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Wednesday, March 29, 2006 

NHL Power Rankings

1 Detroit
When I did these power rankings at the start of March, I had the best road team ranked behind Dallas, but said they would be the team to beat in the West for sure. Since that time they have done nothing to disappoint, and appear to be the team to beat in the entire league now.

2 Dallas
Turco turned his season around, and the Stars shot to the top of the standings. 2 teams stand out in the West, and the rest are just fighting to see who will bow to these powers the latest. The others just don't match up.

3 Ottawa
Ottawa, Buffalo, Carolina and the Rangers appeared to all be strong contenders in the East. In the last few weeks, however, the other 3 dominant teams in the east have come down to Earth. While the Sens have gone 7-1-2, the other 3 have combined for only 12 wins in their last 30 games. For the first time in history there are positive signs for Sens fans heading into the playoffs. This could just be their year to lose to a Western conference team instead of the norm.

4 Carolina
It hurt to put Carolina in the #1 spot last time, and their recent record is more than I needed to put an end to that. 3 wins in their last 9 games, too many injuries, and absolutely no output from Recchi since acquiring him at the deadline are a bad combination heading into the playoffs. Actually, now that I read what I just wrote, maybe #4 is still a bit to high.

5 Philadelphia
The Flyers play has been solid lately, and they've found themselves edging up towards both Buffalo and the Rangers in the standings accordingly. There just might be a dogfight for the 3-4-5 spots after all.

6 NY Rangers
Suddenly the Sabres and Rangers are playing the way most people expected them to all season long. Even with their troubles, though, Jagr still has 18 points in the last 11 games, so the slide has nothing to do with his playing easing up. His name hasn't come up much in talks, but there should definitely be a big contingent pushing Jagr for MVP. He really is playing the part quite well.

7 Nashville
They have been solid and consistent all year. 6 wins in their last 10 games, as could be said about them at pretty much every point in the season. Depending on how strongly Anaheim closes out the season, the Preds should be able to hang onto the #4 seed.

8 Anaheim
Speaking of Anaheim, this team has been hot in the second half. A 6 game win streak, and 16-4-2 in 22 games. That speaks for itself. One last playoff run in the name of the Mighty.

9 Tampa Bay
The other hottest team sine Christmas is looking even sharper now that Lecavalier and Richards seem to be clicking like they should again. The goaltending situation is a little bit shaky heading into the playoffs, but Grahame seems to have laid claim on the #1 spot and should be their guy for the long haul now.

10 San Jose
I called the Sharks disappointing at the start of February because they were just that - disappointing. Not but, but not what I knew they could be. Since then they have gone 12-4-2, and although still in the #9 spot and looking in, I have already guaranteed that they will be in the show. The trick now will be working up to the #6 seed. If they can do that, I can guarantee a first round playoff victory as well, which would be a worst-case scenario for Red Wings fans for sure. It has been a few years, though, and I for one would LOVE to see another Sharks/Wings battle.

11 Edmonton
Bubble team. Gotta watch themselves.

12 Buffalo
Slide slide slide. 5 straight losses. 1 for their last 29 on the power play. Not acceptable. Philly would be better off holding onto the #5 seed rather than catching the Rangers if this keeps up.

13 Colorado
I'm going to say that the Av's will either finish 3rd or out of the playoffs. Does that make sense? That's up to you, but it's just how things feel in Avalanche land.

14 New Jersey
The fire that Elias' return first brought the Devils has faded a little bit, but there is no reason to panic in the swamp. A huge win over the Sens in Ottawa is proof enough of that. Calling up Mogilny would be enough to guarantee their playoff birth, but at this point I'm just going to give up on that ever happening again. The new salary cap situation SUCKS.

15 Calgary
I still really don't like this team. They still have had more success against their own division than they have with others, and still look mediocre at best on the road. They still have a boring style of play, and I still hope we don't have to suffer with them too long in the playoffs. If Kipper's on his game, though, it still may be inevitable.

16 Montreal
2 key wins against the Leafs show that these guys can win when they know they have to. That is wonderful news at this time of year. Their current 12-5-3 run is nothing to scoff at either.

17 Vancouver
It looks at this point like we won't get to see Cloutier make a comeback in time to blow the first round. The Canucks have done a good job of preventing that from happening by destroying their playoff run before it even gets the chance to start. After their big slide, they took advantage of a distraught Kings squad, and looked decent against fellow bubble team Edmonton, but they cannot beat Anaheim, San Jose, or Colorado who make up more than half of their remaining schedule. Looks like another early summer for the Nucks, and a big sign that some significant changes are needed if they want to be able to compete with the Wings and Stars as they have in recent years.

