With every team but the Bruins at or past the official halfway point of the season, it's time to take a 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.
Click HERE to read the Eastern grades.
Star Pupils: Chris Pronger, for being his dominant self. Teemu Selanne, for proving last year was no fluke. J-S Giguere, for proving last year was a fluke.
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.
Star Pupils: The one-man wrecking crew named Jarome Iginla; Miikka Kiprusoff, the West's best goalie.
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, still looking for his first goal of the campaign.
Star Pupils: Martin Havlat; Nikolai Khabibulin; Denis Savard.
Remedial Work: Adrian Aucoin, for his team-worst -10.
Principal's Office: The power play, which ranked dead last in the league at 11.4 per cent; Hawks ownership, for another year of its contemptible no-home-games-on-TV policy.
Star Pupils: Â“Old FaithfulÂ” Joe Sakic; Peter Budaj, for making Avs fans (almost) forget about the league's most expensive former MVP backup goalie.
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.
Star Pupils: David Vyborny and Ron Hainsey, both on pace for career offensive seasons.
Remedial Work: Mediocre special teams; Adam Foote, who clearly is logging too much ice time.
Principal's Office: Anson Carter and Nik Zherdev, because $4.25 million in combined salaries should get you more than 14 goals and 38 points in combined offense. Much more.
Star Pupils: Philippe Boucher, for first-rate play in the face of personal heartbreak; Marty Turco, for another stellar season. Make that, stellar regular season.
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 Â“Fish In A BarrelÂ” Stefan.
Star Pupils: Nicklas Lidstrom, for whom consistency comes naturally; Dominik Hasek, for whom the Â“illegal handling of the puckÂ” 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 Â“whatever happened to?Â” 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).
Principal's Office: Joffrey Lupul and Shawn Horcoff, who have combined for 18 goals, 41 points and a whopping minus-26 this year, all at the more whopping price tag of $5.1 million.
Star Pupils: Alex Frolov and Anze Kopitar, both for their imagination on offense; Mike Cammalleri and Lubomir Visnovsky, both on pace for career bests in goals and points.
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 Â“D'oh!Â” Cloutier, who's given his detractors much to gloat over.
Star Pupils: The eternally-overlooked Brian Rolston; Mikko Koivu, Shootout Wizard.
Remedial Work: When he returns from injury, expect Petteri Nummelin's minus-16 rating 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.
Star Pupils: Yanic Perreault, all-but-forgotten after a productive year with the Predators; Mikael Tellqvist, whose upside was all-but-forgotten after a few clunkers in Toronto.
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.
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 per cent efficiency on the power play.
Star Pupils: Milan Michalek, only four points away from establishing a new personal best in points; Goalies Evgeni Nabokov and Vesa Toskala, for sharing and winning alike.
Remedial Work: Youngsters Matt Carle and Steve Bernier, who burned out and faded away to find their game in the American League.
Principal's Office: Mark Bell, on and off the ice.
Star Pupils: The Sedin twins, still set to break career-highs in points; Roberto Luongo and Willie Mitchell, for justifying GM Dave Nonis' summer.
Remedial Work: Markus Naslund, on course for his worst offensive production in a decade; Brendan Morrison and his minus-11.
Principal's Office: Their anemic offense; Dany Sabourin; Jan Â“I Put The Boo InÂ” Bulis.
Check back Friday for the Eastern grades
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