Just what the Nashville Predators needed – another scoring defenseman. Even before Predators GM Davie Poile swung a deal to acquire Cody Franson from Toronto, he had the highest-scoring defense corps in the NHL.
Franson, who now gives the Predators three of the top-20 scoring defensemen in the league, will add to that dimension. Now if the Predators can just avoid having to play the defending Stanley Cup champs in the first round of the playoffs, they’ll be just fine.
For now though, the Predators are the top team in the league in thn.com’s weekly Power Rankings. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.) Read more
When your trusty correspondent informed Detroit Red Wings GM Ken Holland at the team’s rookie tournament in Traverse City in September that The Hockey News had picked his team to miss the playoffs, Holland was incredulous.
He spent much of the next two days making a case for his Red Wings, saying that if Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg could stay healthy and their goaltending could improve, they could surprise some people.
Well, there’s surprising people, then there’s knocking their socks off. The Red Wings are near the top of the league in the NHL standings and, for this week at least, at the top of thn.com’s weekly Power Rankings. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.) Read more
Even with a defense corps as deep as the St. Louis Blues blueline, losing a player the likes of Kevin Shattenkirk is going to hurt. The Blues hope they won’t have to deal with that, but Shattenkirk left the Blues game Sunday afternoon with an upper-body injury and is expected to be re-evaluated today.
Should Shattenkirk be out for a while, it would be a blow to a team that has won five in a row and playing its best hockey of the season. Shattenkirk, who took an accidental elbow to the head then slid into the boards, had scored the game-game deciding goal in two of the Blues shootout victories last week and leads the league with 20 power-play assists.
That’s part of the reason why the Blues find themselves at the top of thn.com’s weekly Power Rankings. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.) Read more
During Anaheim’s win over Calgary Wednesday night, Anaheim Ducks goalie Frederik Andersen was so dehydrated from the flu that he had to have intravenous treatments between periods. Man, the Ducks must really want to avoid having to play Ilya Bryzgalov.
The win was the fifth in a row for the Ducks, making them one of the hottest teams in the NHL going into the all-star break and putting them, once again, at the top of thn.com’s weekly Power Rankings. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.) Read more
Go to the head of the class and collect your gold star if you predicted at the beginning of this season that Rick Nash would be returning to Columbus as an All-Star Game selection.
Nash is going, which he should, and Henrik Lundqvist is not. No matter, the Rangers don’t mind. They swept California for the first time since it became a three-game road trip and have won 13 of their past 14, outscoring their opponents by a 51-22 margin.
For that reason, the Rangers find themselves atop the thn.com Power Rankings for the first time this season. (The last rankings, which were done Dec. 22, are in parentheses.)
After an emotional win on Sunday night following the sudden death of their assistant equipment manager Clint Reif, the Blackhawks were doing little celebrating and instead reflecting on the life of their friend. Following the game, captain Jonathan Toews said Reif was just as much a part of the team as any of the players.
The Blackhawks will have to continue to fight through the pain as the season wears on, but if the team’s 4-0 drubbing of the Toronto Maple Leafs on Sunday is any indication, they’ll be just fine. They may find themselves atop this week’s Power Rankings, and Chicago certainly remains among the league’s elite. (Last week’s rankings are in parentheses.) Read more
Only two teams in the past 10 seasons have finished with 120 points or more, but the Anaheim Ducks are on pace to join the 2009-10 Washington Capitals and the ’05-06 Detroit Red Wings.
Now the bad news. Both those teams lost in the first round of the playoffs. There might be some concern the Ducks are peaking too early, but it’s tough to lose when the only playoff team you face during a seven-game winning streak is the Winnipeg Jets. Their torrid pace has put the Ducks at the top of thn.com’s weekly Power Rankings. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.) Read more
The Chicago Blackhawks are playing so well lately that Patrick Sharp was demoted to third-line duty. His indiscretion? Well, he got injured a month ago and the Blackhawks can’t find a place for him on their top two lines at the moment.
Sharp is lucky he can find a place at all when the Blackhawks visit the New Jersey Devils Tuesday night. The Blackhawks have won six straight and nine of their past 10 and are beginning to look like the Stanley Cup champion we picked them to be at the beginning of this season. It should come as no surprise that the Blackhawks are the top team in thn.com’s weekly Power Rankings. (Last week’s ranking in parentheses.)