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Jarome Iginla captains the Calgary Flames of the NHL's Northwest Division.
Of course, this would be in reference to the Northwest Division of years past, before the Minnesota Wild monopolized free agency, the Edmonton Oilers did the same to the draft, and the Vancouver Canucks were the only real challenge to play against of the five teams that used to look more like a deranged take on the Usual Suspects than legitimate National Hockey League competition. Last one to say, “Not it,” gets to be Stephen Baldwin.
Think about it:
1. Vancouver is Gabriel Byrne, the jail-hardened veteran with whom no one wants to mess…who doesn’t quite make it to the end of the movie.
2. Edmonton is Kevin Spacey, the cripple who ends up being the real threat (spoiler alert, sorry).
3. Colorado is Benicio Del Toro, whom, try as you might, you can’t really make sense of.
4. Calgary is Kevin Pollock, a comedian completely miscast in the role of a tough guy featuring nothing but stupid lines.
5. That leaves Baldwin as Minnesota (my apologies), a team, despite its best efforts, no one could ever take seriously and has only enjoyed slightly more success than its brother franchise, the Columbus Blue Jackets (Daniel Baldwin).
As it stands now, Montreal finds itself in the Northeast where each of the four other teams has a better shot at making the playoffs. And, needless to say, no one of the current six NHL divisions has ever seen all of its five teams make the postseason.
Boston? You can hand the Bruins their ticket in right now.
Buffalo? The Sabres have a much better team than the first half of their season last year would indicate.
Toronto? Before the team’s free fall during the second half of last season, the Maple Leafs were right there and perhaps deserved a better fate.
Ottawa? The Senators may not be as good as last year’s post-season berth may suggest, but they did make it and that’s more than can be said for the Habs.
So, one way Montreal gets in is through the bending of the space-time continuum and the Habs find themselves in the Northwest Division of last year in the place of its easternmost-team, the Wild.
After all, just like Baldwin, Montreal has undeniably delivered “B” season after “B” season ever since its last championship in the mid-'90s.