We like to evaluate politicians 100 days into their terms.
So how is the NHL holding up after its 100th game of the season was completed Thursday?
Well, so far the product has delivered as promised. Scoring is up 32 percent, shots are up 11 percent (proof goalie equipment changes have made an impact) and power-play goals increased by 53 percent from the same point last season.
TV ratings? Well that's a different story, but thankfully the Power Rankings are concerned only with on-ice activities. Here's how the league shakes out in the third installment of the rankings:
1. Ottawa Senators (5-0-0; Last Week: 1) – Tough guy Chris Neal already has three power-play goals on the season. In 222 games prior to this season, the winger had two points with the man advantage. It's all part of Ottawa's plan to own the real estate in front of the net – particularly on special teams.
2. Vancouver Canucks (6-1-1; Last Week: 2) – Those first period woes appear to be a thing of the past. The Canucks haven't allowed a first-period goal in four games. Still waiting for the Morrison-Bertuzzi-Naslund line to arrive. Could be scary when it does, as the Canucks have been beneficiaries of at least 10 power plays in three straight games.
3. Detroit Red Wings (6-1-0; Last Week: 3) – Chris Osgood stopped 22 of 25 shots for the Grand Rapids Griffins Wednesday, and he could join the Red Wings by Monday. Not that they need any help in net. Manny Legece is doing just fine behind a defense that has yet to allow 30 shots against in any game.
4. Philadelphia Flyers (3-2-0; Last Week: 5) – The Flyers didn't exactly take it easy during an unusual six-day break in the schedule. The team trained for two days at West Point, a favorite stop for coach Ken Hitchcock. According to the Philadelphia Daily News, players got a sobering reality check when they learned their host from their last visit had been killed in action.
5. Nashville Predators (6-0-0; Last Week: 8) – You won't hear the Preds complaining about the shootout. Half of Nashville's six wins weren't secured until after a scoreless overtime, and Predators goalies have turned aside all eight shots they've faced in three shootouts.
6. Buffalo Sabres (5-2-0; Last Week: 10) – Shuffle up and deal. Coach Lindy Ruff altered all four of his lines before Thursday's win over Boston. He called his demotion of Tim Connolly to the fourth line a "silent message." The center responded with his first goal of the season and an assist against the Bruins.
7. Toronto Maple Leafs (4-1-2; Last Week: 16) – The Leafs are blowing leads left and right – they sqandered their 11th advantage of the season Thursday – but they keep winning. They have Eric Lindros and Jason Allison to thank for much of their success, but the "kid line" featuring Alexander Steen and Matt Stajan was solid Thursday.
9. New Jersey Devils (4-3-0; Last Week: 11) – According to the New York Post, a recent two-game skid prompted Devils goalie Martin Brodeur to consider ditching some equipment that dates back to his days in the juniors. There really is nothing sacred in this new-look NHL.
10. Minnesota Wild (4-2-1; Last Week: 20) – Coach Jacques Lamaire is coming around. One of the staunchest critics of the NHL's rule changes, Lamaire now admits he likes what he sees out there. Doesn't hurt, of course, that his team has allowed a league-low 14 goals while also leading the league with a relentless power play.
11. Tampa Bay Lightning (4-2-2); Last Week 12) – Out with the old. The Lightning benched veteran Chris Dingman and linemate Martin Cibak and inserted a pair of rookies into the lineup. Both saw substatial ice time in Thursday's 6-0 win at Atlanta.
12. Boston Bruins (3-5-0; Last Week: 4) – An Oklahoma City man had three years added to his prison sentence as a tribute to his hero, Celtics legend Larry Bird. Good thing for him he didn't grow up idolizing Ray Bourque.
13. Los Angeles Kings (6-2-0; Last Week: 22) – The Kings are clicking, from Pavol Demitra all the way down through little big man Michael Cammalleri. Their 6-2 start represents the team's best start since 1990-91.
14. Florida Panthers (5-4-0; Last Week: 15) – After allowing eight goals in five periods in back-to-back road losses, Robert Luongo was back to his old tricks at home Thursday. He stopped 29 of 31 shots in a win over the Capitals.
