Sunday, October 7, 2007

Week 1: NHL Power Rankings

Unless I get lazy, I'll try and post power rankings of the 30 teams each Sunday. This week's rankings are obviously a bit premature, but I've ranked the teams weighing their record and strength of opposition and have presented who, in my opinion, has been the team's MVP thus far.

1. Nashville -- So what if Paul Kariya, Peter Forsberg, Tomas Vokoun, Kimmo Timonen and Scott Hartnell are gone, Steve Sullivan and Shea Weber are injured and the very status of the Predators' formerly-completed sale is in question? The Preds haven't missed a beat, outscoring Colorado and Dallas 9-1 and going 2-0 in their first two contests. MVP: Chris Mason

2. Ottawa -- Averaging upwards of 24 minutes a game, captain Daniel Alfredsson has been downright beastly, scoring four goals in the team's first three contests, the latest a convincing 2-0 win over the Rangers on Saturday. MVP: Alfredsson

3. NY Islanders -- Many in the hockey blogosphere, including this blogger, mocked the Islanders for replacing their top line of Ryan Smyth, Jason Blake and Alexei Yashin with Ruslan Fedotenko, Mike Comrie and Bill Guerin. Well, look who's laughing now: The trio has combined for five goals and eleven assists as the Isles swept Buffalo in their season-opening home-and-home series for a 2-0 record. MVP: Comrie

4. Washington -- Very convincing wins over Carolina and Atlanta, the Caps are showing many why they will contend for a division title this season. Also, Alex Ovechkin will be the fastest player to hit 100 career goals since Eric Lindros if he scores in the next 15 games. MVP: Ovechkin

5. Tampa Bay -- For some reason, Vaclav Prospal has alternated between mediocre seasons and awesome campaigns for the last five years or so. Coming off a dissapointing year, Prospal has three goals and four points in two games as Tampa Bay has gone 2-0 with wins over New Jersey and Atlanta. MVP: Martin St. Louis

6. Edmonton -- 5-3 victory over Philadelphia almost as impressive as shootout win against Sharks. With a speedy, youthful forward corps and an underrated defense, the Oilers might surprise people this year. MVP: Ales Hemsky

7. San Jose -- Shootout loss to Oilers was ugly, but once the Sharks got their legs under them, they were able to steamroll the Canucks in Game 2. MVP: Joe Thornton

8. Minnesota -- Yeah, they've got four points, but a pair of one-goal wins against Chicago and Columbus are nothing to write home about. MVP: Brian Rolston

9. Montreal -- Choked on a third-period lead against the Leafs, then couldn't capitalize on two OT power plays before losing on a man-advantage goal against. Still, they're 2nd in their division. MVP: Saku Koivu

10. Detroit -- Did they really blow a three-goal lead against the Havlat-less Blackhawks? Their shootout win over Anaheim is also looking less impressive by the day as the Ducks stumble. MVP: Henrik Zetterberg

11. Toronto -- Pushed Senators to OT in opener, then lost by only one in Game 2 before OT win against Habs. MVP: Mats Sundin

12. Chicago -- Despite Havlat injury, defeated Wings in shootout. MVP: Nikolai Khabibulin

13. Columbus -- 4-0 win over Anaheim doesn't look as good anymore, but still impressive. Didn't look bad in 3-2 loss to Minny. MVP: Rick Nash

14. NY Rangers -- Yeah, they lost to Ottawa, but Chris Drury sure looked good against Florida and a team with this much skill can't stay down for long. MVP: Chris Drury

15. New Jersey -- Didn't look bad in loss to Tampa and blew Panthers out of the water. MVP: John Madden

16. Philadelphia -- Nice win over Calgary to start the season, but a poor showing against the Oilers. MVP: Daniel Briere

17. Vancouver -- Were terrible for the most part against San Jose, but found a way to win in Calgary. MVP: Daniel Sedin

18. Pittsburgh -- Pens looked listless against Carolina, and looked porous defensively despite a win over the Ducks. And where is Sidney Crosby? MVP: Petr Sykora

19. Colorado -- 4-0 loss to Nashville drags down the Avs, but an OK showing against Dallas to start the season. MVP: Paul Stastny

20. St. Louis -- Showed resiliency against the Kings, but loss to Coyotes really drags this team down. MVP: Erik Johnson

21. Carolina -- 4-1 win over Pittsburgh nothing to scoff at, but the Canes looked bad against Montreal and worse versus Washington. MVP: Eric Staal

22. Boston -- Yeah, they won a game, but it was against Phoenix and they looked terrible against the Stars. MVP: Marco Sturm

23. Phoenix -- This is the last time this team will be .500 this season. I guarantee it. MVP: Shane Doan

24. Anaheim -- Oh, how the mighty have fallen. 4-0 loss to Columbus -- are you kidding? MVP: Corey Perry

25. Los Angeles -- Started season with impressive win over Ducks that doesn't look so impressive now, followed by a bad loss to Anaheim which looks even worse now and finally a blown lead against St. Louis which looks bad no matter how you look at it. MVP: Anze Kopitar

26. Dallas -- One win in three games, and that was against the Bruins. MVP: Philippe Boucher

27. Calgary -- Only team in West without a win. MVP: Daymond Langkow

28. Buffalo -- They could have really used Drury and Briere in two-game sweep at hands of the Islanders. MVP: Jaroslav Spacek

29. Atlanta -- Showed little pulse in losses to Washington and Tampa. MVP: Marian Hossa

30. Florida -- A preseason darling, Panthers have been listless thus far. MVP: Nobody

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