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Washington Capitals take top spot on Sports Illustrated’s off-season power rankings

Alex Ovechkin

Washington Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin, center, of Russia, celebrates his goal with teammates Nicklas Backstrom, right, of Sweden, Tom Poti (3) and John Carlson (74) against the Montreal Canadiens during the second period of Game 5 of the NHL hockey playoffs, Friday, April 23, 2010, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)


Despite the fact that they ran away with the Presidents Trophy last season, it’s almost refreshing to see a media member sing the praises of the Washington Capitals.

Sports Illustrated’s Allan Muir did just that, placing the apple of Ted Leonsis’s eye No. 1 in his off-season power rankings. Here is what he said about the Caps.

Possibly the most important offseason in club history has been little more than re-signing several young components (Eric Fehr, Tomas Fleischmann and Jeff Schultz, etc.) and sweeping out the trash on the blueline to create real opportunities for John Carlson and Karl Alzner. But honestly, what else did George McPhee need to do? The Caps are loaded up and down the roster. Rather than make some regrettably overpriced free agent acquisition, he can fine tune the engine down the stretch. All things considered, it’s the right approach.

I enjoy the fact that Muir resisted “What have you done for me lately?” syndrome, but many hockey types would agree that there are some questionable decisions on the list. It’s a bit surprising that three of the top four teams are from the Eastern Conference, with only the Chicago Blackhawks coming in at No. 2.

The Los Angeles Kings are an up-and-coming team, but I’m not sure they deserve their No. 7 ranking (oddly enough, Muir “politely disagreed” that the Kings will be contenders ... and then only ranked three Western teams in front of them).

That being said, it’s a pretty solid list and power rankings are frequently good filler reading. Take a look at Muir’s rankings and feel free to let us know which team you think should take the top spot.