We understand not every corner of SportsNation is paying close attention to hockey, but for those not versed in the world of frozen pucks, consider two scenarios from competing sports. First, imagine a football world where the Lions and Rams held down potential playoff spots at midseason. Second, imagine the NBA if the Nets and Timberwolves hit the All-Star break in the postseason mix.

Now imagine that 79 percent of voters said that wasn't the biggest playoff story.

Such is life in the NHL these days, where the Avalanche and Coyotes -- teams SportsNation ranked Nos. 28 and 30, respectively, when the season began -- would make the playoffs if they started today. And where the Red Wings would not.

Granted, the defending Western Conference champions have 50 games to make up two points in the standings, but could you really hold the playoffs without them?

Joseph (Bethesda)

What is your top 5 teams today?

Barry Melrose
Barry Melrose

Pittsburgh, San Jose, Chicago, New Jersey and Detroit. The Red Wings aren't in the playoffs right now, but they are a good team and can get things going pretty quick. Full transcript

matt (detroit)

Am i wrong not to be worried about the wings? Chances are they'll be healthy going into the playoffs. Yeah we are missing a lot of scoring (Hossa, hudler, samuelsson) from last year but we won the cup without hossa two years ago and have always found a way in the playoffs to find secondary scoring.

Pierre LeBrun
Pierre LeBrun

Spoke with Ken Holland [Nov. 28]. he just hopes they can hang in there around the bubble until all his injured guys come back in January/February and then they can make a run. Makes sense to me. Full transcript

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