|Notes and Observations Week 15: Patriots Blow Out Dolphins 41-13; Clinch AFC East||Connelly’s Top Ten: Patriots Defense, Special Teams Carry Home Team||Fantasy Football Start ‘Em, Sit ‘Em: Week 15||Right Idea? Red Sox Bring in Rick Porcello, Wade Miley, Justin Masterson|
Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone. This time around, three experts have shown their love for their favorite hockey teams, as well as predicted who will win Men’s Olympic gold at ice hockey, and who will lose miserably. Too bad the Canadian women weren’t eligible for picks, or their 18-0 defeat of Slovakia Saturday would have turned some heads.
Finally, two teams didn’t drop from the rankings. Only one team did that, though if this were a top 11 list, everyone would have retained a spot on the list. Four teams managed to keep their specific spots, including the top three finishers. Washington did it in dramatic fashion, extending their winning streak to 14 games before ending it, and unanimously receiving top honors.
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||John||KC||SoB Composite||Last Time||Comments|
|#1||Washington Capitals||Washington Capitals||Washington Capitals||(3) Washington Capitals (30)||#1, even||KC – [The] Caps are on absolute fire and running away with the Eastern Conference.|
|#2||San Jose Sharks||San Jose Sharks||San Jose Sharks||San Jose Sharks (27)||#2, even||KC – They are neck-and-neck with the Caps, but can they keep up?|
|#3||Chicago Blackhawks||Chicago Blackhawks||Chicago Blackhawks||Chicago Blackhawks (24)||#3, even||KC – This is a one-and-done year for Chicago, so the pressure’s on.|
|#4||Phoenix Coyotes||Colorado Avalanche||Vancouver Canucks||Phoenix Coyotes (17)||#9, up 5||Brian – I keep thinking this team is going to fade, but here we are at the Olympic break and they’re sitting pretty in the heat of the Western Conference race… I guess they’re not moving now.|
|#5||Ottawa Senators||Vancouver Canucks||New Jersey Devils||Vancouver Canucks (15)||#5, even||John – Vancouver is doing everything in their power on this road trip to keep their position and repeat as division champions, but Colorado isn’t making things easy.|
|#6||Los Angeles Kings||Phoenix Coyotes||Phoenix Coyotes||New Jersey Devils (11)||#4, down 2||Brian – They add Ilya Kovalchuk to their lineup and they FALL in the rankings? Go figure…|
|#7||New Jersey Devils||Ottawa Senators||Pittsburgh Penguins||Los Angeles Kings (11)||NR||Brian – The Kings also enjoyed a recent win streak… this young team is just plain fun to watch.|
|#8||Pittsburgh Penguins||Los Angeles Kings||Los Angeles Kings||Ottawa Senators (10)||#7, down 1||John – Ottawa has become one of the NHL’s stronger teams lately, and thanks to Buffalo’s hiccups, Ottawa is challenging for the division.|
|#9||Vancouver Canucks||Pittsburgh Penguins||Colorado Avalanche||Colorado Avalanche (9)||#10, up 1||John – Colorado refuses to go away, and is still holding their own with Vancouver in the Northwest.|
|#10||Buffalo Sabres||New Jersey Devils||Buffalo Sabres||Pittsburgh Penguins (9)||#8, down 2||Brian – Lingering in the middle of the East standings, the Penguins are poised to make a strong post-Olympic run beginning next month.|
|Others earning votes:||Buffalo Sabres (2)|
They have arguably the best player on the planet on their side in two-time NHL MVP Alex Ovechkin, on top of one of the hottest goaltenders going in San Jose netminder Evgeni Nabokov. Add in some Evgeni Malkin, and the Russians will find a way to top host Canada in the gold medal game.
Even if Martin Brodeur continues to have some issues, the likes of Sidney Crosby will be there to provide offensive support. And Marc-Andre Fleury is there too, just in case.
They won it all in 2002, and any team that has Martin Brodeur (even at his advancing age) has my vote.
With no NHLers and just one AHLer, the Norwegians will be lucky to avoid being blown out game after game. Having to share pool play with the mighty Americans and the even mightier host Canadians doesn’t make it any easier.
Tim Thomas = trouble. Ryan Miller doesn’t make me feel that much better. If the U.S. wins, the best defense will have to be a great offense, because they don’t have much defense otherwise.
Ryan Miller and Tim Thomas are two of the American goaltenders…and at first that seemed like a good thing. Now, Thomas has lost his starting job and Miller’s Sabres have lost six straight games [before beating the Sharks]. Yikes…
Tags: Buffalo Sabres, Chicago Blackhawks, Colorado Avalanche, Los Angeles Kings, New Jersey Devils, NHL Power Rankings, Ottawa Senators, Phoenix Coyotes, Pittsburgh Penguins, San Jose Sharks, Vancouver Canucks, Washington Capitals