What do you we know so far? Well, safe to say most of us are wondering if some of these teams are contenders or pretenders. The Atlantic Division is going to be TOUGH. Injuries are taking their toll around the league, and Toronto has lost 6 straight; believe me, all of Canada knows the Leafs have lost 6 straight. Should I say it again? The Leafs have lost 6 straight. Maybe one more time in case you missed it... ah, screw it... you get the point.
In brackets, last week's ranking. As always, post your thoughts and changes!
1. Pittsburgh Penguins (7): A lot of people would probably put the Rangers in 1st. But I point to one stat... 5-0 on the road. Good road teams are generally the ones who go deep into the playoffs. MA Fleury is poised in net, Sid's scoring goals and Malkin is being Malkin. Tyler Kennedy is emerging along with Alex Goligoski. This team is good.
2. New York Rangers (HM): What can you say about Marian Gaborik? Maybe being happy is enough to keep him healthy. But let's face it, he's not the only one contributing. Rookie's Michael Del Zotto and Matt Gilroy are eating solid minutes and Marc Staal is only going to get better. Lundqvist is consistent.
3. Chicago Blackhawks (4): Okay, giving up 5 goals in the first period wasn't exactly their highlight of last week... but Antti Niemi was able to step in and right the ship. They never gave up, and for the next 40 minutes, they showed the Calgary Flames how to play hockey. Then they did the same thing to Edmonton last night.
4. Philadelphia Flyers (1): The addition of Pronger makes them so fierce on the blue line. Add Hartnell and others to that mix and you've got a team that NO ONE wants to mess with. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Mike Richards hates to lose. He's the X-factor on this team. Concussion aside, I'm a little surprised that JVR is getting under 10 minutes ice per game... Is he best served being sent down for a spell?
5. Columbus Blue Jackets (8): Hitchcock and Howson probably walk on water in Ohio. Really, is their anything more to say?
6. Buffalo Sabres (NR): Goals against are low... but so are goals for. Tyler Myers is only going to get better. He's huge, can skate and has a good stick. Take a look at Zdeno Chara when thinking about potential for this kid... except, he'll get there a lot sooner.
7. Colorado Avalanche (HM): Well, they've gotten through 2 weeks... so far, so good. Darcy Tucker wins in his return to Toronto... Was Craig Anderson really the difference? Or is it the new management and coaching staff? Whatever it is, it's working.
8. Washington Capitals (3): Losers of 4 straight. They went from the top of the world, to the bottom. At least they're still scoring goals. They'll need to get some more out of their secondary lines and defense to remain an elite team. Theodore has been decent.
9. Los Angeles Kings (NR): Are there any doubts among Canadians as to whether or not Ryan Smyth belongs on Team Canada? I'm sure there are still those who have their doubts, but he's doing his best to quash them. And, get used to it, because he'll be on the team. Anze Kopitar is having a breakout season and Drew Doughty is proving why he's going to be a superstar. I'd say he deserved the Calder last year... but there's that guy in Columbus who begs to differ.
10. Pheonix Coyotes (HM): Eklund says they have the best defense in hockey. Maybe the stats say so, but can it last for a whole season? I doubt it. However, if there's anyone who can make a lot out of a little on the back end, it's Dave Tippett. He did that for years in Dallas. Here's what Ilya Bryzgalov thinks about it (okay, he's talking about Chris Pronger and Edmonton... but it's hilarious)
Honorable Mention (in no order):
San Jose Sharks (9): That first line can really put the puck in the net. This team will be among the elite once the season's over.
New Jersey Devils (NR): They've won 3 in a row since starting 0-2 out of the gates!
Tampa Bay Lightning (NR): Leading the Southeast division. Steven Stamkos looks great, as does future ROTY Victor Hedman. Yes, I know John Tavares is lighting it up, but when it comes down to value to a team, it's gonna be Hedman.
Calgary Flames (2): It really was a matter of time before they stopped getting the bounces. With the exception of the first game in Vancouver, they haven't played any good games (and it was only 2 good periods against Van).
St. Louis Blues (5): So they've lost both games since returning from overseas. Probably not a big deal. I still think this is a playoff team.
Boston Bruins (6): Have ya heard, have ya heard? The Bruins have the Leafs 1st round pick this year! It could be first overall! Yes, Canadian sports coverage is Toronto-centric.
Vancouver Canucks (10): How's Henrik Sedin going to survive without brother Daniel for over a month? If history's told us anything, it probably won't be that well. Tomorrow night in Calgary, Michael Grabner gets a shot on the Right side with the top line.