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Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Ray Emery reactions, media homerism and empty NHL seats

Ryan Lambert
Puck Daddy

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[Author's note: Every sports website on earth dedicated to covering just one league publishes a weekly power ranking, and we here at Puck Daddy have finally decided to do the same. However, the problem with power rankings in general is that they are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]

8. Gross Under-reaction

The NHL not doing anything in the wake of the Ray Emery suspension tells you a whole lot about how abhorrent, really, it found the whole thing.

Brendan Shanahan can say all he wants that he wanted to puke forever at watching dumb and awful goaltender Ray Emery maul Braden Holtby, but he had nothing in the rules that allowed him to drop supplementary discipline of any kind on Emery's empty head.

Gary Bettman, on the other hand, has the ability to do almost anything he wants and could have rained molten diarrhea on Emery and the Philadelphia Flyers if he really wanted to. He didn't. Which says everything you need to know about how the league really views this.

In much the same way that seeing some poorly-armed prisoners try to fight bears shipped in from the German frontier was popular among the Roman citizenry, the goon squad that buys tickets to Flyers games (and gets accredited by their media relations staff) went absolutely ballistic for it. Bravo, Ray Emery, you gave this team fire that the preceding two fights couldn't, and all you had to do was make a pathetic spectacle of yourself. That's all that really mattered. Fan engagement.

The only thing the league found disgusting about it, really, was how much conversation was generated about how it had to do something. “Do something, you say?”

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7. Gross Overreaction

So now the league is Doing Something. Well, it's going to make a show of Doing Something, at the very least. It's probably not going to actually get to the real Doing Something of it. “If the GMs don't like it,” and so on.

Gary Lawless of the Winnipeg Free Press took time out from his busy schedule of ripping Evander Kane and Dustin Byfuglien while staunchly defending the worst starting goaltender in the league from all criticism to report that the league is now going to consider a 10-game ban for all goalies who leave their defensive zones.

It seems like a pretty hefty deterrent, but there's a reason for that. It's because they think it's not going to happen anyway. It's like how parents threaten to sell their kids to the circus if they don't finish their peas: the threat of gross overreaction to an almost non-existent problem that they'll never have to follow through on.

Oh yeah, they're being tough on crime, for sure. So that the extraordinarily occasional goalie fight doesn't happen.

“Other fights? That's part of the game. Goalie fights, though, are simply a bridge too far. Unconscionable. We've gotta come down hard on the two goalies a year who actually leave their zones to start fights. If we don't, who will? Well, not us, because we won't impose anything like this. Anyway keep buying tickets because you never know when some lunatic on the Flyers is going to try to beat someone to death.”

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6. Tim Thomas

It has to be said that long after he's out of the NHL (so, say, August), Tim Thomas will not be remembered for the Stanley Cup or two Vezinas, but rather for refusing to go to the White House because Ron Paul didn't get elected. Now, every time a Stanley Cup winner goes to the White House, that's all anyone is ever going to think about.

This week it was the Blackhawks' turn to meet the president and try their hand at signing up for Obamacare. In that little speech he always gives where he makes a couple inside jokes to the team, Obama took a bit of a run at Corey Crawford, he of the F-words, and once again showed that he couldn't pick anyone on a hockey team out of a lineup. Jonathan Toews is the little guy with the mullet, right?

Anyway, congrats to Crawford for not flipping over a table and ranting about the CIA spying on NHL dressing rooms. Not that I'd say that last part is outside the realm of possibility, but y'know.

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5. Media Homers

It should be noted, by the way, that the vast majority of Flyers partisans were grossed out — as they should have been — by their team's action at the end of an ugly 7-0 beating. Included among those turned-off fans (who by the way will still wear their jerseys and keep buying tickets because moral outrage only extends so far), was the Philadelphia media.

Just kidding.

Apart from the shameless cheerleading of Third-Star-Ray-Emery voter Frank Seravalli, who is no stranger to embarrassing himself in shilling for his dear Flyers, there was the slew of not-worth-linking-to stories about how the Flyers thought the fight made their 7-0 loss “feel like a win” and how this was going to be a “turning point” in the season.

After all, they shut out New Jersey the next night, thanks to — according to Seravalli — the steadying hand of Hal Gill. The same Hal Gill who was a possession black hole all night. This is the kind of high-level hockey analysis that goes on when goaltenders aren't assaulting their counterparts.

