Who's on Top?
Take this with a heaping dose of rock salt, but check out your division leaders 5 or 6 games into the season:
That, combined with the middling-to-bad starts of some of last year's powerhouse teams (the Red Wings, Bruins, and Sharks), might indicate some league-wide parity this season. Of course, we're dealing with just a few games so far, and nobody has dug themselves too deep of a hole to dig out of (with the possible exception of the Leafs).
This biggest surprise so far are teams that were expected to be terrible this year, like Colorado and Tampa Bay and Phoenix, are actually playing pretty well. This puts pressure on everybody else in their respective divisions, because it's hard to really pile up the points without a punching bag in your division. Remember the good ol' days of the early and mid-aughts, Wings fans, with patsies like the Predators, Blues, and Hawks appearing regularly in your schedule?
Anyway, this might just be an outlier stretch of a couple weeks where things look hopeful for the have-nots, and scary for the haves, before things settle out. But it seems to be making a more competitive league. And I imagine the kinds of hard decisions that the elite teams need to make in a flat salary cap era are having an effect on their ability to maintain consistency from year to year.