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Western Conference Notebook (Jan. 6)

Thursday, 01.6.2011 / 5:21 PM CT / Features
By Jay Levin  - Nashville Predators
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Western Conference Notebook (Jan. 6)
The Holiday Season has passed and the calendar has moved into the 2011 portion of this season's schedule. As most teams move toward the midpoint of the schedule -- every team has played at least 38 games and four Western Conference teams have already played its 41st game of the season -- I figured it is time to take a stab at some mid-season All-Division Teams for the Central, Pacific, and Northwest.

Plenty of very worthy players were left out, so if you disagree with the selections shoot us a message with your choices.

Between now and the end of the season, opions will likely change -- there's a lot of the season left. But let the debates begin....


Central Division
Forwards: Rick Nash (CBJ), Patrick Sharp (CHI), Henrik Zetterberg (DET)
Defensemen: Nicklas Lidstrom (DET), Ryan Suter (NSH)
Goaltender: Jaroslav Halak (STL)
Top Rookie: Alex Pietrangelo (D, STL)

A loaded crop of defensemen to select from. Shea Weber may very well earn an All-Star Game invitation, Duncan Keith is the reigning Norris Trophy winner, etc. At the end of the day, Lidstrom has been outstanding (top three among NHL defensemen in goals, assists, and points while being, well, Nick Lidstrom on defense) and the difference in the Predators team play with and without Suter was eye-opening while he was injured earlier in the season. Nashville has the Western Conference's stingiest defense, so a strong case could be made for a Preds goaltender (and both Pekka Rinne and Anders Lindback have been impressive). 



Northwest Division
Forwards: Matt Duchene (COL), Daniel Sedin (VAN), Henrik Sedin (VAN)
Defensemen: Brent Burns (MIN), Ryan Whitney (EDM)
Goaltender: Roberto Luongo (VAN)
Top Rookie: Taylor Hall (F, EDM)

If not for an injury, Colorado forward Chris Stewart would have been in; Stewart had 11 goals and 25 points in 23 games before being sidelined. And Jarome Iginla could just as easily earn a spot at forward. It was tough to keep defenseman John-Michael Liles (Colorado) out, but just look at what Burns and Whitney have accomplished. Fellow Edmonton rookie Jordan Eberle is stride-for-stride with Hall.



Pacific Division
Forwards: Anze Kopitar (LA), Corey Perry (ANA), Brad Richards (DAL)
Defensemen: Toni Lydman (ANA), Keith Yandle (PHX)
Goaltender: Jonathan Quick (LA)
Top Rookie: Logan Couture (F, SJ)

Jon Quick or Jonas Hiller in net; tough to make a call -- Hiller's done an admirable job behind a banged-up (and very young) defensive corps and his 19 wins are second in the NHL. Maybe I should change my mind again? And some other real interesting options on defense. Dan Boyle in San Jose and Lubomir Visnovski in Anaheim could easily be included and LA's Drew Doughty was a Norris Trophy Finalist last season. But Yandle leads his team in scoring (playing over 24 minutes a game) and Lydman leads the Western Conference with a +21 plus/minus rating (and like Hiller has done it with a young banged up Ducks d-corps).
SMASHVILLE CENTRAL

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STANDINGS
 

WESTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 z - DAL 82 50 23 9 267 230 109
2 x - STL 82 49 24 9 224 201 107
3 x - CHI 82 47 26 9 235 209 103
4 y - ANA 82 46 25 11 218 192 103
5 x - LAK 82 48 28 6 225 195 102
6 x - SJS 82 46 30 6 241 210 98
7 x - NSH 82 41 27 14 228 215 96
8 x - MIN 82 38 33 11 216 206 87
9 COL 82 39 39 4 216 240 82
10 ARI 82 35 39 8 209 245 78
11 WPG 82 35 39 8 215 239 78
12 CGY 82 35 40 7 231 260 77
13 VAN 82 31 38 13 191 243 75
14 EDM 82 31 43 8 203 245 70

STATS

2015-2016 PLAYOFFS
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
S. Weber 7 2 3 -2 5
C. Wilson 7 2 3 2 5
J. Neal 7 2 1 0 3
R. Johansen 7 1 2 1 3
F. Forsberg 7 1 2 -2 3
R. Josi 7 0 3 -1 3
M. Ekholm 7 2 0 1 2
C. Smith 5 1 1 3 2
R. Ellis 7 0 2 1 2
M. Salomaki 7 1 0 1 1
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Rinne 4 3 0 .915 2.45