[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.] 7. Jack Johnson's parents The immediate reaction to the shocking story in the Columbus Dispatch about Jack Johnson's money troubles, brought on entirely by his parents, was along the lines of, "How could you do that to your own child?" Now, who knows for sure if there was actual malice behind their intent (I'd tend to doubt it but you never know), and all that, but it was just one shocking revelation after another. Lots of people are very naïve about money to begin with, and when you're dealing with multiple commas in any denomination, it's not hard to see how an attempt to do things a little differently might end up with some greedy, savvy people finding a way to get between even the modestly wealthy and their money. Not that this excuses Johnson's parents; in fact, they should be in jail as far as I'm concerned. But if you're inexperienced with huge sums of money, that's something that happens all too often. "A fool and his money are soon parted," and all that. But here's the other thing: that stuff about "his dad was always making an ass of himself at games when Jack played for Michigan" really only scratches the surface of how mega-involved his father was in every aspect of his playing career. He didn't have an agent, okay. Some guys let their family handle things and don't end up losing millions. But Jack Johnson, Sr., has apparently always been guiding his son's career. Recall he was drafted by Carolina but basically refused to leave college to play there. He was traded to Los Angeles and signed there more or less the second his season at Michigan ended. Was this at the behest of his father? Who knows? (But almost certainly it was.) People who have been around college hockey for years knew all the crazy Jack Johnson, Sr., stories . This wasn't really all that surprising a turn of events for me, a person who's heard it all, so much as one of those things where I said, "Man, that's messed up, but am I surprised? I mean, not really." 6. Salutes Here's the thing about what the Maple Leafs went through late last week: It was stupid and they made it worse for themselves. What they should have said, what would have made Saluteghazi respectable, was if Dion Phaneuf or Phil Kessel had come out and said, "Yeah it was an eff-you to the fans, and they deserve it. If you keep throwing jerseys on the ice to disrespect us when we lose, we don't feel the obligation to thank you after we win." Not that that's a stance I would necessarily find myself agreeing with, but I'd at least say, "Damn, good for you Dion." Fans should feel free to throw jerseys on the ice to protest poor performance if they want — not that you can necessarily call the Leafs' start "poor," especially by that franchise's already-low standards — and players should feel free to tell them to take their money and shove it. Here's how you know no one cared about the lack of salute: No fans complained about it or really even noticed until prompted to do so by the vultures in the local media who needed something to trash the players for after they beat the hell out of the Bolts. "Can you believe they did this to you?" "Did what?" "They didn't salute you. They don't respect you!" "Hey, yeah, that's messed up. Now I'm angry." Then we got to go around and question Phaneuf's leadership for the lucky one-millionth time. And we got to exonerate the coaching staff who We Swear To God Had No Idea These Prick Players Would Do That To You The Fans Who Love Them. This was a "find a way to call Kessel lazy" away from being a Toronto Media Hat Trick. And yeah, if the players had basically not-turtled and said they were telling the fans exactly where they could stick their thrown jerseys, instead of saying what the team's army of beleaguered PR flaks told them to say, that would have been awesome. Who says the Leafs aren't well-coached? It's not a good business model to tell paying customers you consider them beneath contempt (even if they deserve it), of course. But for every suddenly offended corporate suit in the lower bowl who could actually reach the ice with a jersey toss, there are four in the Greater Toronto Area willing to take his place and pay a premium for the benefit. Frankly, this is a team that could do with better fans in the first place. 5. Milan Lucic Greg used the term "punchline" to describe what Lucic, once one of the most feared and coveted power forwards in the game, has become. I don't think that's necessarily fair because it implies there's something funny about being a cheapshot crybaby who does nothing but cry about respect while providing none himself. This is pervasive in the league, and has been for a long time of course, but Lucic has become the craft's foremost practitioner to the point that it would be difficult to look over his shoulder and see the runner up against the horizon. Here's how bad it's gotten with what a puke Lucic is: I saw on Facebook an article posted by one of the more repulsive Bruins fanboy DIRTY WAHTAH blogs called Dalton Prout a terribly offensive name in the title, as is the wont of such blogs, but then the vast majority of the comments were basically, “Yeah, Lucic had this coming and I'm kind of glad it happened.” Really shocking, considering this was, again, a