When I got into the office Monday evening, I stopped to chat with a co-worker about the struggles of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Five hours later...
I kid. It would take much more than five hours to discuss all that's wrong with the Penguins.
But the conversation steered toward the standings. We decided we're rooting for the Bruins, Capitals and Devils - the latter two being among our most-hated opponents - to keep winning. Here's why.
Boston is the class of the East. Thirteen points clear of No. 2 Washington. No one will catch the B's. The Caps have a 13-point lead in their division. No one will catch the C's. The Devils' Atlantic Division lead over the Flyers is smaller, just five, but in relation to the Penguins, it's bigger, at 14 points. Pittsburgh won't catch the D's.
So in that sense, it's better for us to hope those three teams win each and every night, in regulation (except when they play the Penguins), just to deal crushing defeats to the teams Pittsburgh is chasing in the standings, of which there are a lot.
This strategy can work for fans of the Wild as well, who are currently in the top eight. I'd advise rooting for the Sharks, Red Wings, and yes, even the Flames, to keep producing points - at least in conference games.
Calgary's lead over Minnesota isn't insurmountable - nine points - but in those division games when Calgary plays Vancouver or Edmonton, both of whom are hot on Minnesota's tail, the Flames winning in regulation (side note: I hate having to specify that; is it time to do away with points and go with wins and losses?) is the best result.
Or even in the non-division games. The Flames travel to Anaheim Wednesday. The Ducks are two points ahead of the Wild, though they've played four more games. But do you root for the hated division rival or the team whose coattails you're currently riding?
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to order my #9 Parise sweater, a Jose Theodore bobblehead and a case of Sam Adams.