October 21, 2006

NHL 2006-2007 Power Ranking Madness Oct. 2006: Skydivedad's Early Season Power Rankings.....

From the pathetic (Flyers, Coyotes) to the sublime (Sabres, Ducks, Stars, Wild) with a few pleasant surprises in-between, (Blackhawks,Maple Leafs, Capitals) the 2006-2007 NHL season is underway. I know it's early in the season and these Power Rankings are subject to wild swings but this is what my super secret master formula (Brownstein Index Theorem Deviant) spewed out of my spread-sheets. Please feel free to disagree, cry in your soup or go on a mindless rant but here's Skydivedad's, as I see it through Oct 20th, SporsFilter NHL Power Rankings.

30. Phoenix Coyotes....... How can the greatest offensive player in NHL history mastermind one of the most inept offense's in the NHL? Hasn't anyone told Wayne about the new rules that have opened the game for more scoring? Ineptitude in all phases of the game. Really porous goal tending and a lack of intensity doom this squad to the cellar of the Western Conference. Hey, I know Ballard's injury was a blow but get over it and at least display some fundamentals.(Did anyone see that hit on Scathard?) Can the "yucks er yotes" get it together?

29. Philadelphia Flyers.......... After the stunning turkey shot in Buffalo (9-1 Sabres victory) how can Bob Clarke show his face in public? Especially after the repeat performance against Tampa. Oh,how the mighty have fallen. Forsburg's wrist is the least of their worries. Flyers owner/Chairman Ed Snider recently said "The whole damn team stinks," referring to Philadelphia's slow start. Ya Think!

28. Boston Bruins......... I'm trying to rank them higher, I really am, but until they find real #1 Goal tending and figure out the best way to use Chara's multifunction capabilities this squad will continue to struggle establishing any coherent approach to winning hockey. One more year as a doormat looks like a real possibility.

27. St. Louis Blues........ I bet Manny Legacy is finding out how good he had it when his tentative goal tending style was masked by the squad in front of him. No such luck this year. Rucinsky and Guerrin aren't going to be enough, especially with Doug Weight still trying to buy a point after 6 games. Better luck next year and don't plan on play-off tickets this season. (As an aside I watched the Blues rookies and prospects team play for a week against 7 other NHL squads, clearly the thinnest in depth, slowest and weakest team I saw) JD might regret leaving broadcasting for this challenge. This will take awhile!

26. Ottawa Senators.... Most of the time you get what you deserve in the world of Professional Sports and the Sens are reaping their lack of effort shown so far this season. I've rarely seen an Ottawa squad so lackadaisical approaching an opponents zone. Get a clue guys, your much more talented then this seasons start shows. Spezza, Heatley, Freddie is that really you out there on the ice. 2.9% on the Power Play, 30th in the league! Until the real Senators make a commitment they remain near the Least of the East.

25. LA Kings...... Well at least they can pound on the Coyotes and pick up an occasional (W) from the likes of a disinterested visiting Red Wings squad. Young and upcoming talent, superior front office and a desirable climate bode well for this teams future. Just not yet. Budding Superstar Anze Kopitar sure is a pleasure to watch. Could move up if they didn't have to face the likes of the Sharks and Ducks so often.

24. NY Islanders..... I really tried to move them lower but other squads worked hard at being worse. Yashin has shown some heart (3g, 4a) and the lanky Victor Kozlov looks like he's finally found a home. Dunham has played great for an injured 15 year man, DiPietro in the pipes. I guess the world is full of surprises.

23. Calgary Flames....... Everyone knew they'd struggle scoring goals but this (15 goals in 7 games) is ridiculous. Add on a struggling Kiprusoff (he'll come around) and a 6.8% Power Play Squad (29th in League) plus a lack of creativity on the bench and this is what you get!

22. Columbus Blue Jackets...... SO much for my sleeper team. I know they're adding a recovering Federov to play along side of Nash and a newly signed Zherdev but talk about a squad lacking a killer instinct. Anson Carter finds himself skating on the 4th line occasionally, clearly not a good fit for this team. I still harbor expectations for these guys but they have to show me more then they did at home against Toronto.

21. Pittsburg Penguins..... Is there any doubt Evgeni Malkin is the real deal? (2g, 1a) in his first 2 NHL games. New ownership has inherited a very young and very talented Pens Squad. The skies the limit for these guys and they can ruin any teams night real fast. Look for them to move higher especially with Fluery's outstanding play to date and a relentless Crosby and crew pursuing the puck, add a dash of Gonchar and it's quite a scary brew!

20. Florida Panthers....... Even with the leagues top rated power play (31.2%) the up and down play of Alex AUld holds this team back. Did anyone really think they could replace Luongo that easily? Still, there's a ton of talent and a dash of mean on this team. You just never know when they can play a complete 60 minutes of hockey, something they haven't done much of this season to date.

19. Tampa Bay Lighting...... Is there a more disappointing offense anywhere? High offensive expectations have proven an illusion so far into the 2006 season, however they have flashed some of it in the last few games. They should just bench Martin St. Louis until after Halloween. Look for this team to break-out soon after Richards figures out he needs to shoot the dang puck at the net occasionally just to keep opposing defenses honest!

18. New York Rangers........ This one hurts. AT 3-3-0, 3.49 GAA, .880SV% Henri Lundqvist is struggling while Jagr, Shanahan and Nylander are out of the gate in outstanding fashion. Still with Rosival at +1 and a lack of proper checking team wide, they get my nod as the most schizophrenic team in the league to date. Should move up as Henri gets his game together and they figure out how to play a full ice game.