For-Boston-Fanboys-By-Boston-Fanboys (the classic FBFBBF) site. When even these people, who wouldn't spit on PK Subban if he were on fire, are like, “Yeah, Lucic deserved it,” you know it's gotten really bad. 4. Being surprised by the Flyers Ron Hextall seems legitimately surprised that a team with Andy MacDonald and Mark Streit as its top pair, and Steve Mason as its goalie, is not good. After all, how else do you explain ripping into a team with only a small number of legitimate players, after a loss to a division rival that is significantly better. The Flyers aren't good, and I think that was evident all along. It certainly is now. Have all the screaming fits and throw all the trash cans you want, but you can't intimidate this team into being competitive over 82 games. There seems to be a fundamental lack of understanding about these issues in the city of Philadelphia in general, because the “big-name” defensemen the team has acquired in recent years are MacDonald (among the worst in the league), Streit (once-useful but now a million years old), and Luke Schenn (genuinely bad). Mike Del Zotto is getting No. 3 minutes there, and no one sees that as any sort of a problem. This does not a contender make, even if the team were otherwise bolstering its chances by acquiring top players to support guys like Jake Voracek, Claude Giroux, and Wayne Simmonds, all of whom are difference-makers. Instead, they trade for RJ Umberger and dump Scott Hartnell. If not for Mason inexplicably standing on his head the other night against the Islanders (the team still lost in a shootout), these Flyers get their doors blown off and rightly so. But its' the Islanders' resurgence that “ no one saw coming ?” I can't imagine the kind of warped view you'd have to have of the league at this point to think to yourself that the Flyers and Islanders should somehow be switched in the standings. Hextall may be “slash Kent Nilsson” mad right now, but when your top-six D looks like this, you're always going to lose a lot of hockey games. Wanna do something about it? Get on the phone, not the players. 3. Lake-effect snow Anything that keeps Patrick Kaleta out of your lineup is a good thing. Guess you could say he was blindsided by it. 2. Sorting out Voynov's situation Nice to finally see the NHLPA and NHL come to an agreement about the way in which the league would handle Slava Voynov's cap hit only a month after he was initially suspended (with pay). Turns out he won't count against their cap for the rest of the season, and all it took was him being formally charged with spousal abuse — a real blow to all the “he didn't do anything wrong!” morons who will always stand behind abusers and not their victims — for that to happen. There's a lot the league and PA can learn from this broken process, and the first is to treat this kind of incident more gravely going forward. The implication from Gary Bettman that the Kings basically insisted on shorting themselves cap-wise seems odd and also probably untrue, given how much Dean Lombardi wanted this thing sorted out so he didn't have to keep dressing 19 guys every night. Thus, setting guidelines in the wake of this bizarre incident is probably a good idea; “If a player is arrested for domestic violence, he shall be suspended with/without pay and not count against the salary cap of his team,” blah blah blah. Seems really simple, doesn't it? But the league is basically still making things up as it goes along. He's formally charged, so that's why his team got cap relief? That doesn't make a lot of sense — unless the league was acknowledging that this would more or less hold him out for the entire season, as though “just a month” were a reasonable amount of time for a team to be kept in limbo — and clarity here will be key moving forward. 1. Daniel Alfredsson You had to figure that this was coming, and the formal announcement still hasn't been made, but happy trails to Daniel Alfredsson. Just a real legend of the game who toiled so thanklessly (at the league level, at any rate; his highest-ever finish in Hart voting was fifth, when he went 43-60-103 in 77 games) and for so long on a dead-end team. I think he fell into the Mike Modano trap of “tarnishing his legacy,” or whatever you want to call it, by spending that last year in Detroit, where he was still very good but not, you know, the Daniel Alfredsson you see in your mind (certainly his stay there wasn't as much of a disaster as Modano's). And were it not for the two most recent lockouts claiming a season and a half of his career — 82 games of which would have come in the run of seasons when he put up the best numbers of his career — I think we'd all remember him as being just a little bit better than we do now. He never got that victory lap Teemu Selanne did, and he never really got to be appreciated in Ottawa one last time. Not to the extent he deserved, anyway. I get sad when I think about all these players from my childhood retiring. There are so few left, and I guess that just means I'm getting old. I still get to be sad about it. So long, Alfie. (Not ranked this week: Wins. On Monday night, Marc-Andre Fleury got his 300th career win, and there was much smugness from his supporters. With reason: Only 100 more and he'll be as good as Chris Osgood.)
