SPNHL, Season 36: Week Two – Power Rankings
Recently, there have been some tragic deaths in a community I’m involved in, and it made me really reflect on my actions and how I conduct myself on this platform. We need to be better to each other; we all like to chirp and talk shit, but there’s a point when it crosses the line and becomes incredibly abusive and damaging. We all know where that proverbial line is, and I strongly encourage people not to cross it, and focus more on bringing others up than pushing them down.
With that being said, I wanted a happy album for my Saturday afternoon. I elected to go with Authority Zero’s “Andiamo” from 2004. This album has a bit of everything: ska, hardcore, skate, and more subgenres of punk. Standouts like “Find Your Way” and “Taking on the World” are fantastic, frenetic tracks to get you through the toughest of times, while “Madman” and “Solitude” illustrate the band’s ability to seamlessly transition from one style to another. Check it out!
We are two weeks into season 36, and we are starting to see how each team is constructing their own identity, whether it be a good or bad one. No team is really running away in the standings, unless you count running away from a playoff spot (man, we really didn’t predict the West correctly, did we?). Many teams are either living up to or surpassing expectations, and those who aren’t are making every move they can to change the course of their season, as we have seen more activity on the trade block than we have in recent seasons (at least from what I can recall).
As we approach the halfway point of the season, the trade deadline looms over teams, which can explain the ludicrous amount of trades conducted over the course of the past week. This is the time to move your enigmatic superstar for two reliable players (good move, Triix) or to fortify your top six with that stud goalie (Calgary won that trade). At this point, teams should be able to identify the cracks in their metaphorical shield, and make the moves necessary to prepare them as they brace for a playoff run.
So, let’s see how many feathers we can ruffle with the power rankings this week. Remember; this isn’t always based on standings, as there are many factors that play into a team’s “power”. Actually, after taking a brief look at the standings, it’s really hard to find a team that validates that claim. Maybe the Penguins and the Senators? IDK. Maybe I’m just trying to justify some radical choices. I’m rambling at this point anyways.
Let’s get to the power rankings!
1. Toronto Maple Leafs.
MVP: toslick (there ya go, DTM!).
Trend: Skyrocketing (W9).
Notable Stats: 87 goals for (2nd), 50% powerplay conversion (2nd).
The Leafs had an outstanding week, becoming the first team to have a perfect week this season. While their schedule wasn’t the most challenging on Tuesday or Friday, they defeated 3 of the top 5 teams in the league on Monday night. Their goaltending has stepped up with MPurch leading the way, and ExE-_-53 is having a Norris caliber season with impressive offensive and defensive numbers with support from Servnspike and Graham_scott. Jcfalcon21, Gucci__gui, and toslick are this team’s offensive contributors, with the latter leading the team with 37 goals and 62 points as Toronto continues to dominate.
2. Boston Bruins.
Trend: Upwards (L1).
Notable Stats: 80.6% penalty kill (2nd), 55 goals against (4th).
Before losing to Minnesota to end the week, the Bruins were on a 9 game win streak and were firing on all cylinders. Boston’s big turnaround from week 1 was due in part to chadkillz134’s return to form, allowing 21 goals in 9 games (down from 34 the week prior). SNAKE_-_PLISSKIN continues to be reliable at the blueline through his frequent pairing with nuckingfutz85, while Capitalsfan_08, DeathClxwn, iyzcniZi, and DudNastyy (47 points and a team leading 4.3 points per game) continue to light teams up as Bostonis starting to play like the team we thought they would be.
3. Detroit Red Wings.
Trend: Sideways (L1).
Notable Stats: 91 goals for (1st), 87.5% penalty kill (1st).
The team everybody loves to hate, the Red Wings came out of the gate flying but cooled down this week. They began the week 0-3, but rebounded and went 4-2 over their next two nights. While LockerRoomCancer has been reliable in net, the Wings should consider putting Budz_780 in the pipes more often. patrickisonfire has been a great shut-down defender to complement Detajax17, who leads the league in points from the blue line with 24 (22 apples!). While LeCupidon has been noted to “carry” Reapz2313, the latter is leading his team with 33 goals (55 points, 2 behind Cupe) and will be looking to do more to rebound from a mediocre week.
4. New Jersey Devils.
Trend: Upwards (W1).
