With every team but the Bruins at or past the official halfway point of the season, it's time to look back at the efforts of all 30 teams so far.
Rather than offer grades for each franchise, though, we're breaking each team down into learning groups. And as you'll see, (obstruction)-hooked on phonics hasn't worked as well for some as it has for others.
Remedial Work: Their overtime game, as the Ducks had the third-most post-regulation losses (seven) in the league.
Principal's Office: Ric Jackman, who was a minus-4 in his first game after the Ducks acquired him.
Remedial Work: Tony Amonte, currently on course for another relatively meager 14-goal season. The entire offense, which has averaged just 27.9 shots per game.
Principal's Office: Jeff Friesen, who just got his first goal of the campaign this past weekend.
Remedial Work: Adrian Aucoin, for his team-worst minus-10.
Principal's Office: The power play, which ranked dead last in the league at 11.4 percent; Hawks ownership, for another season of its contemptible no-home-games-on-TV policy.
Remedial Work: Milan Hejduk and his thoroughly underwhelming 26 points.
Principal's Office: Jose Theodore, for making more headlines holding Paris Hilton's hand than holding leads.
Remedial Work: Mediocre special teams; Adam Foote, who clearly is logging too much ice time.
Remedial Work: Matthew Barnaby, who, as a five-time healthy scratch this year, hasn't met even the modest hopes GM Doug Armstrong had when he signed him last summer.
Principal's Office: Patrik "Fish in a Barrel" Stefan.
Detroit Red Wings
Star Pupils: Nicklas Lidstrom, for whom consistency comes naturally; Dominik Hasek, for whom the "illegal handling of the puck" rule does not come naturally; Daniel Cleary, for finally realizing some of his potential.
Remedial Work: With just 33 points this season, Pavel Datsyuk is set for his worst offensive year since 2002-03. And though I'm not an NHLPA-accredited player agent, I feel safe saying that's no way to score a fat new contract this summer.
Principal's Office: The power play stinks and the whole league knows it. That fact, and not Detroit's lack of an enforcer, is why teams take liberties with the Wings.
Star Pupils: Petr Sykora, who willed and skilled himself out of the "whatever happened to ... " file; Ryan Smyth, who has five more goals than the next-best Oiler despite missing 10 games because of injury.
Remedial Work: Their league-worst 26.6 shots per game; Dwayne Roloson, for being ranked 19th in the league in three separate categories (wins, goals-against-average and save percentage).
Remedial Work: With five goals and 15 points, Craig Conroy hasn't made it easy for GM Dean Lombardi to deal him to a contender.
Principal's Office: Dan "D'oh!" Cloutier, who's given his detractors much to gloat over.
Remedial Work: When he returns from injury, expect Petteri Nummelin's minus-16 to improve or expect Jacques Lemaire to go medieval on him.
Principal's Office: Whoever's responsible for keeping Marian Gaborik in good health.
Star Pupils: Chris Mason's league-leading .928 save percentage; Steve Sullivan, Martin Erat, David Legwand, J.P. Dumont and Kimmo Timonen, all on pace for new career offensive highs.
Remedial Work: Jordin Tootoo's minus-10 sticks out like a sore thumb, especially when you consider only Darcy Hordichuk plays fewer minutes.
Principal's Office: Preds fans. Only 11,821 for a Jan. 9 home game against the Ducks? For shame, y'all.
Remedial Work: A 27th-ranked penalty kill and chief penalty-killer Dave Scatchard (minus-16 on the year).
Principal's Office: Remember Mike Morrison? The goalie who had a 0-3 record, 6.14 goals-against average and .790 save percentage? The Coyotes wish they didn't.
St. Louis Blues
Star Pupils: Rule No. 1 when you're last in the conference: there are no star pupils when you're last in the conference.
Remedial Work: Doug Weight, once a reliable 20-goal scorer who currently has four (and just about every other teammate of his).
Principal's Office: The league's worst offense, which has only averaged an anorexic 2.3 goals per game and just 13.2 percent efficiency on the power play.
Principal's Office: Mark Bell, on and off the ice.
Principal's Office: Their anemic offense; Dany Sabourin; Jan "I put the boo in" Bulis.
Remedial Work: Niko Kapanen, a minus-10 despite averaging only 10:51 a game.
Principal's Office: The marketing mastermind who decided the best way to promote the Thrashers was by focusing on revenge-based violence. You've got HossaChuk on your team, for Pete's sake!
Remedial Work: Tim Thomas, beer league goalie.
Principal's Office: "Raphael" Paul Mara. Only two goals and a minus-14 thus far? Nick Boynton's been injured most of the year in Phoenix, but the Coyotes still won that trade.
