NHL 2011-2012: The Keys to Success for 4 Upstart Contenders This Season

November 25th, 2011 by Mark Jones Leave a reply »
After the opening months of every NHL season, the pecking order among teams is never quite the way it was expected to be. Past dynasties fall off the map, while upstart contenders replace them at the top. The hockey world takes a little while to re-adjust, and then the season grinds along like usual as crunch time approaches.

The 2011-2012 season has been no different. A few unanticipated changes have been made to the league's caste system, leaving the predictions of experts a little outdated. But soon, these surprising playoff challengers will have established an identity in their conference's top eight, and the NHL will get back to its normal business.

Two stylistically opposite clubs highlight the list of surprises so far—the Minnesota Wild and Florida Panthers. However, one thing does tie them together: neither one has made the postseason in quite a long time.

In fact, their rises within the standings have been phenomenal, as the Wild have moved up a remarkable 12 spots from last year while the Panthers have improved a whopping 14 spots. They're not alone in the group of upstart conten ...

Read Full Article at Bleacher Report - NHL
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