A light dusting of snow is covering most of the country and the Advent lights are on in houses, whilst Christmas decorations fill every shop - it can mean only one thing - December is here and that means it is time for the November review here in the SHL.
And after seven (!) straight wins, Luleå Hockey have returned to the position they last occupied at the end of last season - first place in the SHL. And with a team that has not changed dramatically from last year, it is the same formula that is producing results - don't let in any goals, and just do enough to win. It is therefore no surprise that keeper, Joel Lassinantti, heads up the netminder league with an awesomely low 1.55 GAA and an incredibly high 93.28 SVS%.
So don't expect a high scoring game if you're thinking of visiting the COOP Arena this year. Their only have one player in the top 25 points scorers this season - 19 year old Nils Lundqvist - and he's only scored 4 goals. Not that the 2018 New York Rangers drafted defenseman will be upset by that - it is already his highest scoring season in the SHL where, despite his age, he has already played nearly 100 games.
Behind the Norrbotten club are four teams, in descending order; Frölunda Indians, Färjestad BK, Örebro HK and HV71 making a group of five clubs only separated by seven points.
The top three on Total Points, in fact, play for the clubs in second and third place - that is Färjestad's undrafted pairing of Marcus Nilsson (6G+18A) and Michael Lindqvist (10G+12A) and the Indians' diminutive American, Ryan Lasch (6G+16A) who also has never been drafted in the NHL.
Worthy of mention is Örebro HK, who have never been in this upper eschalon of the SHL until a recent great run of form. It is worth mentioning their trio of top scorers who no-one would have guessed would be in this position after about half the regular season has been played. They are in 8th place on Total Points, Mattias Brome (7G+12A), in 13th place Sakari Salminen (7G+11A) and 16th place, Shane Harper (8G+8A). The team only lost 3 times in November - two of which were against teams currently above them in the table.
From 6th to 10th place are a collection of clubs separated by 8 points, whilst the bottom four teams are separated by just four. That should give some hope to Leksand IF and IK Oskarshamn, the two teams that have come up from the Allsvenskan, but now sit in the bottom two rungs of the table with 20 points each. There is still a chance to crawl up and over those other teams, including 12th place Linköping HC, who seem unable to find any kind of form, winning just 5 games all year and find themselves very close to the relegation playoff places, with just 21 points this season.