18 Florida
9-1 in their last 10? Are you kidding me? What is it with Florida that makes them start horribly, come on inexplicably strong, then realize it's too late and then finish off with only 2 wins in 10 games. It's a Florida tradition at this point.

19 Minnesota
Last time I said that trading Dwayner for a top line player might be enough to squeak them into the playoffs. Instead they traded a perfectly solid NHL goaltender for basically nothing, and guaranteed another missed playoffs.

20 Columbus
Losses to Chicago, St.Louis and Phoenix, followed up by wins against Calgary, Detroit and San Jose. Now that is consistency!

21 Atlanta
10 points behind Tampa a month and a half ago, and only 5 points behind now. Too bad there isn't another month and a half left in the regular season. The Thrashers will fall victim to the old "too little too late" syndrome, but remain one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the league. One more season under their belts and they'll figure out how to contend a little bit earlier in the season.

22 Boston

23 Toronto
Why MLSE brass thought that the Leafs had a shot this year around deadline day is beyond me. I can't state this often enough - it's time for huge organizationally changes in the front office, and on the ice. This gigantic mess is not going to go away on it's own.

24 NY Islanders
I still don't understand why the Islanders gave up on the season at the deadline. They had a decent team and a decent shot at making it. I guess we'll see how well this pays off in a couple of seasons, but I still just don’t see it.

25 Los Angeles
I had the Kings at #19 in the power rankings last time, and took a few angry emails about that. As a strong believer in pushing "I told you so's" here is what I had to say:

Some might be surprised by such a low placing of a second place team. But the Kings have been slumping lately, and look less than mediocre on the road. They will have trouble fighting off Anaheim for a playoff spot, and probably won't in the end. But at least JR is still super-cool!

The writing was on the wall, even when they looked to be strongly secured in a playoff spot. This team was disaster on ice, and should join Vancouver as the outside teams.

26 Phoenix
The Great One's coaching still has this rag tag bunch with a .500 record. Then again, that doesn't say much anymore now that 240 points have been given out this season to teams that really lost the game, and thus only 6 of 30 teams have records that are "under .500". I really don’t like the single point system. A loss should be a loss, no?

AHL Power Rankings

As a side note, I'll say again, who wouldn't love to see a playoffs set up with these 4 teams? There would be a lot of fun to be had in that, not to mention free money for the league to earn. They may have to add two expansion teams and do a full consolation playoffs, but either way it's just money looking to be made. I'm surprised something like this hasn't happened in North American professional sports yet. I'd go to a round robin Capitals Penguins game any day, not to mention the finals. It might be worth some consideration in the league offices. Anyway, here are the bottom 4 rankings:

1 Washington
The more I watch Ovechkin highlights, the more I start wondering if he can stay healthy and end up being the greatest all around hockey player of all time. In just his first season he already looks almost as impressive as Lemieux in his best season. Whether you agree with that sentence or not, you can't say that it's completely outlandish and with no basis. Now just think about that. Even if he doesn't end up winning the MVP trophy this year, he should be able to grab 5 of the next 10, assuming he's healthy and something that resembles a team is built around him. It’s just hard to imagine someone who plays such a grueling, all around strong game staying completely healthy for too long.

2 Pittsburgh
I still can't believe that bringing in Cory Cross didn't turn things around for the Penguins. That's baffling.

3 Chicago
Quick, name 5 guys that play for the Hawks…

4 St. Louis
Forget the AHL, I'm starting to think that I could throw together a team of guys that live around me and give the Blues a run for their money. Actually, if they keep Tkachuk out of the game, I think I might even put money on my team. It's hard to imagine not being able to score 3 goals in a game on Lalime myself, throw in some other guys that can score and we're golden.


as impressive as Lemieux? you have to be shitting me


I don't know about Ovechkin looking as good as Lemieux ever did, but he definitely looks as good as Lemieux in his rookie year. Now all Ovechkin needs is somewhat of a team, to match Mario's prime numbers. In Mario's best year, he had the likes of Rob Brown (Rucchin? maybe), Coffee (not a Rucchin), who both racked up 100+ points. Also, ZZ was on that team :)

man, you really do have a man crush. caps suck, stop mentioning them damn it!

that wasnt me that challenged you yesterday, i dont know why people are assuming my identity. i certainly know whether or not there is an e in my name! plus, if i was going to challenge you to a roll, it wouldnt be down a hill, lol

Me fail English? That's unpossible.

I'll have you know Cory Cross was traded at the deadline to Detroit, so he was not given enough time to help my team out. That will be the end of CP in in the 'burgh.

As for as good as Mario if AO can get to 120 points in any season then I will talk to you about it. I say 120 because I don't see any player getting close to 199 points for a very long time, if ever again.

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