17.Colorado Avalanche........ Wow, Road wins against Toronto and Ottawa, even with a disappointing Theodore in net. 1-2-1 3.26 GAA .888SV% they might get another playoff appearance with Sakic showing the youngsters how it's done.

16. Toronto Maple Leafs..... yikes.... they can make the playoffs. Whoever decided to make Raycroft a #1 should be congratulated. A most pleasant surprise indeed. He's been a real treat to watch and if there's a harder worker between the pipes I'd like to know. The Big Guy version 2 (Sudin) looks like he's enjoying the game again. Can we say coach of the year!

15. Detroit Red Wings....... I put them much higher after the whooping they put on Cujo and the Yotes, then they had to go out west and play some of the most pathetic hockey I've seen from a Wings squad in years. Only Kopecky and Hudler managed to score a goal. Where the hell is Zetterberg and Datzuk. Lousy PK and PP will doom any squad, especially if you spend as much time in the sin bin as these guys. They looked old, slow and stupid on this west coast trip.

14. Washington Capitals........ Home of 2 Alexander's the Great. Ovechkin and Semin. Kolzig might finally have a real squad out front and this team will finally get some respect. Who'd a thought.

13. Chicago Blackhawks. Slap me, I must be dreaming. A Chicago Squad atop the Central! Havlat leads the league in points and after a slow start Khabibulin is getting the job done. Handzus the Hair and Radim Vrbata are as scrappy as they get. Is this even possible. Remember it's the Blackhawks and there is still a long way to go.

12. Carolina Hurricanes...... Talking about a slow start. Cup hangover I suppose but rattling off 3 in a row and Cam Ward not succombing to a sophomore slump bodes well. Still lost a lot of Stanley Cup Pieces and much remains to be seen.

11. Vancover Canucks........ Gotta love watching the Sedins and Naslund go off. If they can find some additional scoring punch Luongo has been as advertized and getting better, 3-2-1, 2.32 GAA, .920SV%. With a little more defense and some quality checking could make a move up.

10. Edmonton Oilers.... OK, OK I know they started out 4-2-0 but they are being carried by 3 guys (Smyth, Sykora, Roloson) and are suffering from a Pronger deficiency. Remember this is a team sport.

9. Nashville Predators..... Any team that can win 4 in a row 3 on the road against the Rangers, Islanders, Devils, OK not so much the Islanders but still Voukon is 3-0-0 0.65 GAA< .979SV% in his last 3 starts. Believe me this team can play with the puck, hit and score with anyone. Wait until you guys get an eye on Radulov, 61-91-152, +52 and 101 PIM in 62 Games in the QMJHL as he lead his team to a league championship. Believe me when I say they pose huge problems for any opposing defense.

8. Montreal Canadians...... Can Huet hold on to #1 or has Aebischer (2-1-0, 1.63 GAA, .944SV%) played himself into a platoon situation? I was going to save this for later but the new NHL BS about platooning goalies is like saying there is no QB controversy in the NFL and everyone knows there really is a controversy. Really it just doesn't work 99% of the time. This top line of Koivu, Higgins and Ryder certainly has produced and count them as an early season surprise. If they keep this up all year they can make a deep playoff run.

7. New Jersey Devils....... Devils lead the Atlantic. What else is new? Need to show some goal scoring from Gomez so Gionta can make it through the season without a target on his back. Brodeur, well he is the ultimate stable guy in the pipes. Still a touch win for anyone but the lose to Nashville highlighted the problems in center ice.

6. San Jose Sharks...... Nice home wins over Dallas and Detroit. Matt Carle looks like the total package. I don't like the Platooning going on here and expect someone eventually to be traded, despite Wilson's claims to the contrary. Need to see some road victories over Pacific foes to move them up.

5. Atlanta Thrashers....... Savards absence has only forced Kovalchuk to play more on both ends. The team is better for it. Lehtnonen has been a stud in the pipes and Mellanby has done a great job keeping this team focused. Watch out their for real this yearif Lehtonen stays healthy.

4. Dallas Stars...... Marty Turco is the best goalie in the NHL as I write this and I'm sure I'll hear plenty of he can't do this in the playoffs. I wouldn't bet on it! They are an awakened monster with a grudge. They can play anyway you'd like. Physical no problem, speed no problem, smart checking and superior ice leadership make them a contender.

3. Minnesota Wild......... Your kidding right. Starting with a long undefeated string and as Manny Fernandez joins the elite of NHL Goal Tending 5-0, 1.63 GAA, .943SV%. Killer special teams play and even strength scoring depth. Surprised. I know I am.

2. Anaheim Ducks..... The best Blue Line combo in NHL History forced the Detroit Red Wings into stupid penalties just to try and keep up. Defensive hockey under the new rules is a treat to watch when it is as well executed as this teams. Carlyle has brought along the young talent splendidly. Kunitz, Perry, Getzlaf are as disciplined as any set of youngsters I've ever seen.

1. Buffalo Sabres........ 7-0. The complete package. The new NHL done right. Speed, speed and more speed. Awesome goalie play from Miller and Drury is on fire. The complete dismantling of the Flyers lead to an upheveal in that organization. Folks it doesn't get any scarier than this bunch. Salary Cap problems were just an illusion it seems. If there's a better team in the league I haven't seen it. I've watched every team at least once, most several times. The Sabres are clearly the top team and something really special is going on in Buffalo.

posted by skydivedad to commentary at 06:09 PM - 0 comments

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