Posts Tagged ‘Los Angeles Kings’

A Bit Too Much Faith?

June 26th, 2011

Much has been made of the two blockbuster trades made on Thursday that saw the Philadelphia Flyers send captain Mike Richards and sniper Jeff Carter to Los Angeles and Columbus, respectively.

The return? Youth and potential.

Jakub Voracek, Wayne Simmonds, Brayden Schenn, a future 2nd round draft pick (from Los Angeles), and the 8th and 68th overall picks in the 2011 NHL Entry Draft (both from Columbus).

That’s a whole lot of unproven potential, although I’ll acknowledge Schenn is about as close to a slam dunk as a 19-year old prospect can be.

The Flyers change of direction, moving towards youth and the future, is an interesting one, but perhaps one that puts too much faith in their organization.

» Read more: A Bit Too Much Faith?

Some Random Hockey Thoughts

November 20th, 2010

Good evening.

I’m not very good at remembering to post links to my other (less ridiculous) work. So instead I’m going to post several links below with the hope that you read them, as well as the promise that I’ll try to update these links daily on Stayclassy. Anyways…

I’d like to bring your attention to some random hockey thoughts I recently wrote. The thoughts concern Carey Price’s strong play this year and how I think it’s masking how badly the Montreal Candiens screwed up the Jaroslav Halak trade, in addition to whether Steve Stamkos can hit the 70 goal plateau this year (for the record, I put this up before everyone else started the 50-50 club talk… followers!) and the sweet, sweet irony of Marc Savard’s eventual return to Boston (hint: it’s going to affect both Greg and Colin Campbell).

Read the whole thing here.

As well, I wrote about the former 2007 2nd overall pick James van Riemsdyk and why I think he could be the odd man out in Philadelphia sooner than later. There doesn’t seem to be room for him, considering the strong group of forwards the Flyers have (in addition to the emergence of Claude Giroux). If (and that’s a big if) the Flyers traded JVR, I believe they could get some salary cap relief, in addition to a mid-late 1st round draft pick.

Read “James van Riems-Trade” here.

Lastly, when you think of teams who sign their core players to long-term contracts, you think of the Chicago Blackhawks, Philadelphia Flyers and Pittsburgh Penguins. Obviously the Penguins and Blackhawks are recent Stanley Cup Champions, while the Flyers came pretty close too. And then you have the Vancouver Canucks who have locked up their core players, minus the same kind of results as the teams I mentioned. Interesting. And then you see “buzz teams” like the St. Louis Blues and Los Angeles Kings doing the same thing, with even less results than the Canucks. NHL General Managers are in a tough place these days.

Read “Long-Term Faith” here.

And one final note today… RIP Pat Burns. Burns was a terrific coach who made such a huge impact wherever he went. The hockey world lost an amazing ambassador yesterday.

Stay classy, Pat Burns.

Stayclassy.net scores?

September 20th, 2010

I have some pretty cool news to share. Perhaps I should insert a disclaimer saying “Well, I think it’s cool.”

Some of you might already know and some might not (I mentioned this on Twitter and Facebook a few days ago). As of last week, I’m an official contributor or writer or guy who types stuff on The Score’s newly relaunched hockey blog, “Houses of The Hockey.” Bookmark it now. I’ll wait. While I wait, I’m contractually obligated to tell you how amazing this site will be.

Now that you’ve bookmarked the site or added it to your RSS reader or whatever you cool kids do these days, let’s continue.

Essentially, I’ll be writing anywhere from one to two articles per week on “HOTH,” once the NHL season officially gets underway. And if I actually want to impress the super awesome and incredibly good looking people at The Score, I might aim for three articles per week (Ha – Yeah right!). Here’s the thing: all the content you’ll see and read on HOTH will be completely new and independent from anything here on Stayclassy.net.

Actually, that’s not 100% true. I fully intend on recycling bad jokes across both sites.

Something else I should clarify: Stayclassy.net isn’t going anywhere. In fact, I should take this time to reaffirm that nothing will stop Stayclassy. Not a lack of hockey stories, potential NHL lockouts or even Stephane Auger!

Actually, that’s not 100% true either. Laziness will definitely kill Stayclassy.

For people twisted (read: nice) enough to read my “work,” this actually means you’ll be getting more Stayclassy than ever before.

On second thought, that’s probably not a good thing.

My articles on HOTH will be slightly more serious and sort of “insightful,” whereas my Stayclassy content will continue to be ridiculous, immature and borderline embarrassing. And to prove this, here are links to articles I’ve already written for HOTH:

Season Preview: Los Angeles Kings
Season Preview: Ottawa Senators (and at least 30% nicer than my ViewFromMySeats-Sens write up from a few weeks ago!)