Notable Stats: 72 goals against (9th), 46.7% penalty kill (12th).
Look at us turning the ship around! The Devils carried a win streak into this week that was capped at 5, and after losing two straight games, won 3 of their last 4. While goaltending is still a highly contested position in New Jersey, xEKANE_9x is showing signs of being the starting goalie. The-Statistician is averaging a point per game from the blueline, while Radyjr is excelling as a stay at home partner. bstieboydp and Dirty-Dietrich have combined for 29 goals and have formed a cohesive top line along TrueLegend07, who leads the team with 30 goals and 60 points. Will the Devils keep up their momentum? I hope so!
5. Ottawa Senators.
Trend: Upwards (W2).
Notable Stats: 84 goals against (13th), 43 powerplay opportunities (2nd).
After ending the first week on a 5 game skid, the Senators rebounded with a respectable week and earning 50% of available points. A four game skid this week didn’t deter this streaky Senators team, one that should be backstopped by WCDevon98 going forward. Dynasty1989 has been holding his own on the blueline with 14 points in 15 games, and the recently acquired steelersfan26 will support him as their blueline improves. Randymarsh2012 and the excellent PBM_TroyJ (averaging 5 points a game) are great offensive weapons to help out x_Kane88x, who leads the team with 21 goals and 46 points. While not in a playoff spot now, expect the Senators to make a run for one.
6. Pittsburgh Penguins.
Trend: Downwards (L2).
Notable Stats: 65 goals against (5th), 38.1 powerplay conversion (6th).
While the Penguins are 4 points out of a playoff spot, a disappointing week sees them fall down the rankings amidst a turbulent time for the squad. The Penguins could not get any momentum going this week, with Wade-Belak only winning 1 out of his 6 starts between the pipes. Bostonbruins_4_ matched his input from last week and leads Pittsburgh defenders with 10 points, as Faaa_Kueue and Howard_1333 will be counted on for more games/points. Chelios24x7 and MCoffey9 have paired well with ACK-stonerboy, with Coffey leading the team in goals (21) while Stoner leads the team in points (37). This isn’t a bad team, they just had a bad week and will be flying out of the gates next week.
7. Tampa Bay Lightning.
Trend: Nosediving (L4).
Notable Stats: 46 goals for (14th), 115 goals against (14th).
While we have the first team to post a perfect week, the Lightning were the first team to go through a week without a win this season, only scoring 2 points out of a possible 18. Bufford80 traded away almost everybody that was left this week, with the only players remaining from the original Lightning roster being gbdrumify, Kgod7, and himself. With IceyAsylum23 in net, Bufford and X_beaster_x on defense, and a forward line consisting of IvanThyGreat, Christ-Boyz, and cam123mph, this team might be able to win some games, or at least they’ll show up to them.
1. Nashville Predators.
Trend: Upwards (W2).
Notable Stats: 38 goals against (1st), +36 goal differential (1st).
Nashville continues their reign over the Western conference, holding the top spot in our power rankings for the second week in a row. They maintained consistency with seven wins and only 18 goals against this week (keeping their average at two goals against a game) in kind to excellent goaltending from Spencer_Knight30 and a defensive core structured around ProdigyToLegend. The Predators employ a plethora of talented offensive weapons such as Fear_mjolnir_22, Xx_Kapanen_Xx, and their first overall pick in Kylo_Reli, who leads the team with 21 goals and 45 points in only 12 games, completing a top tier team at both ends of the ice.
2. Calgary Flames.
Trend: Upwards (W3).
Notable Stats: 86 goals for (3rd), 35.1% powerplay conversion (8th).
After a respectable week one, Calgary posted the fewest regulation losses in the West in week two, defeating some of the best teams in the league along the way. While goaltending has always been a question for them, a big trade this week brought Eddie2708_ into the fold, a championship caliber goaltender in other leagues. sabres1414 and Theganjamerc have performed well as the consistent starting defensive pair for the Flames (the former leading with 19 points from the blueline), while the offense has been guided by Fluri37 and Whitetees41, the former leading the league in goals (41) and points (67). Will anybody be able to extinguish the fire of Calgary?
3. Chicago Blackhawks.
Trend: Upwards (W1).
Notable Stats: 47.1% powerplay conversion (3rd), 67 goals against (6th).
