[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.]
7. Being Oblivious
The San Jose Sharks have begun selling these “Puck Dynasty” shirts, which is funny because it's a play on the oddly popular and — I'm sure — in no way actually compelling quote-unquote reality show “Duck Dynasty.”
People will see the shirt and buy it because of the funny pun.
But does someone want to point out to the Sharks that they are a sports team and, I don't know, in the sports context of the word “dynasty,” the implication is that a team has won multiple championships? There's a lot of discussion about what, exactly, makes up a dynasty; is it two titles in a row? Two in three years? Do the Blackhawks, winning two out of the last four Stanley Cups, qualify?
One team that obviously does not qualify is the Sharks, who are in fact most famous for having decidedly NOT won a championship at any point in their 20-year history. Which is fine, by the way. Maybe this is the year. Sure looks it at this early date, anyway. But still, affixing the word “dynasty” to anything related to the San Jose Sharks of the infamous playoff meltdown, well, it's asking to be teased.
6. Scaaaaary Costumes
Thursday being Halloween, the hockey world is now being haunted by pictures of players wearing costumers. The best so far is Dougie Hamilton as a giant baby. Maybe he and PJ Stock can share diaper tips.
(And we're begging you, Tyler Bozak and Raffi Torres, let's lay off the blackface this year, my creepies.)
5. Cam Talbot
This was supposed to be the big year for Henrik Lundqvist. He's a UFA this summer, not exactly a spring chicken, and looking to firmly establish himself as the best goaltender in the world.
Instead, he has been about as good as Karri Ramo. Which is to say not very good.
Through eight appearances this season, Lundqvist has allowed 22 goals on 209 shots, giving him a save percentage of .895, “good” for 29th in the league. He's also been hampered by an unspecified injury which cost him two games a little while back.
In his absence, and his atypical putrid performances, rookie backup Cam Talbot has shined. Wednesday night was his third start of the season, and obviously that's rather a small sample size, but the fact of the matter is that he's generally been better, and certainly provides a more secure backup than Martin Biron did this year. People tried to make a bit of a thing about Talbot starting last night, on the second day of a back-to-back, when his team's starter was just coming off injury.
There's no goaltending controversy here, obviously, but there is something going on with Lundqvist this season. Maybe it's the smaller pads, maybe it's something else, but when he's asking the New York Post to get the NHL to clarify the rules on distinct kicking motions because the goals against hurt his stats, that seems crazy. This guy used to be Gatsby, cool and collected even in the worst situations. Now the new coach's system seems not to be going his way. Tough bounce, but that's what happens when you force out the guy who made you great.
There's a lot of time for this all to get sorted, and there's a zero-point-zero percent chance that Talbot ever does anything even remotely resembling taking a run at the starting job. Lundqvist is getting paid by the Rangers this summer, and boy is it probably not a great idea.
4. Jon Bon Jovi
Johnny Bower, Doug Gilmour, Borje Salming, Syl Apps, Red Kelly. Titans of the sport. All with their numbers justifiably hung in the rafters and honored forever by the Maple Leafs until the mountains crumble to the seas and the sun explodes.
Soon, they will be joined by another legend of the sport. John Bongiovi, who founded the 79th-best band in New Jersey history (behind Titus Andronicus, Liquor Store, Screaming Females, the Everymen, Yo La Tengo, the Misfits, Ted Leo, Big Troubles, and a bunch I'm sure I'm forgetting, plus Bruce Springsteen I guess) is synonymous with hockey. Or something. Which is why the Leafs have deigned to retire his number as well. One assumes that number, specifically, will be “0,” to signify the number of listenable songs he has ever written.
When this was announced, there was of course much derision, but then it was pointed out that Billy Joel has his number hung in the rafters at Madison Square Garden, Wells Fargo Center, and Nassau Coliseum, which is almost more embarrassing. That guy has apparently played for more PatrickPlus teams than Arron Asham.
3. Darcy Regier
Well the Buffalo Sabres are well and truly having their now-annual yard sale already this season, shipping Thomas Vanek to the New York Islanders for a raft of very attractive pieces. They'll keep the picks, but Matt Moulson already has a price tag stuck to his forehead that says “First-round pick.”
The Hockey News had a very good rundown of all the picks and players the Sabres have stockpiled since they kind of half-heartedly committed the rebuild about two years ago. That includes four first-rounders, six second-rounders, a few more later-round picks, a collection of decent-to-good young players, Steve Ott for some reason, and so on. That's how you do a rebuild, and this is especially true because it's still ongoing. Ryan Miller and Moulson and probably a few more guys are as good as gone, and will probably fetch pretty hefty returns.
(Garth Snow, meanwhile, is getting killed for trading a lot to only marginally upgrade his attack, when Ryan Miller was sitting right there, but the goaltender has a no-trade and might have invoked it. Tough to understand the logic behind hoping to win every game 6-5 in today's NHL.)
The thing is, though, Regier is probably not long for the job, and so the sooner he gets fired (after knocking down the last standing walls of the burnt-out shell of the house he lit on fire), the sooner his replacement can get to work on actually building a team properly.
A lot has been made in recent weeks of the start Alex Steen has gotten himself. Prior to Tuesday night's game, he was tied for the league lead in goals at 10, and was tied for fourth in points at 15. In just nine games. (Update: Steen scored again on Tuesday night to take over the league lead in goal-scoring.)
Something is different. That's what everyone figures, anyway. And it makes sense, on some level, that they should figure that, considering his career high in goals in 24 and he only scored 20 one other time. So what's different? How about this answer from Steen:
“I'm not doing anything different.”
That's not, technically, true. The thing he's doing different is shooting 38.5 percent. His first 10 goals came on just 26 shots. Right now, he's actually averaging fewer shots per game than his per-game total in any of the last three season. And that's with a minute and a half of extra TOI every night.
By way of comparison, Alex Ovechkin's co-league-leading 10 in 12 games have come on 75 shots. That's more than double Steen's shots per game.
So what's different is luck. What isn't different is...
1. The Patrick Roy Diet
Another guy who has the hockey world scratching its head so far this season is Matt Duchene, who has been otherworldly for the Avalanche.
What's the reason there? He's on a gluten-free diet. (And he doesn't hate his coach.) (And he's now in the middle of his second straight healthy season.)
But the diet!
Not to say that actually liking your coach and the system he espouses won't do wonders for your career, but that stuff about the gluten-free diet is just bunk. Unless Duchene has celiac disease, the effects will probably be minimal.
Like Steen, too, it helps that Duchene is currently shooting at about twice his career average. I'd put a lot of stock into that too.
Basically, don't expect every kid who was starting to look like something of a draft bust to start buying into some crazy fad diets just because people think Matt Duchene benefited from it.
Just like Ken Hitchcock turned the Blues into a juggernaut with no roster turnover, it seems Patrick Roy has done the same for the Avs by letting their skill players actually use their skill. Novel concept, I know.
(Not ranked this week: People getting their Vanek jerseys turned into Moulson jerseys, Mark Giordano's already-faint Olympic hopes, the Jarome Iginla goalscoring slump, anyone hoping Gary Bettman would take it easy on Patrick Kaleta, the second Toronto franchise,