Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Kings of the rink
Haggerty's NHL Power Rankings: Kings of the rink
The first couple of games are in the books for the NHL, and the first weekend of hockey action is on tap for all those that couldn’t take the absence any longer. A couple of good signs for the NHL and its continued growth:
*The Flyers/Bruins home opener drew a record 956,000 viewers and a 0.57 household rating for the NBC Sports Network, which made it the highest rated regular season game for the network and the highest rated season opener in record history. Amazingly, Boston was also the second-highest ratings market for NBCSN for the late game between the Kings and Sharks on Wednesday night as well.
The pucks are frozen, the zamboni has a full tank of gas and clearly the people of Boston couldn’t wait to have their hockey back. Game on, and without further ado here are this week’s power rankings:
1. Los Angeles Kings (0-1-0): The puck royalty and defending champs lost on the night they raised their banner, but they’re set up for another robust, successful run in the loaded Western conference.
2. Montreal Canadiens (2-0-0) – Apparently Tomas Plekanec wanted to change the embellishment conversation with three goals in the first two games. That’s good for him, and for the Habs.
3. Chicago Blackhawks (1-0-0) – This just in: Patrick Kane is still awesomely skilled.
4. Anaheim Ducks (0-1-0) – Ryan Kesler already looks like a good fit for a team that’s got nothing to prove in the regular season.
5. Pittsburgh Penguins (1-0-0) – It will be very interesting to see how the Mike Johnston era works out in Steeltown.
6. St. Louis Blues (0-1-0) – Are Brian Elliott and Jake Allen good enough for a team that still relies a fair amount on physical defense?
7. Boston Bruins (1-1-0) – They needed a late third period goal to beat a bad Flyers team, and flat-lined on the road against the Red Wings to start the season. Life without Jarome Iginla, Johnny Boychuk and Shawn Thornton could be rough for a bit both on and off the ice.
8. San Jose Sharks (1-0-0) – One knows it’s a weird situation when it’s a full-time job to keep track of who’s wearing a letter on their sweater for a hockey team. The Sharks are treating Jumbo Joe and Patrick Marleau like house guests that have stayed for too long.
9. New York Rangers (1-0-0) – First Derek Stepan is hurt and now Dan Boyle. The Rangers should be good, but they’re in the fire now with Rick Nash picking up the slack.
10. Tampa Bay Lightning (1-0-0) – I like the game of Radko Gudas, but hits like the one he laid on Scottie Upshall have got to go.
11. Minnesota Wild (1-0-0) – The Wild won’t have to worry too much about their goaltending if they can pin five goals on every team, every night like the beating they dropped on the Avs.
12. Dallas Stars (0-0-1) – The Stars lost an exciting opener in the shootout to the Blackhawks, and one can expect that it’ll be one of many Dallas’ pulse-pounding games this season.
13. Columbus Blue Jackets (1-0-0) - They’ll have to grind their way through injuries to Brandon Dubinsky, Nathan Horton and Boone Jenner, but the Blue Jackets should still be able to stay afloat with a gritty roster.
14. Colorado Avalanche (0-1-0) – The Avs dropped a bomb on opening night against the Wild, and could be in line for a step back this season.
15. Vancouver Canucks (1-0-0) – The Canucks are off to a good start, and I like what they’re doing under Jim Benning and Trevor Linden. There is still plenty of talent on that roster.
16. New York Islanders (0-0-0) – The additions of Johnny Boychuk and Nick Leddy could make the Isles a contender, but they’ve looked good on paper before.
17. Arizona Coyotes (0-1-0) – New team name, same decent Western Conference roster that will probably make the playoffs.
18. Nashville Predators (1-0-0) – Pekka Rinne, Shea Weber, Ryan Ellis, Seth Jones and James Neal should be an interesting nucleus if Mike Ribeiro decides that he wants to play hockey this season.
Checking from Behind
19. Detroit Red Wings (1-0-0) – The Red Wings are about two right-handed shot defensemen away from actually being dangerous, but there’s enough talent to sting with Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Gustav Nyquist among others.
20. Washington Capitals (0-0-1) – The battle of wills between Alex Ovechkin and Barry Trotz will be fascinating to watch.
21. Toronto Maple Leafs (0-1-0) – Relax everybody…the fancy stats guys have got this.
22. Calgary Flames (1-1-0) – Young talent like Johnny Gaudreau and Sean Monahan will make this team fascinating to watch even if they’re still just building things upward.
23. Ottawa Senators (0-1-0) – The jury is very much out as to whether a core group headed by Bobby Ryan and Erik Karlsson is going to carry the Senators back into the playoffs.
24. New Jersey Devils (1-0-0) – Jaromir Jagr took over sixth place on the all-time scoring list with a pair of assists in the opening win. Why do I feel like the season highlights for Jersey will be Jagr breaking records and achieving milestones?
25. Carolina Hurricanes (0-0-0) – Jeff Skinner is concussed and Jordan Staal is out with a serious injury. The Hurricanes are in a tough spot to start the season.
26. Edmonton Oilers (0-1-0) – The Oilers have a great deal to prove to themselves, their fans and those waiting for them to put it all together. Perhaps this will be the year.
27. Winnipeg Jets (1-0-0) – It’s good to see Blake Wheeler drop the purse and pick a fight with Shane Doan in the opener. Maybe he’s looking to take leadership control in the Peg.
28. Buffalo Sabres (0-1-0) – It’s most certainly going to be bad for some time to come in Buffalo, but that’s not so bad when Jack Eichel and Connor McDavid are out there waiting for next season.
29. Florida Panthers (0-0-1) – The Panthers added some new names over the summer, but they’re most definitely going to have to prove it.
30. Philadelphia Flyers (0-2-0) – They still have some good players in Claude Giroux and Wayne Simmonds, but their best defenseman just got hired by the Department of Player Safety. That’s not a good sign.