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[Author's note: Power rankings 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.]
9. Brent Seabrook
Brent Seabrook reportedly wants Shea Weber money and PK Subban years? He is 30 years old and a No. 2 defenseman. Good luck, Brent!
8. Sitting on a lead
Maybe if you're playing Chicago, a team that has proven over the last few years to be pretty okay at this “winning in the playoffs” thing, you don't try to sit on a one-goal lead for like 59:50. Tampa came out of the gate throwing bombs, couldn't get more than that one crazy tip-in past Corey Crawford (who, remember, is a Bad Playoff Goalie Who's Not Worth The Money!!!!), and then were just like, “Ah that's probably plenty.”
It wasn't plenty. Who could have foreseen it though? Not anyone!
7. Blaming Rick Nash
You look at how the Rangers went through the playoffs, right, and you see a lot of reason to be concerned. The Rangers' defense isn't good enough. The offense often struggled. Everyone but Henrik Lundqvist was pretty much assailable.
And when you go looking for people to blame, you... start with your No. 2 scorer?
Nash averaged a point a game in the Conference Finals, which is the same number as Bad Player Who Sucks And Isn't Even In the Conn Smythe Conversation Patrick Kane had for Chicago. Nash was a possession driver on a team that was not driving possession, faced top competition, and was 0.02 points per 60 at even strength off the team lead. And this is the guy you want to skewer?
How about saying the Rangers need to do something about their expensive-ass, porous defense? Yeah, Nash gets $7.8 million annually against the cap, and that's the highest number on the team for an outfield player by far, but the Rangers are poised to spend $28.55 million on defense next season, after that blue line gave up 41 goals in 19 games in this postseason, and not one of them was into an empty net. And that's with Lundqvist stopping .928. If he's even a little bit average this team gets annihilated.
The Rangers are a sub-50 possession team, and in terms of shots per 60 minutes at even strength, they pushed 30 in these playoffs, which is Calgary territory. That's not good. But it is costly.
If you want to argue the Rangers should trade Rick Nash because he's 30, expensive, and never likely to be as good as he was this year again, then yeah, that's reasonable. Get what you can for him, while you still can. But if the impetus for doing so is, “He was only second on the team in points this postseason behind his linemate,” well, that's idiotic.
6. Another Ranger problem
Maybe it's just that everyone accepts that he's old and bad now, but Marty St. Louis was awful in the postseason and also cost the Rangers a lot of money. Getting someone who can actually play at an NHL level as the season progresses into his role should go a long way to helping the Rangers out.
But here's a question: Why on earth does anyone else sign him?
5. Poor Henrik Lundqvist
In furtherance of that stuff about how bad the Rangers defense is — and it's bad, folks — you get the feeling that this might have been his last, best shot at winning a Cup.
His problems have been pretty clear: The Rangers usually aren't a well-built team so no amount of “stopping .930ish” in the playoffs is going to make up for the fact that he can't also score goals himself at the other end. Since he came into the league, he's played 111 playoff games — his team missed just one postseason since 2005-06 — and apart from some poor numbers prior to 2010, he's basically been an elite among elite-level goaltenders; over the past four postseasons, he's faced 2,272 shots and allowed just 160 goals (a .930 save percentage).
And now he's 33 years old, and it's difficult to see how the Rangers actually improve the roster from where it is right now to give him a better shot at advancing to a Cup Final again, let alone getting over the hump. Things can go right in short bursts, of course. They went right for the Rangers all season — thus the Presidents' Trophy — and even deep into the playoffs. But this is a team that just isn't good; it's certainly a little better than okay, but anyone who thinks this year's performance wasn't an anomaly needs a brain scan.
How much longer an you expect him to be so far above world class that the Rangers can even get close to competing? What can Glen Sather do to reasonably improve this team given his current constraints?
Don't say “Trade Rick Nash,” either.
4. Bruce Boudreau
About 24 hours after Elliotte Friedman suggested that the relationship between Bruce Boudreau and Ducks GM Bob Murray is “strained,” Boudreau was on Sportsnet radio and had a rather interesting chat on his history of losing Games 7.
The money quote here: “I don't win them, and I don't think I'm losing them.”
And that's what's important to note? Boudreau's goalies in Games 7 have a combined save percentage — I can't believe this is true — of .858. The goalies his teams have faced? .938. That's right, an 80-point difference in save percentage. Eighty. The number of times his team's goalies have cleared the less-than-league-average mark of just .910? Twice, and none since 2009.
Maybe you say that's a coaching thing, but we know that percentages get weird in short samples. And I'm not inclined to believe that whatever Boudreau is telling his charges before the eight Games 7 in question leads to a reliable PDO of 92.0. That just doesn't stand up to scrutiny.
Let's put it another way: This year's Ducks, despite their various flaws, got eliminated from the postseason having lost two just games in regulation out of 16. Are we going to talk about how coaching is to blame here? Really?
Even taking playoff OT losses out of the equation, Boudreau's teams have won almost 65 percent of their games in both the regular- and postseasons, so maybe — MAYBE — he's just a good coach who's gone through some awful luck.
3. Guys who can't get a decent opportunity from Joel Quenneville
Maybe all that “What's wrong with Teuvo Teravainen/Antoine Vermette?” talk can be answered with, “Joel Quenneville has given them one opportunity to succeed in the postseason, combined.”
I dunno, it's probably just that Teravainen Isn't Ready Yet and Vermette Was A Bad Deadline Acquisition. Both those things definitely seem more plausible than “giving two guys with their talent level third-line minutes at best might not be the best way to maximize their potential for contributing meaningfully.” What are Kris Versteeg and Bryan Bickell supposed to do? Not-get all those minutes they don't deserve?
2. The Cup Final
Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay it's here! I'm so excited I'm barely even going to complain about the league taking Monday and Tuesday off.
1. That rich Rangers fan
He is VERY interested in letting you know he is rich as hell. What a good guy who seems really cool and down to earth. I'm super sad he spent $4,500 — “Four Thousand Five Hundred, Hundreds Only” — to see his team get shut out. He didn't deserve that at all. No sir.
(Not ranked this week: The Bill of Rights!!!!!!!!!
How, in 2015, do we still have people arguing that something a private company does is somehow violating a person's constitutional rights? Can't bring a gun into a burrito shop and wave it around like Michael Douglas in “Falling Down?” Constitutional violation! Can't wear an opposing team's logo — which is racist by the way hahaha oh yeah we can't talk about that — into a very small section of an arena? Constitutional violation! The British are forcing you to quarter troops in your home? Well, you might actually want to call your Congressman about that one.
Bloomberg's Kavitha A. Davidson — the “A” stands for “A degree in constitutional law, I do not have” — argued that the Tampa Bay Lightning's decision to not let fans wearing Chicago gear into Amalie Arena's premium seating area seems to be, “at best bad sportsmanship and at worst a First Amendment violation.”
Wow that would be bad!!!!!
Let me pull out my Pocket Bill of Rights. Here were are. First one (convenient): “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”
Now, I don't see where this is a law passed by Congress, so maybe that argument starts to lose its fastball a little. But hey, at least it's not comparing this in any way to the civil rights movement, or, say, “Brown v. Board of Education.” No one is comparing this to that, thankfully.
What's that, Kavitha? “Then there's the unsavory idea of what amounts to 'separate but equal' premium seating, promising richer Bolts fans a Blackhawks-free safe-zone in the luxury suites and clubs.”
Hmm. Well that seems... bad.
Can you imagine actually believing something this goddamn stupid?)