Yeah… season previews aren’t the most exciting thing ever, but I made up for that with cool pictures and lyrics to your favourite rock songs. Once we (the HOTH team and I) get through the team previews (I have two more: the Lightning on Sept 23rd and the Leafs on the 27th), the “carte blanche” topics can come out.

Major mistake by The Score. Giving me carte blanche on content direction might be the worst decision they’ll ever make.

I’ve been fortunate to enjoy several cool opportunities as a result of doing Stayclassy.net. I owe a huge thanks to everyone who’s read, commented, tweeted, liked and helped Stayclassy.net along the way.

Stay classy, Houses of The Hockey and The Score.

Other people and organizations DownGoesBrown can write for

July 28th, 2010

Hockey news in late July is pretty slim (read: Not Wellwood). And then yesterday a number of hockey stories broke all at once. The signings of Alexei Ponikarovsky and Alex Frolov (Kovalchuk-Lite versions 1 and 2), Max Talbot referring to Alex Ovechkin as a hygienic instrument and of course the big story, DownGoesBrown now writing for the National Post!

(Check out his debut article here).

As many in the online hockey community noted yesterday, this is crazy-awesome news. Kudos to the National Post for doing something different and bringing something fresh to their audience. Following this news, I had many contacts reach out and inform me that DGB’s writing skills could be hugely valuable within NHL circles. My mind began racing and I started calling my insiders to learn as much as I could.

So in light of his new writing gig, here’s a few other people and organizations DGB can write for:

  • New Jersey Devils: Apparently Lou Lamoriello and the rest of the New Jersey Devils are having some trouble writing a simple 17-year contract for a player I’m not overly familiar with. I’m pretty sure DGB could take a look through the existing contract and jam in a few subtle points to make it stick with the league.
  • Kyle Wellwood: We are a full month into free agency and Kyle Wellwood has been offered as many NHL contracts as he’s ordered salads this summer. Maybe DGB can work with Wellwood’s agent to write a pamphlet outlining some of Kyle’s core skills. Skills like “Ability to weave in-and-out of impatient McDonald’s lines on free Big Mac day” and “Literally wrestling every last piece of fried chicken out of the KFC stand just outside of Sunday’s Nascar event.”
  • Junior Hockey Stars: It would be nice of DGB to help prepare top junior stars for the NHL by giving solid advice and handing out reality checks to those who need it. For example, DGB could address how being drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs isn’t the end of your career. It just means your NHL career won’t truly begin until you are traded in lopsided exchange that further empties Toronto’s depth chart.
  • NHL11: Later this summer EA Sports will release NHL11 to gamers and hockey fans across the world. If EA Sports are smart, they’ll enlist DGB to write a eulogy script for the game’s announcers each time users try to trade for Phil Kessel.
  • Alexei Ponikarovsky: It took nearly a month for free agent Alexei Ponikarovsky to get a contract offer. Given Ponikarovsky’s disappointing results during a brief stint with Pittsburgh last year, the Los Angeles Kings might want to have DGB add a quick blurb in Poni’s contract about the NHL season mattering after February. On second thought, with DGB being a loyal Leafs fan, maybe he’s not the right guy for this assignment after all…
  • Edmonton Oilers Prospects: Everyone knows about the Edmonton Oilers history of winning, great fans and star players with no trade clauses. For young Edmonton prospects, they have no choice – their rights belong to the Oilers. DGB could help educate these inexperienced players that traditionally, you can demand a trade out of Edmonton once you feel like you’ve carried the team for a few years or weeks. DGB will be sure to note that you are obligated to cry like a baby at a press conference when this happens.
  • New York Rangers: Glen Sather confuses the hell out of everyone. It’s clear he could use a translator of sorts – someone who can eloquently explain his logic for trades and signings. Basically, Sather and the Rangers need DGB to explain how prized UFA signing Derek Boogaard is worth roughly 1/25th of Ilya Kovalchuk.
  • Ottawa Senators Goaltending Coach: Recently the Ottawa Senators hired Rick Wamsley as their new goaltending coach. It would be wise of the Senators to have DGB explain to fans that Wamsley probably won’t take part in Bryan Murray’s annual “Blame someone else February firings”… this season.

Stay classy, DownGoesBrown. The National Post just got a lot better!

Reaction to Ilya Kovalchuk’s contract across the NHL

July 20th, 2010

In what has to have been the most uneventful, painful and drawn out free agent signing in recent memory, Ilya Kovalchuk finally signed with the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday. Kovalchuk put us all out of our misery by selecting the Devils over the Los Angeles Kings and even the New York Islanders by agreeing to an NHL record 17-year contract estimated to be worth more than $102 Million. That’s the good news.

The bad news is hockey analysts will be evaluating this contract for the next … (term of contract X number of days in hockey season / number of boring CBA reports + lack of other talented free agents) … 200 Billion years (give or take).

