HTW’s Top to Bottom– 11/14/11
Welcome to Hockey This Week’s Top to Bottom, a weekly look from the top of the mountain to the bottom of the barrel in the NHL. Each week I’ll rank all 30 teams with some thoughts on what’s going on around the league. After a needed few weeks off to get a better grasp on some teams, the rankings are back. The top tier of teams is really starting to come together as Pens, Hawks, Caps, and Stars have been very solid. Still some very spotty play from some teams with high expectations. Here we go….
1- Pittsburgh Penguins(10-4-3) – There was talk of a Sid the Kid return over the weekend but all for not, but did it really matter? Nope, Pens continue to roll. Friday night’s win over the Stars left no doubt who the NHL’s best is right now.
2- Chicago Blackhawks(11-4-3) – The Hawks are just running over the Western conference right now. The Oilers were the latest victim Sunday night with a 6-3 smashing. It helps that for the first time this year Jonathan Toews has caught fire.
3- Washington Capitals(10-4-1) – Caps split a home and home w Devils over the weekend, I’m thinking they thought it could be more. Tomas Vokoun has still not been sharp, but when you score 4 goals a game, it can be hidden.
4- Dallas Stars(11-5-0) – I’m starting to become a believer…..despite the losses in Pittsburgh and Detroit.
On The Rise
5- Philadelphia Flyers(9-4-3) – Our draft guru Tony Stabile said in Minnesota that Sean Couturier was most NHL ready player in the draft…he was right…2 points to you Tony!
6- New York Rangers(9-3-3) – 6 wins in a row gets them a jump up to 6th. Rangers look very strong right now. Dan Girardi for the Norris!!
7- Minnesota Wild(9-5-3) – Josh Harding should take Backstrom’s job full time. Either way, the Wild continue to get it done by grinding it out.
8- San Jose Sharks(9-5-1) – A few tough tests for the Sharks this week with the Wings and Stars, I think they will continue their solid play.
9- Toronto Maple Leafs(10-6-1) – If you take away a win over the Blues this week, they’ve been outscored 17-3 in last 3 losses. Are they finally coming back to earth?? Maybe, but Phil Kessel is still laughing at you…
10- Edmonton Oilers(9-6-2) – Not a good week for the Oilers. It was the Bruins, Red Wings, and Blackhawks….but it was not pretty.
Up and Down
11- Buffalo Sabres(10-6-0) – What is going on with Ryan Miller?? Even before getting hammered by Lucic Saturday night he has been very sour. And can someone on the Sabres step up and protect their goalie…nothing like going quietly…
12- Detroit Red Wings(9-5-1) – A fast start, a bad 2 weeks, now hot again. Jimmy Howard with a tremendous week brings some life back to hockeytown.
13- Phoenix Coyotes(8-4-3) – I’m still not a believer…but no one does more with less than coach Tippett…it’s amazing. Let’s see how they fair on a monster east coast trip.
14- Nashville Predators(8-5-3) – Pekka Rinne gets paid his money and continues to be the rock of Nashville.
15- New Jersey Devils(8-6-1) – Devils had to be thrilled with a split against Caps. Tough road trip coming up…How much does Marty play?
16- Florida Panthers(8-5-3) – See you in Ottawa last week of January Kris Versteeg! I understand why they had to send Markstrom down, but it wont be long before he’s back.
17- Boston Bruins(8-7-0) – The Stanley Cup hangover is officially OVER. 25 goals scored in last 4 wins….En Fuego….Tyler Seguin is a machine….
Time to get it Going!
18- LA Kings(8-6-3) – I guess we anointed Jonathan Quick goalie of the year too early….
19- Vancouver Canucks(9-8-1) – Roberto Luongo is starting to gain some steam, he’ll be laughing at you next. The Sedin Twins are starting to really get going as they get ready for their old friends in Chicago Wednesday night.
20- Tampa Bay Lightning(8-6-2) – Every time I think this team is about to turn the corner they lose a game like Saturday night to St.Louis
21- St. Louis Blues(8-7-1) – Ken Hitchcock for Jack Adams!!!!
Still Plenty Of Issues…
22- Colorado Avalanche(8-8-1) – This team needs to play every game on the road…unless of course the Islanders come to the Pepsi center every night….
23- Ottawa Senators(8-9-1) – This team can’t stop anybody…but they continue to score enough to win some games.
24- Calgary Flames(7-8-1) – Does anyone care about this team??? Talk about boring….
25- Anaheim Ducks(6-8-3) – They have a serious scoring problem. If you shut the top line down this team becomes too easy to beat…I’m embarrassed I had them as high as 5th a few weeks back.
26- Montreal Canadians(7-7-2) – The Habs are starting to show some life! Some solid wins over the yotes and preds last week.
27- Carolina Hurricanes(6-8-3) – I saw some really ugly things in Friday night’s loss to the Rangers….but then they go out and beat the Penguins….go figure!
28- Winnipeg Jets(5-9-3) – You would think a loss to Columbus would drop you to the bottom spot…at least they play some wild 9-8 and 8-7 games…the travel is already wearing them down.
29- New York Islanders(4-7-3) – What was more embarrassing…A) 6-2 shalacking in Boston B) blowing a 3-0 lead in Denver C) looking asleep in Vancouver D) All of the above were brutal. I’ll go with D….
30- Columbus Blue Jackets(3-12-1) – So who’s at the top of your draft board??
Let me know what you think!! Leave a comment below or yell at me on twitter @IceCreepsMike
And I’ll see you at the Coliseum Tuesday night for HTW Isles pregame…should be a good one!