Much like baseball, the NHL has installed its All-Star break after the middle of the season. You get why, as you wouldn’t schedule the All-Star game on Super Bowl weekend or during the NFL playoffs (though the NHL All-Star game probably makes for a better pregame show to The Big Tilt than the actual pregame show. I guess the Canadiens wouldn’t want to give up that slot thought). Much like baseball doesn’t want to put it’s All-Star game anywhere near the 4th of July. So whatever. It’s a nice marker either way.
So where are the Hawks? Well, in some ways this is the earliest the Hawks have been entrenched in their spot, aside from when they didn’t lose for half a season in 2013. The Hawks only sit four points behind the Wild, but have played three games more, and if the Wild win even one of those they’re going to be awfully hard to catch with how things work. Even if they fell off a bit, Dubnyk is going to get them into overtime just enough to prevent complete collapse. On the other side, the Predators are nine points behind, and even with their two games in hand that’s a massive gap. They’re not getting caught.
You know what’s weird? In the Q era, the Hawks have only finished second in the division once. And that was Q’s first year, when it was a conference system and that really meant being fourth in the conference. Since then it’s been 1st, 3rd, 4th, 1st, 3rd, 3rd, and 3rd last year. Just a note for all of you there.