After one week of the regular season that will see teams cram in 48 games in roughly 100 days, we have a changing of the guard at the top of the NHL Power Rankings, courtesy of TSN.ca.
Before the season started, Scott Cullen, a hockey expert at TSN ranked the teams from one to thirty based on a more than muddy formula. If you can follow Cullen’s madness in theory then you’ve got one up on me.
Prior to puck drop on January 19th Cullen had the Sidney Crosby led Pittsburgh Penguins in the top slot, followed by the New York Rangers and Boston Bruins. Rounding out the bottom were the Winnipeg Jets, New York Islanders and Columbus Blue Jackets in order from 28 to 30. Well what a difference a week makes.
The Penguins dropped to number 10, the Jets climed all the way up to number 9 and the Minnesota Wild hold steady at number 20.
Topping this week’s list is not surprisingly the San Jose Sharks. Patrick Marleau has been nothing short of brilliant to start the season and came within one goal of setting a new NHL record for consecutive games to start the season with two-goal games. Joe Thornton looks like he’s having fun again and Martin Havlat looks 10 years younger. Yes every part of the Sharks is clicking and they are rolling. Could this be their year? There is a lot of hockey left and anything can happen.
Surprisingly at number two are the Tampa Bay Lightning. Yes they are off to a great start at 4-1 which comes as a surprise to many. But the Chicago Blackhawks remain undefeated and while they are only one rung down, they deserve to be at number two in my humble opinion.
Looking at the bottom five, there are certainly some surprises, at least when you look at where they were prior to the season started.
Following the Flames are the surprisingly poor Philadelphia Flyers who have started the year 2-4. Sure they are without Chris Pronger but they didn’t have their captains services in the playoffs when the dismantled the Penguins. Granted the injury bug has decimated their lineup.
The Columbus Blue Jacket sit at twenty-eight with a 1-3-1 record, not including last night’s win against the Dallas Stars. My crazy, bold prediction this week is that the Jakcets will be higher than this come next week. This team will surprise a few opponents this season and could take on a a huge spoiler role down the stretch.
The Washington Capitals are struggling and as a result sit at twenty-nine, down twelve spots from seventeen. They have a new coach and will take some time to transition to the new systems, but Alex Ovechkin has only one goal and is playing like he’s in love….wait he is. Troubled times ahead in Washington
Finally, the Florida Panthers round out the bottom. After opening the season with a convincing win over the Carolina Hurricanes, the cats have dropped four straight and have been outscored 18-3 in those contests. Stephen Weiss is out with injury and may not be in Florida much longer as the club may not have the money to resign the star forward.
Shakers and Movers of the Week – Tampa Bay Lightning climbed an unprecedented 22 spots to sit second best.
Slippin’ and Slidin’ – the Capitals fell twelve spots, the most of any team in the league.
These rankings are purely fiction and have no merit on the outcomes of the games, but it does serve as an entertaining debate.
Topics: Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, Columbus Blue Jackets, Edmonton Oilers, Florida Panthers, Minnesota Wild, New York Rangers, Ottawa Senators, Philadelphia Flyers, San Jose Sharks, St.Louis Blues, Tampa Bay Lightning, Washington Capitals