Today we’re going to talk about the greasy thumbs, the silent heroes, the wildcards, the fat around the waist. Not good enough to be top tier (their thumbs slip from the grease) but not bad enough to be considered shitters. These rosters bat a consistent .500-.600, all the while having a good time, respecting the game, and playing with dignity. They have jobs and lives, but they still have pride in what they do. Let’s go over the teams just barely hanging on to a wildcard spot, and those trying to get their shit together to fight for one. We’ll break down their results so far, and what they need to change up to have a chance at making the ‘loffs. Grandpa is off his meds, my dudes. East Coast Devils (7th) Devils are middle of the road in every stat, while being above average in their special teams. They have the depth, and the veteran presence to be a playoff team. This isn’t a team of superstars, but it’s a team of no weak links - true Greasy Thumbs. They have a bit more chemistry to build on their third line, but ownership should be proud of this virtual hockey team they’ve assembled. Outlook: Assuming no bad luck, the Devils shouldn’t have a problem securing a playoff spot. Panthers (8th) This team runs hot and cold more often than a faucet. Overall their stats don’t look great, below average in hits, TOA, GD, SD, and a very poor power play and penalty kill. They have a decent top line (no superstars) that can beat the best of them, but a very inconsistent 2nd and 3rd line, where blowouts aren’t uncommon. Outlook: Entire lines need to be traded here to stay in the race. I’m doubtful that will happen before the deadline. Bruins (9th) The bruins are about as close to a Greasy Thumb bunch as you can get. These boys live for the grind. With three 2nd lines, they were built with the playoffs in mind. Unfortunately, they lost a lot of close games in the first several weeks due to offensive luck. Combine that with some poor availability, and roster switch-ups, and we can see why they’re sitting just barely outside the wildcard spot. Outlook: They’ve proven they can play team defense. They should consider trading a high-value defender for a sniper for their 2nd line to stay competitive offensively with a team like the Devils. Islanders (10th) 2nd in the league for hits, the top hitting defenseman in the league, and 3rd in penalties - the islanders are a rag-tag, greasy ass bunch that we love to root for, That grit, combined with some decent offensive power gives them potential, but that’s where the optimism ends. This team has been plagued by quitters, waivers, and other shenanigans. The stats are against them - poor goal differential, poor power play, poor time on attack, and low shot differential. Outlook: They’re going to have to dig deep and hit a hot streak, combined with making some upgrades on forward to stand a chance against the better contenders like the Bruins and Devils. West Coast Sharks (8th) Management made some bets here on dropping 18M on 3 players. Seemed reasonable at the start of the season given the players and owners. It’s working out for them so far, just barely staying in the playoff race thanks to the power of their 1st line. It’s going to be hard though. This team needs depth, and they need it now. I’d package up SchroyDaddy and some picks for a winger and defender who could add some depth. Outlook: Although currently defending a playoff spot, I think the few teams chasing them are likely to steal this spot, unless they fix their 2nd and 3rd line depth issues. Canucks (9th) If there was ever more evidence that Canucks is cursed, it’s this season's roster. This team has been cursed since season 2, but this season things looked hopeful - roster looked great on paper...But the curse seems to be eating them up. Word on the street, it’s a combination of bad luck, fancy play, and team availability. With the 3rd worst shot differential in the league and 10th worst in hits, these boys aren’t true greasers at heart. I’m not sure they’ll have what it takes to keep the Knights or Oilers at bay for the wildcard spot, even with trades. This team needs a culture overhaul - play with grit, hit, use your point, show up for games, act like you’re still in it, start playing as a team and try to win games. Outlook: The curse is real, doesn’t look good here. Golden Knights (10th) Fucking grind time. These boys are the definition of greasers. Out there every game, playing the game the way it should be. They hit, they cycle, they have good special teams. I think a little injection of offensive talent, replacing 1-2 forwards in the 2-3M range who are under-performing could be just what this team needs. Outlook: Rooting for them. If they play their potential and make a few trades, they should be Golden. Oilers (11th) Good ownership, some good veteran pieces, looks OK on paper, but ultimately the team is producing at a level of two 2nd lines and one ECU line. They’re unremarkable in every stat category. I’d look to package up a good winger that isn’t playing as good as their salary and some defense,,to get a 3rd line D-pairing + an OK winger. Outlook: I want to root for these Oily, greasy boys, but unless a trade happens, I’m not sure this group has what it takes. Flames (12th) Familiar faces with dirty Kleetus and the boys. They have talent here and chemistry. You know these boys get on early to play warm-ups, you can tell on the PP, where they’re 3rd in the league. The problem is they play a game off the rush and haven’t adapted to this year's slower game of keep-away and creative zone entry. With the 3rd worst TOA, the boys have to show some poise to even stand a chance. I’m not sure they can trade their way out of this team problem, they’ll have to dig deep as a group. Outlook: If this team was in the East they would’ve been mathematically eliminated in week two.