Monday, January 25, 2016

NHL Power Rankings(January 2016)

The blog is reset and I look forward to contributing a consistent amount of content from here on out. I thought an appropriate way to reinvigorate the blog seeing as how we are nearing the all-star break of the 2015-2016 season is to showcase my power rankings from 1-30 providing a brief snip it for each team. Hope you thoroughly enjoy!

1.Washington Capitals(35-8-3) Holtby playing like a Hart candidate, has the Vezina on lockdown and Ovechkin has begun to channel his inner Brett Hull. Unequivocally the Stanley Cup favourite.

2.Chicago Blackhawks(33-15-4) The award for the player that exemplifies the greatest amount of production for having the littlest fanfare coming into the campaign undeniably is handed out to Artem Panarin. Patrick Kane may get all the headlines, some good, some bad but can thank for having such a quality running mate in Panarin.

3.Detroit Red Wings(24-16-8) Goaltending remains a mystery for this unit as it's becoming painfully obvious that with this defence led unit, Peter Mrazek and co. should be tallying superior statistics. Bringing in a goalie at the deadline just might be what the doctor ordered for Motown.

4.Dallas Stars(30-14-5)-General Manager Peter Chiarelli's acquisition of Tyler Seguin can be largely attributed for the NHL's lone Texas entries blazing start. Wait a minute....Chiarelli wasn't the GM of the Stars??? Could've fooled me as the recreational fan may have surmised that with the lopsidedness of this deal that this could've been the work of a double agent. Even in fantasy hockey I don't see trades that fall so hard on the one sided spectrum.

5.Pittsburgh Penguins(23-17-7) Some will raise an eyebrow due to how highly I have ranked the borderline playoff bound Pens on this list, but since the firing of Mike Johnston, there's been a profound change in how this team plays. Sid and Geno look more motivated out there which is an extremely scary proposition for the twenty nine other National Hockey League clubs.

6.Los Angeles Kings(30-15-3) In what many are calling, okay....(In what "I") am calling the worst professional sports division since the 2005-2006 Northwest division in the Association that saw the historically, to reference a great Los Angeles' athlete once saying"Horrawful" Denver Nuggets undeservingly squeak into the playoffs, the Los Angeles Kings are trouncing on the pathetic Pacific Division. A good team in a bad division or a bad team beating up on even worse opposition? The jury is out!

7.New York Rangers(26-17-5) Can a bunch of mediocre individuals form a great team? At first I didn't believe this but the Rangers are proving this theory correct.

8.St.Louis Blues(28-16-8) Vladimir Tarasenko the greatest St.Louis Blue since Hall of Famer and Saskatchewan product(had to throw in that plug) Bernie Federko? Not meant to slight Brett Hull but Tarasenko may actually accomplish something Brett Hull never could and that is lead the Missouri troopers to the Stanley Cup.

9.Calgary Flames(21-22-3) Just about everything that could go wrong has gone wrong for the Calgary Flames this first half. The highly anticipated Dougie Hamilton acquisition hasn't met the billing yet but need not worry Cow town as the greatest player to wear #93 since Doug Gilmour in Sam Bennett has graced your presence and is delivering of late. Is he really the greatest #93 since you know who?? Maybe not, likely me talking out of my you know what but nobody every mistook for playing it safe when making prognostications.

10.New York Islanders(25-15-6) Gone are the days of the fifteen year contracts given out to AHL calibre goaltenders. The new upper management hierarchy has brought stability to Brooklyn(sounds weird right) and good goaltending being anchored by former Canadien Jaroslav Halak and getting timely contributions from once prodigy John Tavares. The vibe I'm getting from this team is an organization that nobody will want to meet in the playoffs.

11.Vancouver Canucks(20-18-11) For those that know me well, I speak in absolute statements essentially all the time. Two things you can take from this ranking and that's A) I clearly prematurely ripped the Pacific divison in the Kings synopsis and B) I hate the Canucks so it pains me to rank them this high.

