What to does as a sports fan when College Football has resorted to putting two teams from the same conference in the “National Championship,” baseball is on break, the NFL is heading for another “parity” based Super Bowl, and the NBA is gearing up for another dazzling season of individual basketball? You turn to coolest game on Earth with the NHL. Here is the first of many debatable power rankings that will come to you from Coach Ryan this season, so go ahead foil up and enjoy.
- Pittsburgh Penguins– As if the Pens weren’t deep enough, their concussed golden boy had to return to form immediately after an absence of almost a year. Seriously have you seen how deep they are? They have super stars on every line, defense, and their goalie isn’t too bad either. The biggest question with the Pens is will Sid stay healthy after games against teams such as Boston and Washington. I’m just glad to see Sid back and to see a team from Pittsburgh that doesn’t wave stupid towels around every two seconds.
- Boston Bruins– How can you not have the Bruins in the top two in the league? I love how sports “experts” are so ready to write off a team after a few bad games. It’s like the Yankees starting off 5-5 in a 162 game season and everyone saying they’re done. All you heard with the B’s is that they have a Cup Hangover and won’t do anything this year. Let me tell you my friend when I have a hangover I nap for an hour then I go straight to the Bloody Mary and it appears Boston started slow and is now hitting the ice like a Lindsey Lohan and Amy Winehouse night of binge drinking.
- Detroit Red Wings– Hey look I’m Detroit and I’m the team everyone forgets how dangerous we are year after year. Hockey Town isn’t quite ready to throw octopus on the ice yet but it appears they potentially are going to have yet another great season on their hands. With the strong play of Jimmie Howard Detroit has been able to put together a great start and just this past week dominated the Lightning. I see this team being consistently in the top 5-7 for most of the year. Hey it’s Detroit, they are like the STD that just won’t go away.
- Chicago Blackhawks– Here is a team that really was coming off of a Cup Hangover and although they had a slightly frustrating year last year, this year they seemed primed and ready to make another run at Lord Stanley. I blame a lot of their success on Towes who has been able to lead his team to this hot start. The question with the Hawks as the season goes on is can their defense hold up and clean out the trash in front of the net like their baseball counterparts did with Mr. Guillen.
- Toronto Maple Leafs– I never thought the Leafs would have a great year this year although they are proving everyone wrong. Although let’s face it, hockey is better when the Leafs are competitive. The biggest surprise for me is last year’s All Star Mr. Irrelevant, Phil Kessel having the season of his career thus far. Come the All Star Break he may not win a car for being the last picked although if they continue here is a sleeper team that could be sipping from a really big cup.
- Minnesota Wild– I have to be honest I really don’t know much about the Wild. All I know is that they are off to a great start and here is another team, like Toronto that I really didn’t think would be that great this year. Although solid goaltending and playing good tough old-time hockey has them pretty high up in my top ten. Hopefully I’ll be able to spend more time watching them soon and have something better to say. I feel shame on this one.
- St. Louis Blues– I think the Blues are trying to keep Pujols in St. Louis by showing him that they can win to. I mean weren’t these guys singing the Blues just a year ago? The key to them is their goalie Brian Elliot who has been absolutely tearing it up this year. The guy already has 10 wins which isn’t bad for someone who was 2-8 last year. His play will be key for St. Louis to maintain this type of success or else they will go back to playing the Blues.
- San Jose Sharks– Here is another team where the goaltending has really led to their early success. I wish Niemi could play Chicago every game because he always plays like a Shark circling a blood bank. Then again, let’s be honest this is the Sharks. By the season is over it wouldn’t surprise me if by the end of the year they are in the top 5…again, have hopes of winning the Cup…again, and then lose in 5 games of the first round…again. Sorry Jaws.
- Philadelphia Flyers– Wow if I had thought the Flyers would be number 9 on the list I would probably try to go back and change some things around putting them much higher. They are down near the bottom due to the injury to Pronger who I think is going to really hurt the Flyers in the upcoming month. Look for this team to be in the top 5 though by the end of the year.
- Vancouver Canucks– I know what you’re thinking the Canucks?! Yes they started off terrible although like the local Vancouver downtown area they are starting to put it all back together. With Ryan Kesler and Luongo getting together look for this team to start to really start soaring and make a far run. Whether or not the rioting will return is another question all together….
Cal Meacham’s Sound off of the week:
My esteemed colleague Coach Ryan seems to be ignoring the facts on the ice when it comes to the Toronto Maple Leafs. They have an abysmal -2 goal differential which isn’t aided by their 27th ranking in GAA, allowing over 3 goals per game. They are a whopping 3-6 against division opponents and I see them having to scratch and claw for the 8th seed with how they are giving up goals. Without a hometown to cheer for on Lake Eerie Coach Ryan has shifted great lakes to the red head step child Lake Ontario. Much like his Sunday trips to the Cleveland Browns bar, he is going to be left feeling cold, lonely and violated when Toronto comes back down to earth.