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NHL Power Rankings: A work in progress

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NHL Power Rankings: A work in progress

Raise your hand if you had Winnipeg and Arizona undefeated through the first week. How about if you had Columbus, Pittsburgh and Los Angeles winless.

Anyone?

The NHL season is off to a surprising start for many teams, but how much of that is just an easy schedule, early season jitters or just knocking off the rust? It's important when watching the early results to bear in mind that this all remains a work in progress.

That was very much the mood in the Capitals locker room after their opening win over New Jersey on Saturday. The Capitals found themselves locked into a 2-2 tie in the third period after some sloppy play. They walked away with the win thanks to the late-game heroics of Alex Ovechkin, but it was not the type of effort the team was hoping for. Just ask Barry Trotz.

But Saturday's effort was not indicative of how good the team is. Anyone who was watching could see they were capable of better. That leaves us asking the same question we were asking before the season even began: just how good are they?

Are the Coyotes for real? Is Pittsburgh really that bad? Are the Rangers really the best team in the NHL? Find out here in this week's NHL Power Rankings.

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Tom Wilson is single-handedly trying to fight every player on the Lightning in Game 7

Tom Wilson is single-handedly trying to fight every player on the Lightning in Game 7

TOM WILSON IS ALL JACKED UP ON MOUNTAIN DEW. 

17 minutes into Game 7 and Tom Wilson is already out here doing Tom Wilson things. 

First, there were these shenanigans:

Pretty standard stuff. Some anger words, some glove pulling. Nothing special. Then, friends - then it gets real:

Let this marinate a little bit. Wilson got a minor for fighting, served his time, and then IMMEDIATELY came out of the box and did literally the exact same thing. 

He punched a guys helmet off. Those helmets have straps to stay on for this exact reason, and it didn't matter. If this was medieval jousting, Braydon Coburn would be declared the loser on the spot. 

Get you a friend like Tom Wilson. 

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In a surprise twist, Barry Trotz takes The Hot Lap ahead of Game 7

In a surprise twist, Barry Trotz takes The Hot Lap ahead of Game 7

TAMPA—Head Coach Barry Trotz skated the hot lap prior to Wednesday’s Game 7 at Amalie Arena, taking over the superstitious tradition from captain Alex Ovechkin.

Why the change?

The Caps lost Game 5 here on Saturday. And when the Caps lose on the road—the only place where the morning-skate-starting hot lap takes place—a new skater is selected.

The weird tradition began in the first round at Nationwide Arena in Columbus when Jay Beagle grew tired of waiting for the ice to freeze over following a fresh Zamboni cut. Beagle's teammates implored him to wait a little longer for the ice to cure, but he grew impatient and took it upon himself to kick off the skate by racing around the rink, a la the fastest skater competition at the All Star Skills competition.

Ovechkin took it over prior to Game 6 in Pittsburgh because the Caps had lost Game 4 at PPG Paints Arena.

Ovechkin proudly carried on the tradition as Washington won three in a row—Game 6 in Pittsburgh and Games 1 and 2 of this series vs. Tampa Bay.

Following the Caps’ 3-2 defeat in Game 5 here, though, it was expected that a change would be made.

And on Wednesday morning the baton changed hands, with the least obvious of all the Caps busting his 55-year-old hump around the rink much to the delight of his players and assistants.

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