Inside the Standings: Make It Stop

Inside the Standings: Make It Stop

You probably don't need me to tell you, but it's grim, folks. I'm not going to paint the scene today. There are the up-to-date standings on the right, and we can all see for ourselves how far out of the race the Phillies are.

So this is my latest proposal: a moratorium on all playoff talk. Stop it, Marcus Hayes. I don't want to hear about their slim chances right now, or how many games they have to win over the next two-and-a-half months. Even if they sweep the Rockies over the weekend, then take two of three from the Dodgers, just leave it alone. They're still way out.

Everybody is so obsessed with the Phillies making the playoffs, but in terms of a turnaround, why don't we try focusing on something a little bit smaller to start with. The team is 13 games below .500. I would like to see them at least get back to that mark before the season is over.

Enough of this 50-25 nonsense. If the Phils suddenly start winning at .667 clip for the rest of the month, we'll lift the ban, and entertain the notion they can pull off the impossible.

Frankly, I'll take 44-31 at this point. That puts them at 81-81 once everything is said and done, and more to the point, a .587 winning percentage falls more in line with a realistic projection over a full season. If they did that in 162 games next season, they would win 95.

Do it the rest of the way, and that should be enough to keep them from finishing in the cellar in the NL East. Maybe they can even jump as high as third.

And, no, this is not a call to give up on this season. If they can do better, that's great, and if they somehow wind up in the postseason, even better. Continuously setting the bar higher and higher is madness though. Next they'll tell us the Phillies can still make the playoffs... if they win out... the entire month of September.

Not to mention all of this playoff talk makes nothing of the fact that the front office could sell off important pieces of the clubhouse over the next couple of weeks.

At this point, I'd simply like to see some signs of life. There are problems with the current makeup of the roster, but a few of them can be fixed in the offseason. If the guys who are still going to be around next year can get healthy and start producing, that actually might be a sign of things to come -- if only for 2013.

Best of NHL: Ryan White scores in winning debut with Wild

Best of NHL: Ryan White scores in winning debut with Wild

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Mikael Granlund beat two defenders to find open ice and wrap the winning shot around goalie Jonathan Quick just 12 seconds into overtime, giving the Minnesota Wild a 5-4 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Monday night.

Granlund's 20th goal of the season gave goalie Devan Dubnyk his NHL-leading 33rd win and the Wild their 15th comeback victory. They answered all four goals in regulation by the Kings, from Nick Shore, Tanner Pearson, Jake Muzzin and Marian Gaborik.

Jason Zucker's spinning wrist shot midway through the third period tied the game for the Wild, who also had goals from Nino Niederreiter, Jordan Schroeder and Ryan White in his debut. White and Martin Hanzal were acquired in a trade with Arizona the night before (see full recap).

Kucherov's hat trick carries Lightning past Sens
TAMPA, Fla. -- Nikita Kucherov scored three power-play goals in the second period and the Tampa Bay Lightning kept their fading playoff hopes alive with a 5-1 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Monday night.

Kucherov had the second hat trick of his career and added an assist in the third period. Jonathan Drouin assisted all three of his goals and Victor Hedman assisted on two.

A day after trading goaltender Ben Bishop to Los Angeles and just hours after trading forward Brian Boyle to Toronto, the Lightning improved to 6-1-2 over their past nine games.

The Senators, who won at Florida on Sunday night, are 6-6 over their past 12 games (see full recap).

Galchenyuk lifts Canadiens over Devils in OT
NEWARK, N.J. -- Alex Galchenyuk scored on a power play at 2:54 of overtime and the Montreal Canadiens rallied from a two-goal third-period deficit to beat the New Jersey Devils 4-3 on Monday night.

Max Pacioretty scored twice in the final 11:23 of regulation to tie the game and Alexander Radulov added a goal for the Canadiens, who won consecutive games for the first time since early January. Al Montoya had 34 saves for Montreal.

Kyle Palmieri, John Moore and Travis Zajac scored for the Devils, who have lost four straight games (0-2-2), the past two in overtime. Cory Schneider made 29 saves.

Galchenyuk beat Schneider with a shot from between the circles less than a minute after Damon Severson was penalized for hooking (see full recap).

NHL Notes: Capitals acquire Kevin Shattenkirk from Blues

NHL Notes: Capitals acquire Kevin Shattenkirk from Blues

WASHINGTON -- The Washington Capitals have acquired defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk in a trade with the St. Louis Blues.

Washington sent a 2017 first-round pick, conditional 2018 second-round pick, forward Zach Sanford and minor leaguer Brad Malone to St. Louis in the deal that also sent former Capitals goaltending prospect Pheonix Copley to the Blues.

The teams announced the deal Monday night.

Shattenkirk, 28, is set to be an unrestricted free agent this summer. He has 42 points on 11 goals and 31 assists this season and has 66 goals and 218 assists in 471 NHL games (see full story).

Senators: Alex Burrows acquired from Canucks
VANCOUVER, British Columbia -- The Ottawa Senators are gearing up for a push to the postseason, acquiring forward Alex Burrows from Vancouver for prospect Jonathan Dahlen.

The trade gives the Senators a skilled pest with plenty of playoff experience at forward.

Burrows, 35, has played 822 regular-season games with the Canucks, with 193 goals, 191 assists and 1,066 penalty minutes. He has added 19 goals and 15 assists in 70 playoff games.

He had four straight seasons of at least 25 goals from 2008-09 to 2011-12 playing largely with the Sedin twins. His best offensive days are behind him -- he has nine goals in 55 games this season -- but he will still bring an edge to a Senators team that is pressuring Montreal for the top spot in the Atlantic Division (see full story).

Wild: Parise, Pominville out with mumps
ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota Wild forwards Zach Parise and Jason Pominville have been diagnosed with mumps and must miss at least three games.

The Wild announced Monday, shortly before faceoff against Los Angeles, that Parise and Pominville have the highly contagious virus along with other members of the organization. The veteran wings have been placed in isolation for a five-day period, meaning they'll at least miss games Tuesday at Winnipeg and Thursday at Columbus.

The Wild said players and staff were recently provided with a measles-mumps-rubella vaccination.

Vancouver played Saturday night without five players because of the mumps or symptoms associated with the virus.

With Parise and Pominville out, forwards Martin Hanzal and Ryan White made their well-timed debuts Monday after being acquired Sunday in a trade with Arizona.