12.Tampa Bay Lightning(26-18-4) The question on everybody's mind in the St.Pete area is will the Lightning trade beleaguered star, former Sarnia Sting standout Steven Stamkos? The defending Eastern conference champions have begun to surge after another slow start but the question is.....should there recent surge be attributed to the play of Stamkos??? Resounding no, send him to Toronto as it's very telling that he only has one destination on his mind. A Toronto boy who wants to lead the Leafs back to the promise land.

13.Minnesota Wild(23-17-8) As the great Gordon Bombay once eloquently scribed to Ducks standout Conway, "Charlie, when I talked to Coach Orion, I told him..... I told him that you were the real Minnesota Miracle man". This may of been applicable in 1996 but in 2016 the real Minnesota Miracle man is Mikko Koivu. Mikko "The REAL Minnesota Miracle man" Koivu drives this boat.

14.Colorado Avalanche(26-21-3) I'll say this about the Avalanche, the brand of hockey that coach Patrick Roy trots out on a nightly basis is a welcome addition for the league. He lets the kids play and players like Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon are excelling for that reason.

15.Carolina Hurricanes(22-20-8) Hanifin and Faulk the greatest defensive duo since the days of Pronger and MacInnis? I'll go a step further and label Noah and Justin the greatest American sporting duo since Lebron and D-Wade.... Am I lying? Yes, as I'm a hardcore Lebron fan but one thing is for certain, a foundation built around these two will eventually lead to this franchises second Stanley Cup.

16.Florida Panthers(28-15-5) A funny team indeed, a team consisting of a Fin with the last name of Barkov and a Canadian with the last name of Ekblad. The Swedish and Russian hockey federations fume daily over the envy of not having these two part of their programs.  Nationalities aside, Dale Tallon just like in Chicago has built a masterpiece the question however will they still have a show worth seeing on Broadway come mid June? 2016 likely not, but the 2017 Cup is the show Tallon expects to have a front row seat at.

17.Anaheim Ducks(21-18-7) How to diagnose the Anaheim Ducks? A case of "Idontknowhowtocoachilitis" has hampered Bruce Boudreau time and time again but the difference this time around is the uncurable disease has touched down on the players as the uber talented group has lost that mojo all together and I am adamant when I say that a new coach is needed to take Orange county over the hump once again. To Bob Murray: He ruined a Capitals team that should've dominated yearly(see success under Trotz), don't let him put the final nail in the coffin for this organization.

18.Montreal  Canadiens(24-20-4) Is this the same Canadiens group that blazed to a 9-1 start? Yes, I fully comprehend that losing Carey Price for a significant amount of time didn't do this group any justice, but this team can't score plain and simple. You know you're in trouble when...a player such as Brendan Gallagher who's role in junior was a glorified checking shut down player, particularly in his World Juniors experience is one of your most dependable scorers. To win, you need to put the puck in the back of the net. Simple concept.

19,Nashville Predators(22-18-8) Similarly to the Canadiens above, goal scoring has become problematic. Bringing in Ryan Johansen was a noble idea on behalf of General Manager David Poile as Johansen is someone I've fan boyed over going back to his days in Portland but the problem hasn't been totally solved. It could be worse Preds fans as reports have indicated that Poile offered Seth Jones up to the Edmonton Oilers for one of the leagues most overrated players, that being Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. Count your blessings.

20.New Jersey Devils(25-19-5) I promoted the prospects of the Carolina Hurricanes defensive outlook earlier in this entry, but it may fail in comparison when describing the qualities of the New Jersey Devils backend. Damon Severson, Adam Larsson, Jon Merril, Erik Gelinas, the cupboards are completely full defensively, but for a third consecutive team write-up, they can stop all the goals they want, but who's expected to score? Joe Blandisi, Tuomo Ruutu? Jeepers! I cringe for the days in a few years when the Devils match up against the Hurricanes when we see a plethora of 0-0 gsmes followed by twenty round shootouts.

21.Arizona Coyotes(23-19-5) Fans are rightfully excited when dreaming of the connections young superstars Anthony Duclair and former London Knight and Tie's son Max Domi will conjur up but where will the connected flights be headed. Is this team staying in Glendale or will another destination such as Vegas or Seattle be privy to the growth of these two excitable commodities?

