Given that there are only two Eastern Conference teams among the top 10, it might be high time for some of the other hockey teams in the East to get things going. Unfortunately it looks like more than a few are already looking to blow things up and start over for next year, with the Philadelphia Flyers chief among those with one finger on the plunger.
Clearly it’s still early in the power rankings season and time will tell with a lot of these teams, but here are the rankings:
30. Buffalo Sabres (3-15-1, last week: 30) – Boy, you’ve got to be a special kind of bad to start the season 0-8-1 on home ice like the Sabres have done. Buffalo needs to ship out Ryan Miller before he completely goes off the reservation.
29. Florida Panthers (3-11-4, last week: 28) – The Panthers have lost eight games in a row and canned their entire coaching staff after the team quit in the third period of a loss to the Bruins. This organization needs an enema.
28. Edmonton Oilers (4-13-2, last week: 29) – I picked this group to go all the way to the Western Conference Finals this season. Possibly worse than my prediction that Ben Cherington would be a bust as Red Sox general manager.
27. Winnipeg Jets (8-9-2, last week: 22) – A Blackhawks fan stealing Adam Pardy’s helmet while the fan’s girlfriend poured beer on his head is really the perfect metaphor for Winnipeg’s season thus far.
26. Philadelphia Flyers (5-10-1, last week: 27) – I’ll raise the Flyers’ position each time Claude Giroux scores a goal for the rest of the season now that he’s finally scratched for No. 1. Let’s see how high they can get.
25. Calgary Flames (6-9-2, last week: 19) – When Dennis Wideman leads your team in plus/minus, the chances are very good that it’s not going to be a fruitful season. Three wins in their last 10 games has them free-falling in the Western Conference.
24. Columbus Blue Jackets (6-10-0, last week: 17) – Boom or bust streaks for the Blue Jackets right now, and that kind of inconsistency will kill you in the Eastern Conference.
23. New Jersey Devils (5-7-5, last week: 25) – How do the Devils even still have any fans left? Their best player would rather go to Russia than play for them, and they’re one of the worst offensive teams in the league. Hate to say it, but Martin Brodeur should have called it a career when the Devils made it to the Cup Finals a couple of years ago.
22. New York Islanders (6-9-3, last week: 15) – The Isles have lost three in a row, and it looks like Thomas Vanek might have suffered an injury over the weekend. They just can’t catch a break in the House that John Spano Pilfered.
21. Carolina Hurricanes (6-7-4, last week: 24) – Great story with Manny Malhotra getting a contract in Carolina, and then going out and immediately getting a game-winner for the Canes.
20. Dallas Stars (8-7-2, last week: 20) – Getting the two decisive goals in the shootout had to feel good for Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley against the Bruins.
19. Montreal Canadiens (9-8-1, last week: 17) – Michel Therrien getting into a pissing match with P.K. Subban in Montreal. The second-time Habs coach realizes how that is going to end for him, right?
18. New York Rangers (9-8-0, last week: 21) –The Rangers are starting to win under Alan Vigneault, and Rick Nash is slowly hopping on the comeback trail. Things are looking up for the Blueshirts.
17. Nashville Predators (8-7-2, last week: 16) – Barry Trotz has broken up Shea Weber and Seth Jones, and dropped the rookie down to a third defensemen pairing. Reality bites for the rookie sensation.
16. Ottawa Senators (7-6-4, last week: 23) – Craig Anderson’s injury has opened the door for Robin Lehner to start racking up some playing time, and that’s been a very good thing for the Senators. It looks like they’re finally snapping out of it with a three-game winning streak.
15. Washington Capitals (9-8-1, last week: 18) – Thirteen goals, 20 points and a minus-7 in 17 games for Alex Ovechkin. God bless America . . . err, Russia.
14. Detroit Red Wings (9-5-4, last week: 11) – Pretty good Hall of Fame weekend for the Winged Wheels with Brendan Shanahan and Chris Chelios getting inducted to hockey greatness.
13. Los Angeles Kings (11-6-0, last week: 13) – Millions of LA hockey fans woke up this morning, and said to themselves, “Who the heck is Tyler Toffoli?”
12. Boston Bruins (10-5-1, last week: 14) – A two-game winning streak has the Bruins headed back in the right direction, but there are most definitely some offensive improvements that can still be made.
11. Pittsburgh Penguins (11-6-0, last week 2) – A stunning 5-1 loss to the Rangers should probably act as a slap in the face to the Penguins, who are still kings of the mediocre Metro Division.
10. San Jose Sharks (10-3-4, last week: 3) – The Sharks have lost five in a row, and got lambasted by coach Todd McLellan this week. It’s all so very predictable with this hockey club.
9. Toronto Maple Leafs (11-6-0, last week: 9) – The Leafs had a chance to really pump up their value, but couldn’t dispatch the Bruins team that caused them a summer full of regret.
8. Vancouver Canucks (11-7-2, last week: 10) – The Canucks have adjusted pretty well to life with John Tortorella, but an awful 10 percent success rate on the power play with the Sedin Twins just doesn’t compute.
7. Minnesota Wild (10-4-4, last week: 12) – Everybody expected Zach Parise and Ryan Suter to carry this team, but it’s been Jason Pominville and Josh Harding’s goaltending that are key to this surge.
6. Phoenix Coyotes (12-4-2, last week: 4) – Eight wins in their last 10 games for a team that’s uncovered the NHL’s best name, Rob Klinkhammer, is a legit force in the desert.
5. Tampa Bay Lightning (12-4-0, last week: 6) – Steve Stamkos. That is all.
4. Chicago Blackhawks (12-2-4, last week: 7) – One regulation loss in their last 10 games, and the second-most explosive offense in the NHL behind the Anaheim Ducks.
3. St. Louis Blues (11-2-2, last week: 5) – Some think Alex Steen is a fluke. I think not. Same goes with the Blues, who don’t have a lot of weaknesses to their team anymore.
2. Anaheim Ducks (15-3-1, last week: 8) – Given that Anaheim did so much of their damage while also embarking on a two-week long road trip is pretty impressive. Ryan Getzlaf doing some big boy work these days.
1. Colorado Avalanche (14-2-0, last week: 1) – Matt Duchene is the best NHL player that I’ve seen this year with my own eyes. Patrick Roy is onto something special with the young, talented Avalanche.