Regardless, this contract sets a huge precedent for the league moving forward and is sure to draw lots of reaction. Luckily for you, I’ve been able to tap into the minds of players, GMs, coaches and insiders around the NHL to see what they really think of Kovalchuk’s signing:

Martin Brodeur, New Jersey Devils goaltender
“Hey cool! My kids might be able to play with Kovalchuk once Lamoriello finishes tattooing the Devils logo on them.”

Alex Kovalev, Ottawa Senators anchor
“I thought I was the real Kovy???”

Zach Parise, only offensive forward New Jersey has ever drafted
*Insane laughter*

Exploded jam jar, first of many Lamoriello thrown jam jars
“Oh no. More of my friends might hit the wall in years to come…”

Bobby Ryan, soon-to-be former Anaheim Duck forward
“Hey Don Meehan, maybe I should replace you with Jay Grossman. I’ll get my big time pay raise and loads of free hype online.”

Allan Walsh, “How to keep star goalies in Montreal” author
“Did someone say something about Twitter???”

Bill Daly, Gary Bettman’s right hand man
*Get’s brain freeze after looking at Kovalchuk’s contract, similar to the kind you get after eating too much Dairy Queen* “Gary, have you seen this??”

Gary Bettman, NHL owners right hand man
“I have Bill. Can you put out a press release that says we are diligently looking into this contract? Don’t worry this is just a formality. You can go back to sleep once you finish doing this.”

Simon Gagne, benefactor of Steve Yzerman’s sharp negotiating skills
“Am I still traded to Tampa if the NHL rejects this contract?”

Eklund, ???
“When I said the Islanders Kings were going to get Kovalchuk, I meant the Devils. Obviously.”

Zach Parise, awesome player who detests Hockey Canada
*Even more insane laughter*

Steve Tambellini, guy who took 6 months to select the kid we all thought he would
“I’m pretty sure Taylor Hall will retire before Kovalchuk’s contract ends…”

Dean Lombardi, Not-so-good negotiator
“We didn’t want you anyways, Ilya. I digress… Los Angeles is the new Edmonton.”

Charles Wang, crazy-ass owner of the New York Islanders
“I love that my GM is starting to think like me with these long term contract offers.”

Garth Snow, Wang 2.0
“I think I’m really impressing my boss!”

Steve Tambellini, another guy the Oilers will never fire
“…I forgot to add… Obviously not as an Oiler.”

Zach Parise, future former New Jersey Devil
“Wait. Does this mean you aren’t resigning me, Lou?”

Stay classy, Ilya Kovalchuk. For 17 more years.

If LeBron James played in the NHL

July 9th, 2010

Finally the LeBron James fiasco is over. James, Dwyane Wade and some other “star” have all signed with the Miami Heat. I guess that’s the NHL equivalent of Sidney Crosby, Alexander Ovechkin and Manny Malholtra all signing with Washington (or some other team). Man, what a disaster for sports. Anyways I’m sure hockey fans around the world were wondering the same as me on Thursday night: “What if LeBron James played in the NHL?” Luckily, you have your answers:

  • TSN would air a day-long broadcast complete with instant analysis from Bob McKenzie, Darren Dreger and two former NHLers named Mike who no one remembers.
  • The Ottawa Senators wouldn’t show interest in a non-Russian born star who isn’t far removed from his prime.
  • If Darryl Sutter hasn’t signed him before, he’s not going to now!
  • The Vancouver Canucks would offer to retire his jersey with a nice ceremony set for next season. Even if his career ends up being just OK.
  • Simon Gagne would still be asked to waive his no trade clause for completely unrelated reasons.
  • The Los Angeles Kings wouldn’t have interest in him. But then they would. And then they wouldn’t. And then they would… Oh god! Make it stop already!
  • LeBron James is definitely the solution to get the Lighthouse Project afloat.
  • The Montreal Canadiens bid for James would inevitably come up short.
  • Strangely, Philadelphia-based “insiders” would rate the odds of James ending up a Flyer a solid e4 or higher.
  • The Toronto Maple Leafs would have little to no interest in James. Not because he’s an excellent player or financial commitments to other players but because he’s not a defenseman.
  • Gary Bettman would declare the intense coverage of LeBron-gate a successful part of the NHL’s expansion strategy.

Stay classy, LeBron James.

Burgundy’s 1st round NHL playoff predictions

April 14th, 2010

Stayclassy.net's NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs

Tonight marks the beginning of the NHL’s 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Like everyone else, I’d like to make my predictions for the 1st round. Before breaking down each series, I have two things to say. Firstly, I don’t hate any of the Canadian teams, however, I don’t like Vancouver, Montreal, or Ottawa’s chances. Secondly, I’m far more interested in the Western Conference series than the Eastern Conference series. This means two things. 1- I won’t be getting much sleep for the next few weeks. 2- I’ll be on Twitter a lot and look forward to talking Playoffs with all of you!

