It is still a young season and there is a lot more to prove, but so far Tallon looks like a genius. Boston: I would say neither. Such a terrible start and now they are the hottest team in the league. They are back in form. Which means, if they are back in form, why are the Nucks not? Seguin is lighting it up, but second half is a big test for the youngster. Philadelphia: Surprised. I thought the changes would backfire, but they are still a very good team. The offense is still putting up lots of points, Jagr seems rejuvenated. The defense, i think, is their biggest strength. Goaltending? Mediocre. But, they are making it work. Toronto: Surprised. If Optimus Reim was playing, this team would be battling for first place with the Pens and Panthers. I don't see how Kessel will stop scoring. He is just putting plenty in and when you see him not score a goal in a game or two and the team playing lousy then you think that the team is back to reality. Yet, they end up winning great games and Kessel still putting up points. This is fantastic for Toronto and they are hoping that they can ride out the storm with Gustavsson and Scrivens. So far it's going fairly well, but if Reimer will be out for a longer period of time, Burke has got to have at least a trade in mind because you DON'T want to lose points for poor goaltending. Washington: Disappointment. McPhee will have to make a decision. Trade Semin, or fire Bruce. It does not even matter anymore if this team loses nine in a row, and then wins 10 in a row and gets first place. They got swept last season. SWEPT. Ovechkin looks like a different player and there is obvious tension in that locker room. They should be in a much better seeding. Buffalo: Disappointment. I am not sure how this team is not in the top four spots in the EC. So far things are not working as smoothly. Miller has had a poor start. Enroth is definitely not going to make Miller expendable, as some rumor mongers thought last season. It is a very good team on paper, all across the board. Should be so much better. NY-Rangers: Disappointment. I know, it is odd that i say that despite their last 10 games. But, if you watched every one of those 10 games you would know that only once did they really dominate a game. Their PP is dreadful and the coaching staff is to blame. There is no excuse to have a piss poor PP with a goal scorer, one of the league's best play makers, and other players that are good in scoring goals from around the net. The Rangers got their asses kicked by Montreal. They got their asses kicked last night in Florida, and if it was not for Lundqvist, who is having an amazing season so far, the 2-1 loss would have looked more like 4-1...5-1. Players are not scoring enough on this team. How much more can Torts ask from Sather? He needed a back-up. He got Biron. He needed a goal scorer. He got Gaborik. He needed a playmaker. He got Richards. How much more will this guy want? Where does it end in terms of....realizing that the coaching is failing? The record is fine for the Rangers, but their game play has been very unimpressive and it is scary because they can only steal so many wins. If things don't turn around for the Rangers, expect a losing pattern and problems coming out of NY. NJ: Disappointed. I thought this team was going to fly to start the season. I still think it is a quality team and DeBoer is the right coach to bring back Devils hockey. They are not playing too badly, but I thought this team was going to come back big time after last season. Montreal: Disappointing. Seems like a .500 team that does not have the ability to pull through. They have a very talented line-up, but overall it is not good hockey. A very bad start to the season, and now it seems like a passive cruise control playing .500 hockey. Ottawa: Surprise. I thought this was going to be the worst team in the league from Game 1 to Game 82. They are not playing too badly despite their roster looking very poorly skilled. I still think they will finish last in the league, if not the conference. But, so far they are proving me wrong. TB: Disappointing. A very talented first two lines. A good defense, and yet....they are just .500. Goaltending is a major issue that needs to be addressed. This team is losing points due to the goaltending, but it is also disappointing to see the team as a whole underachieve with such talent. Winnipeg: Disappointing. I thought this team moving to a new area with excitement and energy would push them as overachievers. When Wellwood is your team point leader then it raises concerns regarding the rest of the team. Carolina: Disappointment. The offseason moves have no worked out as well. Eric Staal is looking depressed (guilty for his brother's injury?), and the team looks disconnected. Firing Maurice the solution? No. He can't play for Staal. He did not make the off-season changes either. Too easy to blame the coach on this one. The team could be better if Staal was putting up a point a game, but that is no one's control. NY Islanders: Disappointing. I thought they would be at least better this season to the point where Tavares woud be among the league leaders. He is not. The team looks like it is having consistency and work ethic issues. Unacceptable. It is a young team. They should be doing better than 15th in the East. Is it also about time that Nabokov gets traded (once healthy)? End this silliness, Snow.