Chicago rebounded after a mediocre first week with a 13 point week to keep pace with a very competitive pack of teams. Their depth has shone through; devindags and Bad-buzzz_ have both proven to be very competent goaltenders for the Blackhawks, while marktsib has grown from their last draft pick into their starting right defender, pairing often with MLG_Owen. Offensively, Duchesne_x_10 and XM1n1atur3P33nxX are both averaging 3.4 points per game, with the former leading the team in goals (16) and the latter leading the team in assists (26), while ttommyboiii leads a deep (dish!) Chicago team with 37 points.
4. Minnesota Wild.
Trend: Upwards (W1).
Notable Stats: 60 goals for (11th), 52 goals against (2nd).
Minnesota’s good start to the season continues, as they keep pace with another 11 point week to keep them in a playoff spot in the Western conference. While the Wild have struggled offensively, they have been excellent defensively, as JonFromEarth and TheDrixMeister have come together to make an effective pairing in front of malliaman__, who has won 11 out of his 13 starts this season. SMOKESHOWJOE has filled the centre role quite well, with Papadamou_l88l on his left leading the team in goals (19), and Mclub326 leading the team in points (43) on his right. Offense wins games, but defense wins championships, so let’s see how the Wild progress this season.
5. Vegas Golden Knights.
Trend: Downwards (L2).
Notable Stats: 54 goals for (12th), 26.8 powerplay conversion (12th).
Here’s where it starts to get a bit hairy. The Golden Knights pulled off what some perceived to be an absolute steal before the season even began, trading Faaa_Kueue and Chadiliac to Pittsburgh for IIAdxmII. However, this move proved to be costly for Vegas, as IIAdxmII was banned from the league this week. While the team still has a respectable core of players in sedinpower (8 points at forward and 6 from the blueline), SliyumShady in net, and ThePoolMagician and Shockers2004 on offense, a recent trade for Su_Dzy may be what this team needs to turn their tides around and find championship success again.
6. Colorado Avalanche.
Trend: Downwards (L3).
Notable Stats: 88 goals against (13th), 56.3% penalty kill (11th).
The Avalanche had a very promising outlook to the season, with a team loaded with top talent and the only question mark being in between the pipes. That question mark has significantly contributed to this team’s lack of success, with a revolving door of goalies not accumulating higher than a 72.73% save percentage. ultimateGamer940 has played every game for this team as Eggman-1’s partner, while etthan, Lo-maximus (another player who has played all games for Colorado), and Jayscott555 (who leads the team with 22 goals and 40 points) have been a competent forward line. All this team needs is a starting goaltender and they can turn their season around.
7. Anaheim Ducks.
Trend: Downwards (L2).
Notable Stats: 81 goals against (11th), 53 goals for (13th).
Well, the Su_Dzy experiment didn’t necessarily work for the Anaheim Ducks, and it has seriously affected the start to their season. There is plenty of time left in the season for the Ducks to turn things around and make up the 12 point difference between them and a playoff spot, and they are making the trades necessary to do so. Defaults-Potato will hopefully perform better than he did in Tampa Bay, while jamie14benn14 will contribute effectively at both ends of the ice. Leprechaunn_90 will provide goal scoring support to Diirty_triix_13, who leads his team with 23 goals and 35 points in this team’s first two weeks. Will Anaheim be able to recover after a disastrous start?
Two weeks down, three to go as we look forward to another competitive week here in the SPNHL. While the East seems to be a little closer to what we predicted at the beginning, the Western conference is the real story of this season so far: a conference stacked from top to bottom that has seen three seemingly top teams fall apart, a superstar take a ban, and the unlikely story of how a team projected to finish last in the conference focused on defense and goaltending to become one of the most competitive and feel good teams this season.
The home for this season of SPNHL: Off the Ice is on twitch.tv/probablekoz! Kozmo has invested lots of money into his streaming setup and has all these fancy layovers and graphics for your viewing enjoyment. We’re trying to bring it to you on a weekly basis every Saturday at 9pm, but sometimes life gets in the way. Nontheless, we appreciate your viewership and feedback, and encourage you to submit “Ask the Commish” questions to get live feedback from the man behind SP: SA_Pliskin.
Good luck to all the teams this week!