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By Ryan Lambert
[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.]
9. That Team You Hate
After receiving many complaints about the fact that these Power Rankings are not real — or rather, not traditional power rankings; they remain quite real and you can tell because you are reading them as we speak — due to the lack of actual teams being in them, I decided to start doing things your way.
Why are they always trying to beat your beloved team? Oh man they're the absolute worst. I can't believe it. Screw those guys.
8. Crackpot Theories
The thing with the Maple Leafs making the playoffs last season is that almost everyone outside the front offices at the Air Canada Centre considers it to have been one hell of a lucky occurrence. That was not a roster that appeared primed for a playoff showing, and the "underlying" statistics like their share of corsi events and their shooting percentage were markedly different. The former was worst in the league at 44.1 percent, the latter first out of 30 at 10.56 percent.
This screams luck to people who pay attention to those types of statistics. Because the thing is, in theory anyway, higher-quality shots even in smaller volumes would produce enough goals to win you games and get you into the playoffs. "Shot quality," however, seems not to exist, or at least be a thing that teams can really control, much like the BABIP stat in baseball.
This week Phil Birnbaum posited that maybe the Leafs gamed the system a little bit, though. The idea is that they weren't lucky, but that the Leafs played every game and in every scenario as though they were leading by two goals or more; in general teams that are leading by more than a goal tend to have higher shooting percentages and lower corsi rates because they're in a shell, and really only shooting on high-quality chances.
Are corsi and shot quality inversely related? Birnbaum says yes.
This is all inside baseball, but if true, you could in theory pick your spots offensively and hope like hell your defensive shell doesn't get cracked. But then, if this is the case, why are the Leafs the only team to have ever figured this out, and really the only team for which we have corsi data that has ever had this much success in doing that?
That's the part that doesn't make any sense.
(However, having someone run the numbers and say things that don't jibe with popular thought in the "advanced" hockey stats world is probably valuable in the long run. This theory, though, is a little too Area 51-ish for me.)
A recent poll conducted in Chicago found that 38 percent of the entire Blackhawks' fanbase is made up entirely of women. That's up from 28 percent just five years ago.
There are probably a lot of reasons for this, beginning most obviously with the fact that five years ago the Blackhawks hadn't won a Stanley Cup in a while and today they're sitting on two in four years, and thus casual or even disinterested observers can become fans despite having never been before. Moreover, though, the Blackhawks have aggressively pushed to better connect with female fans.
One of the big reason Crain's Chicago Business sees for it: Cute boys. Look at Patrick Sharp. He's cute as heck, right gals? He's on a "female-friendly" radio show every week, presumably doing an updated version of the Corey Hotline ("Here's a list of things that rhyme with Patrick: Hat trick, nonstick, pediatric…").
And they're all so young too! Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane and Andrew Shaw and Nick Leddy are under 25. You can hang their posters on your wall. Plus the team is big on Pinterest! That's 80 percent women. You know women be shopping.
Anyway girls can't just like hockey for no reason. It's a sport for men only that's the point here. That brawl in the USA/Canada game a few days ago was over a teen boy's floppy haircut.
I touched on it in What We Learned but it really needs to be stressed again that over the weekend, the No. 59 team (out of 59) in Division 1 NCAA hockey beat the No. 1 team. At the No. 1 team's home rink. On their "banner night" after winning the conference the previous season.
I say this as someone who is an alum of said No. 1 team's school (go Lowell forever): Sacred Heart, that was awesome, and I'm glad I was in the building for it.
5. This Tweet
I love everything about it.
The xenophobia, the stunning lack of understanding of the Oilers' situation with either Yakupov or Hemsky, the straight-up ignoring the Flyers' cap situation, etc. It's all wonderful. A-plus stuff, Panotch.
Patrick Kaleta, at long last, had his suspension hearing yesterday after already having missed two games and was then hit with an additional eight games for his hit to Jack Johnson's noodle.
This is, frankly, not enough, but also the logical conclusion to the kind of disciplinary gauntlet that Kaleta has been building toward. The fact that he's been fined three times and now suspended for a fourth in since 2009 is insane. If you're looking at the "rats" that need to be run out of the game, this is where the discussion begins, lingers for a while in the middle and also ends.
The term "garbage" gets thrown around a lot these days but Patrick Kaleta is garbage. Maybe this wakes him up, in the way that getting screamed at all summer by Mario Lemieux and Ray Shero did for Matt Cooke. But as with Cooke, until we're given legitimate evidence of contrition, it's a safe assumption that Kaleta will continue to "play on the edge" and try to injure his opponents given the slightest opportunity. This is especially true for people who share the ice with him on any given shift.
Only getting 10 games is too damn good for him.
Everyone very rightly made a big old deal out of the Anaheim Ducks going Mighty once again over the weekend, so that leads to a very serious question:
If everyone hates the current Ducks uniforms and color scheme, and they do, why don't they just go back to the "eggplant" and "jade" and the duck mask thing full-time?
What we think of as being so over-the-top 90s — weird shades of already-weird colors — that they are only acceptable on gimmick nights like the one a few days ago. However, the truth is that 20 years from now we're probably going to look back on the black-and-orange motif today as being regrettably late-00's, the kind of embarrassingly out-of-date nonsense that makes your parents look at pictures from when you were born and say, "Oh god look at my hair." At least going back to purple and green gets you
Hell, they already have the duck mask as an alternate logo on the black-and-orange stuff now. Just move it to the front at least. That D thing is atrocious.
Aren't we, as a society, just tired of black jerseys at this point? I don't see the big deal here.
2. The 1997-98 Lightning
I had to look this up like four times because I couldn't believe it was true and also because I would never subject myself to watching a Sabres game unless I absolutely had to, but right now Buffalo has 10 goals scored in eight games.
Just 10 goals scored, and it was seven in seven before they ran, well, "roughshod" isn't the word, in a shootout win over the Islanders. Only Tom Vanek has more than one. He has three. It's an amazing accomplishment, really. Before last night they were only shooting 3.9 percent as a team, which is obviously going to come up but who's going to do it? Maybe Tyler Ennis? He doesn't have any points at all through those seven games, but that's okay because neither do 10 of the other skaters who have suited up for the team this year.
The reason this is noteworthy is that we might end up seeing the worst offense in NHL history; even a significant uptick in scoring would probably get it done. The above-mentioned Bolts of the late 1990s are the current NHL record-holders in the fewest-goals-scored-in-82-games department at just 151 (1.84 per game).
It's a great fortune that Vanek will probably be traded this season, because I really want to see the mighty Quetzalcoatl of Mikael Renberg and Alex Selivanov, who led those Lightning in goals with 16 apiece, finally toppled. Too long have they lorded their futility over the hockey world.
Brian Flynn, do you have what it takes to lead the Sabres in scoring with just 15 goals? Gee whiz I hope so.
1. Your favorite team
Can you believe how great they are? I'm so glad they're having that season. The game the other night was crazy!!! It's cool that you like them. I hope their being No. 1 this week makes you happy.
(Not ranked this week: Tomas Hertl: Career killer; My plans to bring fireworks and knives to the Winter Classic; The outrage over Henrik Lundqvist going on Letterman while his team was 1-4 if he had been Russian or something; scratching Nail Yakupov; dressing Nail Yakupov; trading Nail Yakupov?; people who get really mad when you use "advanced statistics" like corsi to tell them the things they think might not be right; Bon Jovi; Mark Scheifele continuing to make "heady plays" (© Ray Ferraro) even after leaving the junior ranks; weepy tributes to Patrick Roy after he lucked into a 6-0 start)