(And by the way, if this forest fire of a team actually makes the playoffs somehow, just wait for all the loving tributes to Emery.)

The good news for the Philly media (not all of whom are bad actors in this, obviously) is that the other most-embarrassing press corps in hockey was not to be outdone. After spending the summer bravely ripping Tyler Seguin only after he was shuffled out of town, they lucked into the chance to do it again thanks to the Stars coming up to Boston for a game last night.

This presented the Bruins media fanboys, of which there are ever so many, with the chance to retry the former No. 2 overall pick, and the verdict was that he was guilty of partying and not being hard on the puck and not fitting in with the culture but mostly of having a 1.4 shooting percentage in the playoffs after scoring 45 goals in his previous 129 regular-season games.

Meanwhile, they got the chance to chuckle with party-boy Brad Marchand about Red Sox first baseman Mike Napoli, who wandered drunkenly around Boston following the team's World Series parade.

“I did it first,” joked Marchand who by the way has one goal in 13 games this season, and would have a shooting percentage lower than the already-bad 6.7 percent if he actually had and shot the puck at any point. Prior to the Stars game, though, he had a grand total of three SOG in his previous eight games.

But hahaha you can do whatever you want in Boston, including not score, as long as you check people, and that includes if you do it below the knees.

Can't wait 'til Marchand finishes with 12 goals this season, gets traded, and we hear from all his old buddies in the media that he's a real prick who didn't fit in with the culture.

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4. Anyone with Center Depth

The Maple Leafs are going to be without Dave Bolland for a very long time, and Tyler Bozak is still on the shelf, meaning that the Leafs already poor center depth is now all the poorer. This obviously has prompted something of a panic in Toronto, as the team must now necessarily scramble for someone to run the pivot, probably on the second line.

So if you're an NHL general manger and happen to have any centers at all lying around collecting dust (Matt Stajan) then maybe you oughta talk to Dave Nonis about it. Don't forget to bring up how lazy and stupid Jake Gardiner is.

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3. Empty Seats

Anyone who's watched one of the Coyotes home games this season has noticed that the team is playing well enough. They currently have just three regulation losses, including a 6-0-1 record at home. Very energized by the new ownership, I'm sure. And so how do you think their fans have rewarded them for all their hard work and winning ways?

That's right, by not showing up. Coyotes attendance is down about 2,200 from last season. And that's not so many if you're drawing 22,000 a night. When you're drawing 18,000, though, that's a major problem. And by the way, that's announced attendance, not actual attendance.

What happened to all those people who swore up and down they'd go to Yotes games if only the team didn't move to some city where people actually cared? Come back, sweater vest cowboy! Return to us, lady who talked at length about peacocks or something. It seems like charging for parking that used to be free to see a team nobody sees anyway wasn't such a good idea.

This should prove once and for all that the new Coyotes owners are going to leave a Shane Doan-shaped hole in the side of Jobing.com Arena the second their five-year lease is up. All they have to do is prove they lost a certain amount of money. With attendance like this, you'd believe just about any red-ink number at all.

2. Tweets That Were Only Missing The Word Brash

Frankly, it's surprising that this was the only (printable) racebaiting tweet about Ray Emery.

Not a good look, that.

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1. Walkin' on Sunshine

This is officially the most anyone has ever talked about a four-win team without constantly mentioning how terrible they are. Again, that's a big win for Paul Holmgren.

The fact that, after one win against a team that's almost as hopeless as they are, we have to sit here and listen to all this talk about a Flyers resurgence is hilarious, isn't it. If the Flames went out and got shelled by San Jose but Kari Ramo beat the hell out of Antti Niemi then also won the next game, would we be talking about anything but how awful Calgary is? Of course not. And Calgary, for the record, is better than the Flyers.

You wonder where all those proclamations about this being a team turned around will scamper off to when the Flyers have 25 losses by the end of December.

(Not ranked this week: Rob Ford, Ian from Etobicoke, drunken stupors, smoking crack, the Tampa Bay Lightning, forgetting that your No. 1 goalie is Steve Mason, the hopes for a 19th season of Jason Arnott, the feeling that you were pretty sure Jason Arnott retired like two or three years ago, every other Olympic uniform now that the Slovaks released theirs, the Rochester Americans' chances of winning a suspension pool, Ben Bishop before the fall, Reto Berra somehow, Krys Barch's crybaby Twitter rants about fighting)

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