February 20, 2013
The Blackhawks lead the first third of the season

Chicago Blackhawks' Marian Hossa (81) celebrates his goal against the Vancouver Canucks with teammate Jonathan Toews during the second period of their NHL hockey game in Chicago, Illinois, Feb. 19, 2013. (REUTERS/Jim Young)

MONTREAL - Veteran defenceman Josh Gorges pondered the question after a recent Montreal Canadiens game.

“Surprises from the first month of the season?” he was asked. His chin dropped to his chest as he lowered his head in thought.

“Chicago, are they still unbeaten?”

That pretty much sums up the way things have been for most NHLers in this jam-packed schedule. They haven’t had a chance to pick their heads up out of whatever fox hole they are in to see what’s going on elsewhere.

Everybody is too focused on what’s happening with their own team and coping with a schedule that has everybody playing every other night.

That’s why we’re here.

We’ve taken a look around the league after the schedule turned the one-month corner on Tuesday to see what we’ve learned about this unique season that is fast approaching its midway point (a third of this season’s 720-game schedule will have been played as of Thursday night).