Washington Capitals (1) vs Montreal Canadiens (8)
I read about Tomas Plekanec’s quotes from the other day. I don’t understand why he’s playing these silly games, but whatever. He better bury a few goals on Washington or egg will be on his face, goatee and turtleneck. Sure, Montreal probably has the edge in goaltending, but Theordore’s play this year has been pretty good. Honestly, I don’t think Montreal has any chance in this series. Even if Jaroslav Halak plays like he did at the Olympics, Washington will be too much for Montreal’s slow defence. Alex Ovechkin has something to prove and Nickolas Backstrom is fresh off his best season in his young NHL career.
Verdict: Washington in 5 games.

New Jersey Devils (2) vs Philadelphia Flyers (7)
This series could go either way. On one hand, you have a legendary goalie in Marty Brodeur versus 3rd-stringer Brian Boucher (advantage Devils). On the other hand, you have Ilya Kovalchuk/Zach Parise versus Danny Briere/Jeff Carter/Mike Richards/Simon Gagne and more (advantage Flyers). I like Philadelphia’s defence a little more than New Jersey’s, too. And because Chris Pronger has a strong reputation for helping teams over the hump in Playoffs, I have to side with the Flyers as my upset team in the East.
Verdict: Philadelphia in 7 games.

Buffalo Sabres (3) vs Boston Bruins (6)
Boston’s well documented  scoring troubles and Buffalo’s all-star goalie Ryan Miller combine for a tough challenge for the Bruins. In addition, the Bruins announced the possibility of Marc Savard’s return to the team no earlier than in the 2nd round of the playoffs. Given the challenges Boston has faced this year (off years for certain players and injuries), making the Playoffs is a considerable feat. I don’t think they have any chance against the well oiled machine that is the Buffalo Sabres. On a slightly different note, it should be interesting to see which rookie proves most valuable to their respective teams between Tyler Myers and Tuukka Rask.
Verdict: Buffalo in 5 games.

Pittsburgh Penguins (4) vs Ottawa Senators (5)
This is a tough match-up for the Ottawa Senators when you consider a 6th place finish would have put them up against the Sabres, a team they’ve dominated for years. The obvious storyline for this series is goaltending: Brian Elliott versus Marc-Andre Fleury. As a fan of the Senators, I’m under no illusions, Pittsburgh will win this series, the question is how many games will it take. SensChirp (a blog I respect) believes Ottawa stacks up pretty closely with Pittsburgh. Some of the points are valid, but I’m not sure Ottawa’s defence is that much better than Pittsburgh’s, nor do I believe Ottawa can out-coach the defending Stanley Cup Champions.
Verdict: Pittsburgh in 6 games.

San Jose Sharks (1) vs Colorado Avalanche (8)
I really like the Colorado Avalanche and no, I didn’t think they’d come remotely close to making the playoffs prior to the 09-10 season starting. Having said that, I see the Sharks experience and grit over-powering the young Avalanche. The Avalanche strike me as a team very satisfied with their season whereas the Sharks have known all year that their Playoff results is what really matters. I like some of the role players San Jose has acquired between last season and now (guys like Jed Ortmeyer, Scott Nichol, Niclas Wallin, etc…). I believe these guys, along with Patrick Marleau, Dan Boyle and Rob Blake will be difference makers in this series. Also, I’m concerned for Colorado that star goalie Craig Anderson might be a bit burned out from his first regular season as a starting goalie.
Verdict: San Jose in 6 games.

Chicago Blackhawks (2) vs Nashville Predators (7)
Most of us could make a living from underestimating the Nashville Predators. And although the Predators are a team built so well for the Playoffs, I simply cannot bet against the Chicago Blackhawks. People will question the Hawk’s goaltending and while it’s been suspect at times this season, I don’t think it’s as bad as everyone makes it out to be. It’s easily the weakest part of the Hawks roster, but that’s easy to say when you look at their forwards and defence depth. Chicago’s hurting with injuries to their defence, but I believe their talent up front will carry the load in this series. I look for Patrick Kane to lead the way in points and clutch plays.
Verdict: Chicago in 6 games.

Vancouver Canucks (3) vs Los Angeles Kings (6)
Alright Canucks fans, don’t hate me for saying this, but I think the Kings are going to beat the Canucks. Don’t get me wrong, this is the best team (by far) the Canucks have put together in years. But with all the pressure on them, their injuries at defence and Roberto Luongo’s inconsistencies, I don’t have a good feeling for the Canucks. I know the Canucks beat the Kings three times this year, but I think the Kings move pucks better and faster than Vancouver and have a quick transition game that will burn the slower Canucks defence. I know Jonathan Quick’s play recently hasn’t been good, but I don’t see that as a factor in this series. Simply put, the Kings are loose and Vancouver know they need a solid post-season run this year.
Verdict: Los Angeles in 7 games.