Toronto Maple Leafs (11-8-2) at Pittsburgh Penguins (14-4-2) 7:30 PM - SN, ROOT CONSOL Energy Center – Pittsburgh, PA Tonight the Pens host one of the most unbearable and omnipresent organizations from top-to-bottom in all of professional sports: the Toronto Maple Leafs. The aura of self-importance that surrounds this team is ironic because the only reason most people follow the Leafs is to make jokes at their expense. There’s so much to be embarrassed by if you’re a rational fan of this team –assuming of course Toronto has “rational” fans. Honestly, if you made a list, it could go on forever. Let’s start with the players. Their captain is the useless Dion Phaneuf. There’s a joke that just wrote itself. He was, of course, appointed captain by the Leafs management and coaching staff. If you needed an example of how clueless the group of people running this team are, there it is. Seriously, this team would be better off in the hands of the people who ran PanAm. Then th
Every Wednesday during the season, NHL.com fantasy hockey correspondent Brian Metzer will provide you with in-depth defensemen analysis. From updated weekly top 60 rankings to trending players and more, Metzer will be your go-to guy for fantasy blue line advice all season long.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The Vancouver Canucks honored late coach Pat Quinn in a pregame ceremony on Tuesday night.
VANCOUVER, British Columbia (AP) -- The Vancouver Canucks honored late coach Pat Quinn in a pregame ceremony on Tuesday night.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Murray Oliver, a five-time All-Star who briefly coached the Minnesota North Stars, has died from a heart attack. He was 77.
The NHL is a story of the haves and the have nots. A handful of teams are thriving and posting big revenues while others are struggling to draw 10,000+ fans on a consistent basis. A new study from Forbes has revealed that just six teams were responsible for 76% of the NHL’s total operating income from 2013-14. Via Forbes, here are the teams responsible for bringing in the most money: Toronto Maple Leafs: $1.3 billion New York Rangers: $1.1 billion Montreal Canadiens: $1 billion Chicago Blackhawks: $825 million Vancouver Canucks: $800 million Boston Bruins: $750 million As crazy as it is that just six teams were responsible for 76% of the operating income, there are a few other noteworthy facts from the Forbes piece worth mentioning. For instance, all 30 teams saw their values rise over the past year. The article actually mentions that the Florida Panthers did not see their value increase, but that was due to an error made by the author when calculating his evaluations last year. ...
We typically keep things pretty Pens-centric around here, but today we’re going to dish out some takes from around the NHL this week. There isn’t a lot of feel-good stories this week. Pascal Dupuis is out for the season, Jack Johnson has some terrible parents, and Toronto and Edmonton suck. This might be the most depressing HotTake Tuesday of all time, but at least we can rag on the Leafs and Oilers so we can feel better about things. Pascal Dupuis To Miss Six-Plus Months (Should the Penguins seek a trade sooner rather than later?) Richter: The Duper injury is incredibly unfortunate and the timing… well. It’s never really a good time to get an injury, but with an already thin top-six, it forces Jim Rutherford’s hand a little quicker and takes away a good bit of leverage in trade talks. Teams already knew the Pens would be on the prowl for a top-six winger. Teams now know that they’re even more desperate to fill those roles with the top-six essentially being a top-four. Unless someone like David
The Pittsburgh Penguins avoided a season-high third straight loss with a big victory their last time out. They've had plenty of success against Toronto, although the Maple Leafs appear to have righted the ship just in time after an ugly three-game losing streak.
Nashville Predators netminder Pekka Rinne has returned to Vezina Trophy calibre after two years of hip woes and creeping doubt