A few weeks have passed since my last rankings, and there have been some big swings in performance. All of a sudden the Dallas Stars and Edmonton Oilers are among the best teams in the NHL? Did anyone see this coming? Is Nikolai Khabibulin really running away with the Vezina? If he keeps up this ridiculous pace for another month, he can coast into the award like Thomas last year (who had a bad second half of the regular season). Without further adieu here are my power rankings.
1. Dallas (last rank #8): Brad Richards must have been holding this team back!
2. Washington (last rank #1): I like Ovechkin getting benched on an offensive zone faceoff down by a goal with under a minute remaining. Nick Backstrom scores to tie the game. That's telling of the Caps season thus far.
3. Edmonton (last rank #12): Eventually the clock will strike midnight, but as of right now this team is winning. I'm talking about real winning, not the Charlie Sheen variety.
4. Pittsburgh (last rank #4): Imagine when they get the best player in the world back?
5. Philadelphia (last rank #9): Seriously guys, try to flying V to bust the trap next time. You'll get better TV ratings.
6. NY Rangers (last rank #13): Don't look know but the Rangers have won 5 in a row.
7. Minnesota (last rank #17): This team got hot in a hurry and has also won 5 in a row.
8. Buffalo (last rank #6): Thomas Vanek is having a season.
9. San Jose (last rank #14): Joe Pavelski is lighting up the NHL. They could have used that in the playoffs.
10. Chicago (last rank #7): Lost 3 in a row, but this team is a lock for the playoffs.
11. Phoenix (last rank #22): Don't look now, but all of a sudden Phoenix is decent. Can it last with Mike Smith? That has never been done before.
12. Florida (last rank #11): Versteeg, Fleischman, Campbell driving the team's early success. They should have kept Markstrom up with the big team. He's their future.
13. Nashville (last rank #25): Pekka Rinne will prove he's worth every penny.
14. Detroit (last rank #3): Great start, then fell like a brick, now has won 2 in a row. Maintaining a positive goal differential.
15. Boston (last rank #23): Tyler Seguin is going to be a great player in this league for a long time.
16. Tampa Bay (last rank #20): Booo the 1-3-1 trap off the opening faceoff!!! BOOO! SHAME! Steve Yzerman better have a sit down with his coach.
17. Toronto (last rank #10): How long will Reimer be out? This could get ugly fast. Dropped 2 straight being outscored 12-1. Leaf fans can blame my friend who predicted Skrivens would win the Vezina the night before the losing started.
18. Los Angeles (last rank #2): They have dropped 16 spots in the rankings thanks to a 5 game losing streak. Kopitar is having a season.
19. New Jersey (last rank #19): No better or worse than a few weeks ago. Elias leads the team in scoring.
20. Vancouver (last rank #16): If this team misses the playoffs, the fans might very well burn the entire city to the ground...
21. St. Louis (last rank #21): The Ken Hitchcock era has begun. They are on a 1 game winning streak. Stay tuned!
22. Colorado (last rank #5): They are who we thought they were. They'll be good eventually, but it wasn't meant to be now. Lost 4 straight.
23. Calgary (last rank #26): Can Flames sustain this slow steady drive to mediocrity? Playoffs are a 50-50 proposition at best.
24. Montreal (last rank #29): Has this team gotten worse, or did they just overachieve last season?
25. Ottawa (last rank #27): They're bad, they're good, they're bad, now what? Spezza and Michalek have something going.
26. Carolina (last rank #24): Doubtful this team makes the playoffs.
27. Winnipeg (last rank #28): When Kyle Wellwood is your leading goal scorer midway through November, you've got serious problems.
28. NY Islanders (last rank #18): They are who we thought they were. They don't have the goaltending for extended success.
29. Anaheim (last rank #15): What the hell is going on here? The team is healthy, is loaded with talent, and have lost 6 straight. I blame the start in Europe, not my drafting of Perry and Getzlaf in my hockey pool.
30. Columbus (last rank #30): The 30 spot might have a permanent resident from start to finish.