The 2011-2012 NHL season has been promising so far and many of the power house clubs are atop their respective conferences as expected. One of the biggest stories of this season has been Sydney Crosby, the captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins. He missed his first 20 games of the season due to symptoms from a concussion which he suffered previously. Upon his return to the ice on November 21 his mark on the team was undeniable. In 8 games played, Crosby recorded 12 points but unfortunately for the Penguins the concussion side effects returned and Sydney decided it would be wise for him to take a leave from the game until he feels that he is physically ready to comeback to the ice.
March 15th marked the day of Crosby’s return to the team and his presence alone proved to be one of the biggest market changers in the NHL. Prior to his return last week the Penguins were +500 to win the EC and +1100 for the SC. The picture is quite different now with the new numbers standing at +175 for the EC and +450 for the SC. Talk about a player being an apparent MVP candidate without even playing for much of the season.
Now when you want to talk about the conference as a whole the biggest topic is the Rangers, Penguins and Flyers. These three behemoths are gunning for first place in the Atlantic Division and are literally within one or two games separating the three. Given the way they are steamrolling thought the competition it might be a safe bet to make at $2.90 on either one of the Big Three to make it to the SC Finals.
With a little more than a week left to play in the regular season let’s see what the star players can do for their teams come playoff time and which one of these clubs will be able to prove that they deserved to be in the top of the standings throughout most of the season.