The Florida Panthers picked up defenseman Bryan McCabe from Toronto for Mike Van Ryn. (Photo By Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Seems the three prerequisites for being considered a (legitimate) hockey media outlet now are:
(1) Having an ex-GM on your staff who is considered “colorful” (translation: “we’re still cleaning up his mess from the seven years he ran this team”).
(2) Packing your website with more numbers than a tax return. Geeks like numbers; they have time and they lack social lives. You never know when the faceoffs-won-on-Thursday-afternoons stat might come in handy.
(3) Power rankings. Unless you can make a list that rates and quantifies all of the teams, how are we to know who’s better? There has to be somebody who thinks the Blue Jackets are superior to the Red Wings (thank you Columbus Shoppers’ News)
I’m not sure where this sudden need to rank teams by the inherent and ghostly “power” they possess came from, but I want in. Nothing ensures that you’re read (and hated) as consistently as when you segregate things arbitrarily.
So, starting the list off at #72 (I make the rules, we start where I want) is:
#72 The Anaheim Ducks. Not because they’re 0-4 and not because they’ve allowed 17 goals, but because Brian Burke needs to smile more and I still can’t shake that Disney odour.
#29 New Jersey Devils. Being devils and all I figured lower is better. You’re welcome.
#28 Montreal Canadiens. I hate expansion teams. Three years from now you’ll never even hear from these guys. What the hell’s a Canadien anyway? Learn to spell and I’ll move you up to No. 17.
#27 Minnesota Wild. To be honest I accidently typed in your name and I’m too lazy to press the Delete key. Why do they put it way up there?
#26 Columbus Blue Jackets. Oddly, this is the highest ranking Columbus has ever achieved in any of the known rankings. And they live in Ohio. Talk about being able to overcome adversity.
#25 Chicago Blackhawks. Oops. That delete key thing again. My bad.
#24 Atlanta Thrashers. A record of 1-1-1? Eleven goals for and 11 goals against? Do something. Make me care about you.
#23 Toronto Maple Leafs. In my rankings nothing much has changed for the team, but on the positive side, Ryan Hollweg’s indiscretion has moved the Maple Leafs up to No. 2 in power rankings by The Advocate.
#22 Nashville Predators. A few years back I was dumped by Minnie Pearl. Someone has to pay.
#21 San Jose Sharks. Thirteen goals for and four against may sound impressive, but if this was football, a touchdown by the other team and they’re right back in it. Work on that running game.
#20 Detroit Red Wings. Sure the Wings look solid, but the Lions suck, the Tigers were pathetic and GM and Ford are spiralling into bankruptcy. This is simply a case of being dragged down by the aggregate.
#19 Vancouver Canucks. On the upside you’re having a great start, but on the downside you live in a mild, temperate climate and I don’t. In my books that’s just not fair. Send me some salmon and I’ll get you into single digits by next week.
#18 Boston Bruins. Mats Sundin hasn’t signed anywhere yet and Boston has been noticeably silent on the whole affair. Someone has to take the blame. Three demerit points.
#17 Washington Capitals. Not happy about something you did recently, but I can’t for the life of me remember what it is. You didn’t have anything to do with that banking bailout thing, did you?
#16 Pittsburgh Penguins. Haven’t really gotten off to a rousing start, plus I’m allergic to flightless Antarctic waterfowl.
#15 Calgary Flames. Todd Bertuzzi coached by Mike Keenan. A lot of anger there. I hear Banff is nice.
#14 Phoenix Coyotes. Sidenote: In desert-based-teams-run-by-men-who-are-much -better-players-than-coaches ranking, you’re No. 2 (I consider Buffalo a desert, but in a more analogous sense).
#13 Carolina Hurricanes. Realistically only the top and bottom of these lists are actually calculated. All the junk in the middle just kind of meshes together. If this was a movie, you’d be an extra.
#12 St. Louis Blues. We’re still getting used to this whole St. Louis is competitive thing. We need time to adjust.
#11 Tampa Bay Lightning. To be fair, two-thirds of the first line had great Rays seats and you don’t pass stuff like that up.
#10 Ottawa Senators. The Sens have sorely lacked toughness without Daniel Alfredsson in the lineup. The bling factor also took a nasty beating when Ray Emery moved to Siberia.
#9 Philadelphia Flyers. Any team that employs a Lasse, an Ossi and someone with last name Niittymaki will never drop lower than No. 10 in this forum. You have my word.
#8 Buffalo Sabres. Phenomenal start only ruined by one factor (insert obligatory “Buffalo” joke. Extra points if you can work Cheektowaga into it).
#7 Dallas Stars. Their lofty status is due to only one factor: Fabian Brunnstrom. Have you heard his new album? He’s dreamy.
#6 New York Rangers. Aaron Voros is a player – in much the same way Stuart Appleby is a golfer and Siu Siu is a panda. I also like that road trip thing to start the season. You need to get out of that godforsaken little town once in a while. Makes you seem worldly.
#5 New York Islanders. It’s not where you are, it’s where the Rangers are. In these rankings I guarantee you’ll always be one notch above the Rangers. Group hug?
#4 Florida Panthers. Your uniforms are putrid and you play in slush, but you did your part by adopting Bryan McCabe and I’m really big on charitable organizations.
#3 Edmonton Oilers. Love them. They’re fantastic. Could go places this year. My early Stanley Cup pick. (Mr. Katz: OK, I did my part. I really need those antihistamines).
#2 Los Angeles Kings. I like the direction you’re heading. Personally I think inertia is highly underrated.
#1 Colorado Avalanche. Did you know there are five NHL teams that start with a C? Calgary is a much better team and city, but you won the coin flip, so congratulations.
The preceding was purely fictional and meant for entertainment purposes only. By entertainment, we mean we hope you laughed while reading it, framing it, or burning it. Any similarities between this and actual events is strictly coincidental and frankly, dumb luck. Remember to remind your lawyer about the made-up part, OK?
Charlie Teljeur, creator of THN's hockeysockpuppettheatre, brings you Loose Change every Thursday only on thehockeynews.com. Subscribe to The Hockey News today to have Charlie's cartoon delivered to you in each issue.
Want to talk to Charlie about love, life, or Loose Change? Email him at email@example.com