22.Winnipeg Jets(21-24-3) I'd like to spend this write up pertaining to the Jets discussing the value of Adam Lowry. Adam plays with an edge something he learned under the tutelage of Swift Current Broncos' bench boss Mark Lamb. Lowry needs improvement with the skill game it would most definitely be advisable for Adam to spend the summer working on his rock hard hands. If he gets this facet cleaned up, a superstar may be born.

23.Boston Bruins(25-17-5) Coming into the 2015-2016 campaign I'll be the first to admit I had the B's pegged to one of the league's worst teams. Man, was I wrong! Claude Julien deserves a lof of the credit as General Manager Don Sweeney is leading the Bruins through a transition period so it would've been no surprise if the city of Boston limped its way to a non playoff mark. I'm still not convinced the Bruins are locked into the playoffs but the emergence of Ryan Spooner and Jimmy Hayes are allowing them to keep pace with a notoriously successful sports city.

24.Buffalo Sabres(19-25-4) Before the season began I made a bet with a good friend that enlisted that the Buffalo Sabres would finish ahead of the Montreal Canadiens in the standings. The caviot being that if both missed the playoffs the bet was void. I'm come to the realization that I misprognosticated the Sabres in the pre-season so my fingers are crossed that the Habs join them on the golf courses early. Josh Gorges does need some playing partners after all.

25.Edmonton Oilers(19-26-5) The record isn't vindictive of the struggles the Oilers have faced. It wouldn't surprise me that by the time the season ends if every marquee player this team has will have spent, to steal some baseball terminology, some time on the disabled list. The most glaring injury of course has been Connor McDavid. The prodigy affectionately known as "McJesus" has missed the last several months but is expected back shortly after the all-star break and this welcome news to an Oiler fan base that is desperately seeking stability.

26.Ottawa Senators(23-20-6) The Sens have "meh"written all over it. As a curling aficionado, I'll remark by saying that I'm hopeful that the upcoming Tim Horton's Brier provides more entertainment then the Senators have delivered thusfar. Ever since the loss of former captain Jason Spezza, they've coveted that number one center position that Kyle Turris currently occupying and from my viewpoint I don't consider Turris a # 1 on a playoff contender.

27.Philadelphia Flyers(20-17-8) As someone in myself who has a decent grasp on the junior hockey landscape I'll grant those Flyerm supporters that they have some nice defensive pieces that'll be arriving shortly in Brandon Wheat King Ivan Provorov, Calgary Hitmen Travis Sanheim, and rounding it off with Samuel Morin. No doubt the  future is bright but the present? I've seen better defensive play from teams in the ECHL than I  have with these current defensive stalwarts. I genuinely feel sorry for coach Dave Hakstol for the broken toys he has to work with,

28.San Jose Sharks(25-18-4) At 25-18-4, most will perceive the ranking of 28th laughable for thr San Jose Sharks. Record wise I agree, this team is nowhere close to deserving such a negative ranking but when you dig deeper like I have you'll come to understand there are major deficiencies. For those that believe Logan Couture as a "franchise player" aside from being delusional have peculiar hockey sense. That's the issue in Sharkland, a player who on most teams is a third line player is the prized possession in NorCal. That alone harkens little hope for this once proud, hold that thought, this never proud franchise.

29.Toronto Maple Leafs(17-20-9) Accumulating seventeen wins before February 1st in my eyes deserves Jack Adams recognition for Head Coach Mike Babcock. I kid of course with the Jack Adams banter but what Babcock has done in Toronto is creat accountability. Players that the media were to quick to dump on such as Nazem Kadri and Jake Gardiner have transitioned into reliable players who play in all situations. Gone are the days of players being guaranteed a spot due to the name on the back of their sweater. This mentality will only lead to positive results going forward.

30.Columbus Blue Jackets(17-27-5) Ridding themselves of their franchise forward at the expense of coach John Tortorella is just one of many reasons for the basement dwelling ranking of the Blue Jackets. Siding with a coach over a young up and coming player is ALWAYS a recipe for disaster. On the bright side, at least the Columbus sporting community can rest it's laurels on the always dominant Ohio St Buckeyes sports program.

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