Star Pupils: Pretty much everybody.
Remedial Work: Pretty much nobody.
Principal's Office: Nobody, that is, but for Andrew Peters. Thirty-four games played, one assist, 55 penalty minutes and an average of four minutes per game so far. Thanks for comin' out, big fella.
Remedial Work: John Grahame, whose goals-against average (3.19) is worse than it was last year (3.06) when he was Tortorella'd out of Tampa.
Principal's Office: Hurricanes fans, because crowds of 13,000-14,000, even if they've only happened a couple of times, are inexcusable the year after your team wins the Stanley Cup.
Remedial Work: Alex Auld hasn't had much support from his teammates, but his sub-.900 save percentage isn't impressing anyone.
Principal's Office: Their post-regulation-time play, as they've lost more games (nine) than any other team; Their management structure (i.e. a single coach-GM combo), currently copied by no other team.
Remedial Work: A defense that allows 33.7 shots per game, second-worst in the NHL; Alexei Kovalev.
New Jersey Devils
Star Pupils: Martin Brodeur, still the best goalie on the planet; Patrik Elias and Brian Gionta, both back to their old selves after slow starts to the season; Zach Parise, who could more than double (and has already surpassed) the 14 goals he scored last season.
Principal's Office: Cam Janssen. Twenty-eight games played, zero points, 65 penalty minutes, one shot on net and an average of 4:10 per game. For more, see Peters, Andrew.
New York Islanders
Star Pupils: Jason Blake, for leading the Isles in goals and points; Mike Sillinger and Viktor Kozlov, for playing as good as, or better than, advertised; Chris Simon, Sean Hill and Radek Martinek, who've combined for an amazing plus-39.
Remedial Work: The power play, currently staggering along at a 15.1 percent clip, good for fifth-worst in the game; Alexei Yashin, as usual.
Remedial Work: Their play at even strength is well below the league average; so is the play of sophomore goalie Henrik Lundqvist (.899 save percentage).
Principal's Office: Adam Hall, the lone Blueshirts forward with a double-digits minus ranking (minus-13).
Star Pupils: Dany Heatley, for turning on the jets when injuries most threatened the team; Ray Emery, for turning on the jets when Martin Gerber most threatened the team; Tom Preissing, who leads the league with a plus-26.
Principal's Office: Also known as "Gerber's Place."
Star Pupils: Hardy-har-har. Just messin' with ya.
Remedial Work: Let's see ... their faceoff percentage (25th in the league), their shots-allowed per game (26th), their power play (28th), and their goals-allowed per game (30th). Other than that, everything is swell.
Principal's Office: Kyle Calder, the anti-Preissing (minus-26); Derian Hatcher, he of the single assist so far this year; Robert Esche, who at least is man enough to admit when he stinks; many others space doesn't allow us to list.
Remedial Work: How can you share the same ice with two of the best young players in the game and still be a minus-13? Ask Nils Ekman how he does it.
Principal's Office: The faceoff crew, which ranks dead last in the league at 46.8 percent efficiency; the artist formerly known as John LeClair.
Remedial Work: The goaltending, which was just as suspect as some of us suspected it'd be; Brad Richards, on pace for his worst offensive output in five years and a minus-10.
Principal's Office: Vinny Prospal, who coach John Tortorella would gladly trade today for a hamburger.
Toronto Maple Leafs
Star Pupils: Mats Sundin, who's showing how he might have dominated games under Pat Quinn, if only the former coach would've given him the minutes; Tomas Kaberle, still about as physical as a mild breeze, but much better positionally, and at the peak of his offensive game; Michael Peca, as good a lockdown artist as the Leafs have had in decades and the guy also chiefly responsible for a vastly-healthier dressing room vibe.
Remedial Work: Bryan McCabe, for looking like a world-beater one night, and an AHL rookie the next; Andrew Raycroft, who can't put a solid game together when the skaters can't score; Darcy Tucker, whose minus-13 takes some of the shine off of those 19 goals.
Star Pupils: Alexander Ovechkin and Alexander Semin, the biggest Russian Red Menace the locals have never heard of; Chris Clark, this year's Andy McDonald; Olie Kolzig, this year's Olie Kolzig.
Remedial Work: Their defense, which allows a league-worst 34.2 shots per game on average; backup goalie Brent Johnson, who has gotten worse as the season has gone on.
Principal's Office: Washingtonians in general, for their indifference toward the most charming superstar the city has had since Michael Jordan was a Wizard a few years back.
Material from The Hockey News.
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