Phoenix Coyotes (4) vs Detroit Red Wings (5)
This might be the most intriguing 1st round match-up this year. Like I said with the Avalanche, I believe the Coyotes are satisfied with their season and won’t have the same drive the Red Wings will. Ilya Bryzgalov shed his reputation of burning out down the regular season stretch from previous years, but I can’t help but wonder if he’s at all fatigued from this season. He’s finally gotten used to playing 60-70 regular season games per year, but that’s without playoffs. I think Detroit are too strong and too experienced for the young up-tempo Coyotes. And with Jimmy Howard’s play over the second half of the season, he looks poised to have a great Playoff performance. I don’t like betting against this Phoenix team, but dislike betting against Detroit even more.
Verdict: Detroit in 6 games.

There you have it. These are my 1st round predictions. What are your predictions?

Stay classy, NHL Playoffs.

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NHL Classy Power Rankings – Week 20

February 15th, 2010

Welcome to the final Classy Power Rankings prior to the Olympics! This week, the Boston Bruins, Philadelphia Flyers and Ottawa Senators move up, while the Tampa Bay Lightning and Minnesota Wild take a slide downwards.

Scroll down to see how your favourite teams measure up at the break. Please note this will be the last Power Rankings for a few weeks – the Classy Power Rankings will return on Monday March 8th, once the NHL season resumes.

NHL Classy Power Rankings – Week 20

30.  Edmonton Oilers (last week: 30)
29.  Toronto Maple Leafs (last week: 28)
28.  New York Islanders (last week: 27)
27.  Carolina Hurricanes (last week: 29)
26.  Florida Panthers (last week: 26)

The Carolina Hurricanes have been playing their best hockey of the season recently, going 8-2 in their last 10 games. All this while the Toronto Maple Leafs lost both of their games this week. In other news, the Florida Panthers management recently sent out a letter to all season ticket holders explaining large changes will be made to their roster soon. Hmmmm…

25.  Columbus Blue Jackets (last week: 25)
24.  Atlanta Thrashers (last week: 23)
23.  Tampa Bay Lightning (last week: 17)
22.  New York Rangers (last week: 22)
21.  Montreal Canadiens (last week: 18)

The Tampa Bay Lightning keep bouncing in and out of playoff contention with inconsistent play. The New York Rangers have won two straight games and are just outside of the 8th spot in the East. The Montreal Canadiens, who are holding down the 8th position in the Conference, traded a second round draft pick for Dominic Moore (of the Panthers)… why do teams keep trading second round draft picks for Moore?

20.  Minnesota Wild (last week: 16)
19.  St. Louis Blues (last week: 21)
18.  Boston Bruins (last week: 24)
17.  Anaheim Ducks (last week: 19)
16.  Detroit Red Wings (last week: 14)

The Boston Bruins seem to have found their stride, having won their last four games, while the Anaheim Ducks continue to move closer to the playoffs. Ryan Getzlaf appears to be OK after having a sprained ankle scare earlier this week. At this point in the Western Conference, I’m starting to believe the Ducks are the only team outside of the playoffs who can make the post-season.

15.  Philadelphia Flyers (last week: 20)
14.  Dallas Stars (last week: 15)
13.  Calgary Flames (last week: 12)
12.  Nashville Predators (last week: 13)
11.  Buffalo Sabres (last week: 11)

This is where it gets tight. The Philadelphia Flyers have done a nice job moving up, thanks to four straight wins.  The Dallas Stars, Buffalo Sabres, Nashville Predators and Calgary Flames all remain in the top 15 going into the Olympic break.

10.  Pittsburgh Penguins (last week: 9)
9.  Ottawa Senators (last week: 10)
8.  Colorado Avalanche (last week: 8)
7.  Vancouver Canucks (last week: 7)
6.  New Jersey Devils (last week: 6)

The Ottawa Senators move up one spot this week thanks to big wins over the Capitals and Islanders. The New Jersey Devils, Colorado Avalanche and New Jersey Devils stay pat in their respective positions.

5.  Phoenix Coyotes (last week: 5)
4.  Los Angeles Kings (last week: 3)
3.  Chicago Blackhawks (last week: 4)
2.  San Jose Sharks (last week: 2)
1.  Washington Capitals (last week: 1)

The Los Angeles Kings and Chicago Blackhawks swap positions this week, while the San Jose Sharks and Washington Capitals hold down the top two positions in the Classy Power Rankings. The Blackhawks, Sharks and Capitals are starting to pull away from the pack in the NHL points race. They are the class of the league.

Stay classy, NHL Power Rankings.

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NHL Classy Power Rankings – Week 19

February 8th, 2010

In a week that saw the Ottawa Senators and Phoenix Coyotes win streaks snapped, the Los Angeles Kings and Washington Capitals continued theirs with come from behind victories over the weekend! This past week also saw a few trades made between the Flyers/Red Wings, Rangers/Flames and Hurricanes/Sharks. Read below to find out who was dealt.

