GWMHL

Biggest Midseason Surprises of 2011-12

In DEN, EDH, IHS, NAS, News, SCA, Special Features, STE on January 30, 2012 at 12:38 pm

We’re halfway through our season. So what’s been raising our eyebrows?

As a Rule, Eagles are Pretty Badass

The Sterling Eagles have missed the playoffs four seasons in a row. But after 40 games, they’re second overall in the entire league with a stellar 23-12-5 record, and even managed to steal five points on the road against division rival Salem. They’re getting help where it counts, like unheralded winger Nikolai Kulemin, who already has 22 goals. Previous career high? Eight.

Backups Earning Their Keep

The Eagles’ Tim Thomas has the numbers (1.88, .939) but backup Johan Hedberg is winning more games. His record is 12-6-0 to Thomas’ 11-6-5. Likewise, the Ice Harbor Storm’s Alex Auld (.914) and Jonathan Bernier (.933) are busy overshadowing the “starting tandem” of Mathieu Garon (.885) and J-S Giguere (.874).

Pick One Already!

The Storm aren’t the only one with a menagerie of netminders in a pen out back. Five goalies have seen action for the Nashville Knights already this season: Sergei Bobrovsky (17 games), Cory Schneider (16), Ray Emery (3), Brian Boucher (3), and Mike Smith (1). That’s two rookies backed up by three vets, and the elevator pitch for an ensemble basic-cable sitcom.

Ovie-Shadowed

Alex Ovechkin is not leading the El Dorado Lynx in points. That’s kind of remarkable. The Lynx are okay – still in good playoff position at the halfway point, actually – thanks largely to the ageless Teemu Selanne, who has 18 goals and 45 points to Ovie’s 20 and 41.

Giddy-Up?

The Denver Spurs offense could use a swift, spiky kick in the rear. They don’t have the lowest GF, but let’s break it down: they’re deep up the middle and shallow on the wings, and that means they’re leaving lots of goals on the table. Mike Richards and Daniel Briere each have just 18 points in 40 games. Joffrey Lupul is their top scorer but has the lowest point total (28) of any team leader league-wide. Oh, also, he’s nursing an injury that could see him miss significant time.

Head of the Class

The top five draft picks (Skinner, Hall, Seguin, Eberle, and Stepan) are all playing pretty well, but they’re trailing in the rookie scoring race to an unlikely gaggle (herd? colony? murder?) of youngsters: South Carolina’s Tyler Ennis, Nashville’s PK Subban, Ice Harbor’s Mikael Backlund, and Baltimore’s Michael Grabner.

Brett Freaking Clark

Subban isn’t just the second highest scoring freshman so far. He also leads all defensemen in goals with 13, which might just make him the leading rookie-of-the-year candidate at this point. But that’s not even the most surprising development on Nashville’s blueline: Brett freaking Clark already has 10 goals, people. That’s just crazy.

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  1. BRETT FREAKING CLARK, PEOPLE. #brettfreakingclark

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