15. San Jose Sharks (3-3-1; Last Week: 6) – The Sharks earned a rare point in Detroit to open a tough six-game road trip. Then they took two steps back by allowing five third-period goals at Minnesota two nights later.
16. New York Rangers (4-2-3; Last Week: 23) – The Rangers were evacuated from their hotel Thursday in a bizarre incident involving a disgruntled hotel employee. Kevin Weekes slept through the whole thing. One could argue he didn't wake up until after allowing three goals on three shots later in the evening.
17. Colorado Avalanche (2-3-1; Last Week: 15) – The Avs have squandered three-goal leads twice in the last three games. Goalie David Aebischer was already on the hot seat after allowing five goals on 18 shots against Nashville. Another meltdown against the Kings didn't help his case. The team is expected to welcome Milan Hejduk back into the lineup Friday.
18. Edmonton Oilers (3-4-1; Last Week: 9) – After skating circles around teams in the opening week, the Oilers have managed just seven goals in their past five games. Central to the problem is health. Ryan Smyth, Shawn Horcoff and Todd Harvey have all missed time.
19. Calgary Flames (3-4-1; Last Week: 18) – Despite their losing record, the Flames are outscoring opponents 12-9 during five-on-five hockey. The problem? The Flames have scored on only 6.6 percent of their power-play opportunities.
20. Dallas Stars (4-3-0; Last Week: 17) – If it's not a groin injury it's back spasms. Joe Thornton is battling back problems in Boston, and now Dallas trigger man Sergei Zubov is sidelined. Was stretching prohibited in the new CBA?
21. New York Islanders (4-3-0; Last Week: 21) – After going 0-8-2 in 10 meetings against the Rangers, the Islanders suddenly won back-to-back installments of the Battle of New York.
23. Carolina Hurricanes (3-2-1; Last Week: 24) – They'll get a boost when Ray Whitney joins the lineup for the first time. He's been sidelined by a groin injury, but has been practicing lately with the team's top power-play line.
24. Phoenix Coyotes (3-5-1; Last Week: 27) – Six of their eight games have been decided by one goal. The other two were two-goal margins. They'll win a lot of close games as long as Curtis Joseph keeps playing at his current level.
25. Anaheim Mighty Ducks (2-3-1; Last Week: 19) – The Los Angeles Times reports that goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere is upset over what he perceives as a snub from Canadian Olympic officials. "Cam who?" he reportedly said upon learning that Cam Ward had received an invite to the pre-Olympic camp. Ward tops J.S. in every relevant stat category.
26. Chicago Blackhawks (2-5-0; Last Week: 25) – The three biggest stories of the season: Sidney Crosby, the shootout and groin injuries. It's an epidemic, which makes you wonder why Chicago coach Trent Yawney sent Adrian Aucoin out for 20 minutes of action in the first two periods Tuesday. Aucoin had missed the previous four games with a groin injury, then reaggravated the injury in the third period.
27. St. Louis Blues (2-4-1; Last Week: 29) – Those Tkachunk jokes just won't go away. Left wing Keith Tkachuk, suspended during training camp for reporting out of shape, was injured again at practice Monday and landed on the injured list.
28. Pittsburgh Penguins (0-3-4; Last Week: 26) – The return of Joceyln Thibault did nothing to help the Penguins, now off to the worst start in the team's 39-year history. Pittsburgh, the NHL's only winless team, has been outshot in all but one of its games.
29. Washington Capitals (3-5-0; Last Week: 30) – Rookie Alexander Ovechkin scored a point in his eighth straight game Thursday. Potential linemate Alexander Semin, the team's first-round draft pick in 2002, appears to be stuck in Russia for the foreseeable future.
30. Columbus Blue Jackets (1-5-0; Last Week: 28) – The pressure remains on defensemen Adam Foote and Bryan Berard – at least until winger Rick Nash returns from an ankle injury. That could be two weeks out. Until then, Columbus is the most beatable team in the league.