This week, the Buffalo Sabres and Florida Panthers suffer drops while the Tampa Bay Lightning, Vancouver Canucks, Colorado Avalanche and Los Angeles Kings all move up in the Classy Rankings.

NHL Classy Power Rankings – Week 19

30.  Edmonton Oilers (last week: 30)
29.  Carolina Hurricanes (last week: 28)
28.  Toronto Maple Leafs (last week: 29)
27.  New York Islanders (last week: 26)
26.  Florida Panthers (last week: 17)

It was a busy week for this group of teams last week. The Toronto Maple Leafs ushered in a few new faces (with immediate impact) and the Carolina Hurricanes traded Nicolas Wallin to the San Jose Sharks. The Edmonton Oilers won two games and Sheldon Souray has reportedly given the team a list of trade destinations he’d lift his no trade clause for. There are some other reports that indicate the Oilers could be close to dealing captain Ethan Moreau.

25.  Columbus Blue Jackets (last week: 27)
24.  Boston Bruins (last week: 25)
23.  Atlanta Thrashers (last week: 21)
22.  New York Rangers (last week: 24)
21.  St. Louis Blues (last week: 20)

Obviously, the Boston Bruins are the standout club in this group of under achieving teams. It’s looking more and more possible that Boston will have two top 10 draft picks this summer at the NHL Entry Draft. The Columbus Blue Jackets finally fired coach Ken Hitchcock – a decision that seemed like it had been coming since week two of the season. Oh, and Glen Sather traded for Olli Jokinen… another sound move by the GM Mark Messier will eventually replace.

20.  Philadelphia Flyers (last week: 18)
19.  Anaheim Ducks (last week: 19)
18.  Montreal Canadiens (last week: 22)
17.  Tampa Bay Lightning (last week: 23)
16.  Minnesota Wild (last week: 16)

The Philadelphia Flyers added more forward depth trading for Red Wings forward Ville Leino (yeah – that’s exactly what they needed, more forwards!). One has to wonder if they have any trades up their sleeves prior to the March 3rd NHL trade deadline. The Tampa Bay Lightning jump up this week with three straight wins and a terrific home record. Don’t look now, but Rich Tocchet has the Lightning sitting 7th in the Eastern Conference. In other Lightning news, they appear to have a new owner who’s almost guaranteed to “not suck as much” as the previous ownership group, OK Hockey.

15.  Dallas Stars (last week: 15)
14.  Detroit Red Wings (last week: 13)
13.  Nashville Predators (last week: 12)
12.  Calgary Flames (last week: 14)
11.  Buffalo Sabres (last week: 5)

The Calgary Flames have started to turn things around a bit, following a big time roster shake up. As of writing this, they find themselves back in the playoffs. The Buffalo Sabres suffer a big drop this week after losing their last four games. Also, the Detroit Red Wings traded Ville Leino to Philadelphia on Saturday as a way to clear cap space for Johan Franzen.

10.  Ottawa Senators (last week: 10)
The Ottawa Senators won two of three games last week, keeping them in the Weekly top 10. The Sens managed to set a franchise best 11 game winning streak… and then blew it to the Leafs on Saturday night. When you consider all the strong rosters the Senators have had over the last decade, did you ever think this year’s club was the one who could win 11 straight games? Ottawa’s previous best was eight straight wins. And a day after the disastrous 5-0 loss to the Leafs, Jonathan Cheechoo won the shooting accuracy event at the Sens skills competition on Sunday hitting four targets in four shots. By the way, Cheechoo has five goals all year… with only 111 shots taken. OK, I’ll stop.

9.  Pittsburgh Penguins (last week: 9)
It was a rough weekend for the Pittsburgh Penguins after laying an egg in Montreal on Saturday afternoon, enduring a very rough journey to Washington for a second straight afternoon game and blowing a two goal lead to the Capitals. It’s not all bad news though. Defenseman Alex Goligoski is getting better and better for the Penguins while Sidney Crosby is only three goals shy of the NHL scoring lead.

8.  Colorado Avalanche (last week: 11)
The Colorado Avalanche seem to have a pretty steady supply of rookies who can step in on a whim and do some damage. The Avs continue to play great hockey and Matt Duchene is now the leading goals and points scorer among all NHL rookies. Fun fact: Duchene has scored more times than any Boston Bruin player. In other Avalanche news, apparently Marek Svatos is available with the Leafs and Senators having inquired about him recently.

7.  Vancouver Canucks (last week: 4)
So far, the Vancouver Canucks are 2-2 on their massive road trip. Given how long this road trip is (basically two full weeks prior to the Olympics and one week after the Olympics), if the Canucks can come out of it with a .500 record or better, it should be considered a success. So far, so good. Although it should be noted the Eastern Conference teams are significantly weaker than some of the Western Conference teams they’ll play the week following the Olympics (Hawks, Predators, Red Wings, Avalanche, and Coyotes to name a few).

6.  New Jersey Devils (last week: 8)
Although the New Jersey Devils only won one of three games this week, they acquired one of the top hockey players in the world, Ilya Kovalchuk (albeit for a maximum of five months, for now). As a result, that moves them up the rankings this week. Clearly Devils President Lou Lamoriello believes his club can win the Stanley Cup this year, although the jury is still undecided about Kovalchuk as a playoff performer (Kovalchuk has played just four playoff games in his career).

5.  Phoenix Coyotes (last week: 6)
The Phoenix Coyotes had their six game winning streak snapped on Saturday in a 4-0 loss to the Stars… the running joke being the Coyotes didn’t want to “make it Seven”. And in case you still aren’t sold on the idea of pro hockey in Phoenix, Fox Sports Arizona is reporting TV ratings are up 50 percent this year versus last. I’m sold… a 50 percent increase of a very low number is still, wait… nevermind.

4.  Chicago Blackhawks (last week: 3)
From all reports, it sounds like Antti Niemi has officially grabbed the number one goalie spot on the Chicago Blackhawks. In fact, he currently owns the top goals against average in the league. Although having said that, I’m not sure the Hawks allow the Niemi/Huet goalie tandem to go unchanged heading into the playoffs. Remember, it’s Cup or bust for this team this year.

3.  Los Angeles Kings (last week: 7)
The Los Angeles Kings have strung 10 nine straight wins together and are sitting comfortably in 4th place in the Western Conference. Why some Kings fans may be disappointed the team didn’t trade for Ilya Kovalchuk this week, I believe it was the right decision not to. This Kings team doesn’t need to panic or change anything they are doing at the moment. Fun fact: Drew Doughty is second on the team in scoring with 42 points in 58 games. Unreal.

2.  San Jose Sharks (last week: 2)
Only in the “parity filled” NHL can a team go 8-1-1 in their last 10 games and fly under the radar. Especially with the Capitals and Kings going on huge winning streaks. The San Jose Sharks lost only four times in January! The Niclas Wallin trade is now complete, following a few days worth of speculation. Wallin’s contract was not extended beyond this season (it was speculated this was the reason the deal had been held up for a few days).

1.  Washington Capitals (last week: 1)
As if their 14 game winning streak wasn’t enough, I’m still blown away by what had to the game of the year yesterday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Alex Ovechkin showed why he is the most exciting player in the world and the Capitals reminded the NHL to never count them out of a hockey game. Do you think the Capitals can make it to the Olympic break without losing? They have three more games remaining against the Canadiens, Senators, and Blues. Should they win each of these games, they’ll tie an NHL record for 17 straight wins with… the 92/93 Pittsburgh Penguins.

Stay classy, NHL Power Rankings.

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NHL Classy Power Rankings – Week 18

February 1st, 2010

Here we go, week 18 of the NHL Classy Power Rankings! This week, there’s a new number one team with huge jumps from the red hot Ottawa Senators, Vancouver Canucks, and the high flying Los Angeles Kings.

The result of the Senators, Canucks, and Kings pushing into the top 10 means a few slides for the Colorado Avalanche and Nashville Predators. The New York Islanders are among the week’s biggest drops with a current 5-game losing streak.

NHL Classy Power Rankings – Week 18

30.  Edmonton Oilers (last week: 30)
29.  Toronto Maple Leafs (last week: 29)
28.  Carolina Hurricanes (last week: 28)
27.  Columbus Blue Jackets (last week: 27)
26.  New York Islanders (last week: 20)

Virtually the same bottom 5 as last week, with the addition of the New York Islanders, who slide 6 spots after dropping 5 straight games. Of these bottom teams, there’s a few things to note since last week. First of all, Sheldon Souray fractured his hand on Saturday night. The Oilers obviously won’t be able to trade Souray at the deadline. And of course, the big news from Sunday morning – The Toronto Maple Leafs acquired J.S. Giguere and Dion Phaneuf by swapping out 6 players.

25.  Boston Bruins (last week: 22)
24.  New York Rangers (last week: 19)
23.  Tampa Bay Lightning (last week: 25)
22.  Montreal Canadiens (last week: 17)
21.  Atlanta Thrashers (last week: 26)

Cue the Vincent Lecavalier rumours… it appears the Lightning are in the process of being sold to a new owner and whispers suggest the new owner may (I stress may) want to cut payroll. Instantly, Lecavalier to Montreal/Los Angeles stories are popping up. I highly doubt this. Meanwhile, the Boston Bruins continue to slump with bad goaltending and little scoring. They are 1-7-2 in their last 10 games. For the Rangers, they may (again, I stress may for multiple reasons) get a boost in scoring as a trade with the Calgary Flames has been reported but not yet completed (or may not happen at all).

20.  St. Louis Blues (last week: 24)
19.  Anaheim Ducks (last week: 15)
18.  Philadelphia Flyers (last week: 16)
17.  Florida Panthers (last week: 23)
16.  Minnesota Wild (last week: 21)

The Anaheim Ducks signed Jonas Hiller to a 4-year extension on Saturday and the Florida Panthers got a big boost to their lineup as David Booth returned in Sunday’s win against the Islanders (Booth recorded an assist in his return). The Minnesota Wild have reportedly terminated their 1-year contract with Peter Sykora after he didn’t report to the AHL.

15.  Dallas Stars (last week: 18)
14.  Calgary Flames (last week: 14)
13.  Detroit Red Wings (last week: 13)
12.  Nashville Predators (last week: 10)
11.  Colorado Avalanche (last week: 5)

The Colorado Avalanche and Nashville Predators slip out of the top 10 because of sub-par weeks and big winning streaks by other teams. It will be interesting to see how the Calgary Flames look with 4 new players in their line up. For the record, the Leafs/Flames don’t hook up again until next year… unless they meet in the Stanley Cup Fina… wait. Nevermind. I’ll stop there. They’ll next meet in the 2010-2011 season.

10.  Ottawa Senators (last week: 12)
The red hot Ottawa Senators have won 9 games in a row against some impressive teams. They’ve really set themselves apart from the 6th-13th seeded teams in the Eastern Conference and are 3 points back of Pittsburgh for 4th in the Conference. It’s not all great news for the Senators – Nick Foligno is out for 6-8 weeks with a broken leg after blocking a shot on Saturday.

9.  Pittsburgh Penguins (last week: 8)
It’s hard to knock the Pittsburgh Penguins. For the most part, they play like an experienced playoff team with a pretty deep roster. I’m interested to see what they do between now and the March 3rd trade deadline (some rumours suggest they are looking at Toronto’s Alexei Ponikarovsky).

8.  New Jersey Devils (last week: 4)
The New Jersey Devils have hit a bit of a rough patch lately – they are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games and Martin Brodeur has been showing some signs of shakey goaltending we saw during the conclusion of the Hurricanes/Devils playoff series from last year.

7.  Los Angeles Kings (last week: 11)
The Los Angeles Kings just wrapped up a road trip that saw them go 5-0. They’ve won 6 games in a row and are really starting to gel as a team. Rumours continue to name the Kings as one of the frontrunners for Ilya Kovalchuk, but as of now (Yeah – I sort of buy some of it), there doesn’t seem to be much to the stories.

6.  Phoenix Coyotes (last week: 9)
The Phoenix Coyotes had a nice week topped off by a win in Dallas on Sunday night. It was Dave Tippett’s first time in Dallas  since being fired by the Stars last year. The Coyotes have won 5 of their last 6 games and are starting to get contributions from a few of their young kids.

5.  Buffalo Sabres (last week: 6)
After going winless on their 4 game Western road trip, the Buffalo Sabres turned in 2 straight home victories against Eastern Conference teams. Good timing for the Sabres who now hold significantly reduce 5 point lead on the Northeast Division.

4.  Vancouver Canucks (last week: 7)
The Vancouver Canucks are one of the hottest 3 teams in the league! They’ve just set out on a NHL record 14 game road trip (making way for the Olympics) and are firing on all cylinders. The only question I have for the Canucks right now (beyond what, if any moves they may or may not make at the deadline) is if they are peaking too early in the season.

3.  Chicago Blackhawks (last week: 3)
With Dave Bolland scheduled to return to the line up this week (per Harken), the Chicago Blackhawks will be as close to 100% health as ever. It’s arguably the deepest roster in the NHL, so it will be interesting to see how the players and coach Joe Quennville handles it. Of course there is trade speculation, but we’ll have to see. The Hawks are 6-4 in their last 10 and currently hold a 15 point lead on the Central Division. The team is only 3 points back of the NHL lead in points.

2.  San Jose Sharks (last week: 1)
It’s pretty amazing a team (Capitals) can win 10 games in a row and still not lead the NHL in points. The reason for that is the 8-0-2 record of the San Jose Sharks over their last 10 games. The Sharks have quietly been winning nearly every game they play. In fact, they’ve only lost 10 games all year (in regulation). I’m pretty sure the Edmonton Oilers have dropped more games than that in 2010 alone…

1.  Washington Capitals (last week: 2)
The Washington Capitals are the hottest team in the league with 10 straight wins! The bad news is Mike Green was suspended for 3 games after a bad elbowing incident. In the same game Green suffered a knee injury, however, Capitals insider Tarik El-Bashir believes the injury isn’t too serious.

Stay classy, NHL Power Rankings.

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