A third of the way through the season and with the roster freeze already upon us, we've gotten to know the teams of the southeast division and their players and have watched their struggles and triumphs. Every team has its own personality. 'Tis the season to ascribe them through a few Christmas classics.
Take a look, tell us what you think and hand out your own comparisons in the comments below!
Tampa Bay Lightning: Jack Skellington
One game away from the Stanley Cup Finals just a few months ago, and now ranked 28th in the league on goals against, playing sub-.500 hockey and without a timetable on the return of right wing Martin St. Louis from his "scary" injury, the Lightning's 2011-12season has indeed been quite the Nightmare Before Christmas.The Florida Panthers: The Island of Misfit Toys
Brian Campbell, Tomas Fleischmann, Kris Versteeg, Matt Bradley, Marco Sturm, Scottie Upshall, Mikael Samuelsson... King Moonracer, er, Dale Tallon sure has done a fine job of assembling talents deemed expendable throughout the league. Now his spotted elephant,Charlie in a Box, square-wheeled Choo-Choo et. al. have united to take the lead in the Southeast and these 'misfits' are now rubbing elbows with the likes of the Flyers, Bruins, Rangers and Penguins.The Winnipeg Jets: Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer
Poor Jets: they had to go all the way to Winnipeg after Atlanta wouldn't let them play in anymore hockey games. After the rough start that everyone assumed was just the story line for the Jets' season, it seems the Jets are experiencing a bit of Christmas magic.Since the start of December, Winnipeg has righted its way through the storm and is now playing super-.500 hockey. And much to the delight of the good people of Winnipeg, the emergence of Evander Kane has made the Jets glow.The Washington Capitals: Frosty the Snowman
Built in fairytale fashion, everyone in Capsland has grown accustomed to the dazzling team that says 'catch me if you can' to the rest of the division throughout the regular season before melting away in the playoffs. But at 16-14-1 and currently in third withinthe SE, these Caps had better hurry on their way before they get thumpity thump thumped out of playoff contention.The Carolina Hurricanes: Charlie Brown's Christmas Tree
Even the Grinch, with his heart two sizes too small, would feel sorry for the Southeast's scrawny last place team whose futility in the crease has left them with a 29th ranked goals against average, 27th ranked power play and the 26th penalty killingunit. Good grief.