Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: All Caps
Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: All Caps
The NHL All-Star break is just about a week away, so it’s another chance to rest, reflect and agree upon which teams are winning and losing this season. The clear-cut “winner” this season thus far is the Washington Capitals, who have done just about everything right while continuing to play hard through doldrums portion of the schedule.
The Blackhawks just finished up a 12-game winning streak that pushed them back up into the top of the Central Division, and the Los Angeles Kings rebounded from a sluggish start to once again look like a formidable group with championship cachet when it comes to the playoffs this spring.
On the other hand, can the Columbus Blue Jackets do anything right? Sure the Oilers again find themselves near the bottom of the NHL, and the Toronto Maple Leafs are doing a fine job of pseudo-tanking for Auston Matthews. But the Blue Jackets have a goalie in Sergei Bobrovsky that keeps getting hurt, and now their hard-driving coach, John Tortorella, is on the injured list after Rene Bourque plowed into him during an outdoor practice on Friday.
I’ve got to imagine Bourque isn’t planning on getting any cushy assignments from Torts again anytime soon. You just can’t make this stuff up.
Without further ado here are this week’s power rankings:
1. Washington Capitals (35-8-3, last week: 1) - About the only thing that can derail the runaway Capitals right now is Braden Holtby getting dehydrated. That’s it.
2. Chicago Blackhawks (32-15-4, LW: 3) – The Blackhawks made their move with a 12-game winning streak, but got tripped up a bit in their road swing through Florida with losses to the Lightning and Panthers.
3. Dallas Stars (30-13-5, LW: 2) – The Stars are still up among the elite, but a 2-5-2 record in January is a warning sign that they might be more pretender than contender.
4. Los Angeles Kings (29-14-3, LW: 4) – The Kings shouldn’t lose again now that Anze Kopitar won’t have to answer questions from the pesky media about his contract extension anymore. At least that’s the Sutter logic.
5. Florida Panthers (27-15-5, LW: 5) – The shutout win over the Blackhawks was impressive as Florida looks like they’re for real in the Atlantic Division.
6. St. Louis Blues (28-15-8, LW: 6) – The All-Star break can’t come soon enough for a team that’s limping in it with injuries, and trade rumors, all around them.
7. Tampa Bay Lightning (26-17-4, LW: 11) – The Bolts have won seven games in a row, and finally look like they’re ready to make their move in the Atlantic Division.
8. Detroit Red Wings (24-15-8, LW: 8) – Jeff Blashill is doing a good enough job with the Red Wings that Pierre McGuire should recognize that bald head anywhere.
9. New York Rangers (26-16-5, LW: 10) – The Power of the Paille is now with the Blueshirts. Let’s see how this all plays out.
10. New York Islanders (25-15-6, LW: 10) – Jaroslav Halak heating up for the Isles, who have taken seven out of eight possible points in their last four games.
11. Boston Bruins (24-17-5, LW: 14) – The Bruins haven’t lost more than three games in a row this season, which is pretty amazing given the ups and downs.
12. Minnesota Wild (23-16-8, LW: 9) – The Wild are 3-6-1 in their last 10 games, and are struggling in the dog days.
13. Colorado Avalanche (25-21-3, LW: 16) – The Avs have won three in a row, and sit in a playoff spot in the Western Conference. It’s been quite an interesting year for Patrick Roy’s crew, who had to work hard to get back up to this level.
14. New Jersey Devils (24-19-5, LW: 21) – Looks like they’ve finally figured out how to win without Mike Cammalleri, and three wins in a row have them back in a playoff spot.
15. San Jose Sharks (24-18-3, LW: 15) – The Sharks and the Bruins are the only two teams in playoff spots with losing records on home ice this season.
16. Vancouver Canucks (20-17-11, LW: 23) – The method behind Vancouver’s wins defies explanation as they’re being outshot, and even outplayed in some instances. But the points are coming for them right now.
17. Pittsburgh Penguins (22-17-7, LW: 18) – Let’s see how Carl Hagelin does now that he’s been granted an audience with Sidney Crosby.
18. Carolina Hurricanes (21-20-8, LW: 17) – Ron Francis will have some interesting decisions at the trade deadline with a team that’s all of a sudden looking like they could be at least a partial buyer, as well as a seller.
19. Montreal Canadiens (23-20-4, LW: 13) – What a disaster. They’ve lost 17 of their last 21 games, and had all week to stew over that loss to the Bruins.
20. Ottawa Senators (22-20-6, LW: 20) – Ottawa and Columbus are the only two teams that have allowed more than 150 goals this season, so the Senators have some work to do.
21. Philadelphia Flyers (20-17-8, LW: 19) – The Flyers need to finish strong on what’s been a pretty good 5-3-1 month of January.
22. Nashville Predators (21-18-8, LW: 22) – Apparently Nashville isn’t done with their dealing, and they’re quickly sinking out of the playoff picture despite their seismic trade of Seth Jones.
23. Arizona Coyotes (22-19-5, LW: 12) – Just when it looked like the Coyotes were playoff material, they drop four games in a row and can’t even properly dispose of All-Star captain John Scott.
24. Anaheim Ducks (20-18-7, LW: 24) – The sad truth is that for all of their pathetic play this season, Anaheim still has a fair chance of cracking the playoff barrier. What a world that Pacific Division is this season.
25. Calgary Flames (21-21-3, LW: 25) – Hey, at least they’re really, really good in the 3-on-3 overtime.
26. Winnipeg Jets (21-23-3, LW: 26) – Blake Wheeler isn’t mad at the Jets. He’s just really, really disappointed.
27. Toronto Maple Leafs (17-20-8, LW: 28) – Auston Matthews is starting to become the topic of discussion in Toronto, so that lets you know where they’re at right about now.
28. Buffalo Sabres (19-25-4, LW: 28) – I saw that Jack Eichel did an ad for Tim Horton’s up in Buffalo. I wonder if it felt like he was cheating on Dunkin’ Donuts.
29. Edmonton Oilers (19-25-5, LW: 29) – It’s about time for the Oil to start selling off the expendables and thinking about next year…again.
30. Columbus Blue Jackets (17-27-4, LW: 30) – The sight of John Tortorella down on the ice with cracked ribs after a collision in practice is just another in a long line of sorry sights for the Blue Jackets this season. It’s been such a bad two years for this group.