|Connelly’s Top Ten: Interesting SI Article From 1999 About Doctoring Footballs…||Red Sox Acquire RHP John Cornely, Another Arm for Minors||Bruins Name Don Sweeney General Manager||In Surprising Move, Robert Kraft Opts to Accept NFL Penalties|
With another two weeks gone, it’s time for SoB’s third NHL power rankings. Our usual four experts selected their picks, and three also picked teams that, by next time, will have shot up the NHL standings and fallen from grace.
For the second time in a row, two teams dropped from the rankings. The race got heated for the last spots, which featured a three-way tie. Still, only one tiebreaker was needed to settle it. The standings look relatively stable (four teams keep last time’s slots), though there is a huge drop-off in points once you get to the lower half. And we had a unanimous first place vote for the first time ever.
A first place vote earns a team 10 points, a second place vote earns 9, and so on. Ties are broken based on who received the most first place votes, then the most second, and so on. The second tiebreaker is based on rank in the previous power ranking.
|Brian||Erikk||John||KC||SoB Composite||Last Time||Comments|
|#1||Chicago Blackhawks||Chicago Blackhawks||Chicago Blackhawks||Chicago Blackhawks||(4) Chicago Blackhawks (40)||#1, even||KC – ‘Hawks continue to surprise, could they be the NHL’s top team?|
|#2||San Jose Sharks||New Jersey Devils||San Jose Sharks||New Jersey Devils||New Jersey Devils (34)||#3, up 1||KC – If you have Brodeur, everything’s OK.|
|#3||New Jersey Devils||San Jose Sharks||New Jersey Devils||Washington Capitals||San Jose Sharks (33)||#2, down 1||KC – They move down after the loss to the B’s.|
|#4||Washington Capitals||Washington Capitals||Buffalo Sabres||San Jose Sharks||Washington Capitals (28)||#4, even||Brian – Even with no-name goalie Michal Neuvirth, the Caps are still running away with the Southeast Division, and continue to be one of the Eastern Conference powerhouse teams.|
|#5||Buffalo Sabres||Buffalo Sabres||Washington Capitals||Buffalo Sabres||Buffalo Sabres (25)||#5, even||Brian – They don’t have as much flash as the teams above them in the rankings, but with Ryan Miller in goal, the possibilities are endless.|
|#6||Calgary Flames||Nashville Predators||Pittsburgh Penguins||Phoenix Coyotes||Pittsburgh Penguins (12)||#6 even||Brian – The defending champs have floundered lately, but with all that star power, you can’t count them out. If they ever figure out how to fix the league’s 29th ranked power play, they’ll be dangerous once again.|
|#7||Pittsburgh Penguins||Colorado Avalanche||Nashville Predators||Calgary Flames||Calgary Flames (10)||#9, up 2||John – Two straight losses have the Flames tied with the Avalanche for their division. This race probably will come down to the wire.|
|#8||Vancouver Canucks||Vancouver Canucks||Colorado Avalanche||Vancouver Canucks||Nashville Predators (9)||NR||John – Nashville is the third West team to pass 60 points (61). All that remains is to see if they can hold onto home rink advantage for the first round.|
|#9||Phoenix Coyotes||Philadelphia Flyers||Phoenix Coyotes||Pittsburgh Penguins||Phoenix Coyotes (9)||#8, down 1||John – Phoenix has 59 points and could easily jump a slot soon. Not too bad for a team you could buy with three magic beans.|
|#10||Colorado Avalanche||Pittsburgh Penguins||Calgary Flames||Boston Bruins||Vancouver Canucks (9)||NR||John – They’ve lost two in a row, but are still only two points behind the Flames and Avalanche. I haven’t seen three ways this intense since Maury Povich.|
|Others earning votes:||Colorado Avalanche (8), Philadelphia Flyers (2), Boston Bruins (1)|
After having up to nine different starters sidelined with injuries this season, the Red Wings are finally getting healthy. As their top players return, watch Detroit continue their climb up the standings.
While 4-2-4 in their last ten, the Rangers have an easier schedule in the near future, featuring matchups against the St. Louis Blues, Montreal Canadiens (two), and the Tampa Bay Lightning. Assuming the Rangers play up to their potential, they could easily leap-frog a position or two in the Eastern Conference.
Detroit has been teasing the brackets for some time now, getting closer and closer each time. Now they’re fighting with the Kings for that last spot. It’s only a matter of time before Detroit returns to a playoff spot.
They have already started fading from the playoff picture in the East, but with more and more focus on the “Where in the World Will Ilya Kovalchuk Be Traded To?” talk, the Thrashers will drop even further into irrelevance. The real question is, will anyone in Atlanta even care?
One has to wonder how much the Anaheim Ducks can actually fall considering their proximity to the cellar of the Western Conference, but now that they’ve lost both Teemu Selanne and Saku Koivu for the near future, the team that recently knocked off the Bruins during their five-game winning streak will have a hard time going up.
One good performance against the Sharks was not enough to convince me. Boston has been getting worse and worse, and is now a full ten points behind the Sabres in the Northeast Division. With only four points to go from #5 seed to out of the playoffs entirely, it wouldn’t surprise me to see that happen.
Tags: Anaheim Ducks, Atlanta Thrashers, Boston Bruins, Buffalo Sabres, Calgary Flames, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Nashville Predators, New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers, NHL Power Rankings, Philadelphia Flyers, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals