SPNHL, Season 36: Week Four – Power Rankings – “The Fall of the West”
Wow, that caption is applicable to much more than just the state of the SPNHL right now, doesn’t it? In a time of anarchy and unrest in North America, opinions regarding numerous sensitive topics are being circulated with ease. Music recommendations are often aimed to take your attention away from the world surrounding you, but this is the time for information and education. My usual genre of choice is a bit biased, but lets run with it.
Propagnadhi’s “Potemkin City Limits” is heralded as one of the best records to ever be released on the popular punk label Fat Wreck Chords. The Winnipeg based three person (at the time of release) ensemble pulls no punches, attacking relations between North American countries at the time, the Iraq War, George W. Bush, capitalistic tendencies, hell even their own record label. Their verbal assault is amplified by their sonic prowess, and what is produced is one of the best political punk releases of the 2000’s.
Sorry about my absence last week folks, I want to tell you I was doing more important things but I was playing cards with a 90 year old lady. She won most games, just like a lot of teams in the Eastern Conference this past week. While their teams were successful in their efforts over the past 9 games (and last week, for that matter), the Western Conference has suffered dramatically. While these events occurred amidst some controversy (we’ll get into that shortly), it sees a once stacked conference looking like a shell of it’s former self.
While toxicity, questionable decisions by management, and overall poor play has derailed some of the teams in that Western conference, some teams have been able to rise from the rubble and pave a clear path to the playoffs. Minnesota and Chicago look primed to move up the standings, while the Flames have overloaded their offense and have a very good chance at emerging as the top team in the Western Conference this season. See? Maybe me saying sixth in the West was a blessing in disguise (where I clearly called out your goaltending, which you later upgraded, so you can thank me there. You could send a monetary gift for my advice).
This edition of the power rankings falls just before the trade deadline, so we’ll see how each team is looking heading into the last week of the season. While the playoff race in the East is quite tight, the playoff picture in the West looks fairly set (barring another great collapse, not uncommon this season). However, we could see some changes in seeding as we look forward to four fantastic first round matchups in the coming weeks.
With that being said, let’s get to the power rankings!
1. Toronto Maple Leafs.
Trend: Upward (W2).
Notable Stats: 174 goals for (3rd), 100 goals against (2nd).
Toronto had the best week in the SPNHL, getting 17 out of a possible 18 points and claiming the top spot in the league. Playing against this team and struggling to break through (yet still the only team to hand them a defeat this week), they have arguably the best team defensive structure, and getting SNAKE_-_PLISSKIN from Boston and MLG_Owen from Chicago only strengthened their blue line. Jcfalcon21, toslick, and Gucci__gui continue to dismantle defenses they play against, with the latter putting up 40 points (24 assists) in 9 games this past week as the Leafs continue their dominance into the playoffs.
2. New Jersey Devils.
Trend: Upward (W7).
Notable Stats: 114 goals against (5th), 36.5% powerplay conversion (2nd).
The GM of the Devils in TrueLegend07 became the most talked about man in SP this past week, pulling off the heist of the century as the Devils acquired sedinpower from Vegas in return for shocker2004, Radyjr, and slypanther. This trade allowed New Jersey to defeat the top three teams in the league, as Sedin paired well with The-Statistician. Bstieboydp, Dirty-Dietrich (29 points this week, LFG!) and TrueLegend07 combined for 37 goals this week (Legend adding 20 helpers to his 13 tallies) as the Devils solidified their top 6 at just the right time.
3. Boston Bruins.
Trend: Upward (W1).
Notable Stats: 109 goals against (3rd), 79.4% penalty kill success rate (2nd).
The Bruins were dealt a tough schedule this week, and they thrived, with their only losses coming to the two teams previously mentioned in this article. Nonetheless, the stacked Boston team added some very talented (and lovable) players to their ranks this week in Pfarrcyde23 and Servnspike, while also getting Theganjamerc for their blueline (you’re alright, Bergy). Chadkillz134 continues to have a Vezina caliber season in net, while DudNastyy’s transition to defense has greatly benefited the Bruins. Capitalsfan_08 and DeathClxwn continue to electrify on offense, as iyzcniZi leads the team in points with 83 (adding 31 this past week). The Bruins were slated to be one of the best teams in this conference, and while they sit second in the standings, they’re still primed for a deep playoff run.
4. Pittsburgh Penguins.
Trend: Upward (W5).
Notable Stats: 74.6% penalty kill success rate (4th), 89 powerplay opportunities (3rd).
The Penguins are good at drawing penalties, as well as winning games when it matters most, as Pittsburgh collected 13 of a possible 18 points as they closed the gap between themselves and the Detroit Red Wings to 3 points. As well as closing that gap, they greatly improved their offense this past week, trading for Su_Dzy. Howard_1333 and Chelios24x7 are still holding things down in front of Wade-Belak , while completes a top line with Su_Dzy and ACK-stonerboy, who lead the Penguins with 15 goals and 32 points this past week in one of their most important weeks this season.
5. Detroit Red Wings.
Trend: Upwards (OTL1).
Notable Stats: 175 goals for (2nd), 38.2 powerplay conversion (1st).
While 5-2-2 is still a respectable 12 point week, the Red Wings are tapering off at the wrong time after a very hot start. Detroit still has a lot of great players and their core from the beginning of the season, but made some questionable trades and sent freezemothasucka and budz_780 away. Patrickisonfire and Dynasty1989 are both great options to pair with Detajax17, while LeCupidon and Reapz2313 remain as productive as ever (combining for 28 goals, the latter accounting for 16). However, they lack that bonafide starting goalie if they want to make a deep playoff run, if they even make it at this point.
6. Ottawa Senators.
Trend: Downwards (L5).
Notable Stats: 169 goals against (12th), 112 penalties against (14th).
Pliskin was very excited about the Senators at the beginning of the season, but ultimately, Ottawa has had a disappointing and frustrating season. The proverbial nail in the coffin for this team was the trade of PBM_TroyJ, as they were left with half of their dynamic offensive duo in bluedevil631. While the acquisitions of nuckingfutz85 and Faaa_Kueue should have been upgrades for this team, the lack of availability of the latter (and other top players, for that matter) won’t do much to help this team. When SA_Pliskin is your best player that week (17 points in 8 games), you know it’s a rough week, and one that may set the precedent for the remainder of the season.
7. Tampa Bay Lightning.
Trend: Downwards (OT1).
Notable Stats: 252 goals against (14th), 83 goals against (14th).
Those notable stats should be all you need to know about the Lightning’s disastrous season, as they are being outscored at a 3-1 ratio. Only 3 of their original 12 players remain from the beginning of the season, and while Tampa Bay has had success in their franchise in the past, one has to wonder what Bufford was thinking this season; not playing players at their natural position, trading away players after a bad week, and other mistakes. Hell, their most valuable player from this past week, lukaszj1980, had 12 points in 6 games but was also a -13 on the week. As the only team mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, ir’s time to regroup and plan for next season.
1. Calgary Flames.
Trend: Upward (W1).
Notable Stats: 191 goals for (1st), 37.1% powerplay conversion (2nd).
As if the Flames didn’t already have some of the best offense in the league, guided by Whitetees41 and Fluri37, they added to their ranks by trading for PBM_TroyJ to stack their offensive core. While sacrificing defense to get offense, Eddie2708_ is still holding his own between the pipes behind a mixture of sabres1414, BROKEN9216, NowYoDead, and jasonw1978. While their defense is a mixed bag that may not be the most consistent, their offense has been producing at an alarming rate, with Tees adding 24 goals and 41 points this past week as he chases the Hart trophy. Calgary has come a long way from sixth in the West, huh?
2. Nashville Predators.
Trend: Sideways (L4).
Notable Stats: 92 goals against (1st), 76.1% penalty kill (3rd).
The Predators began the week by winning 5 straight games, but their momentum was derailed after an 8-0 loss to the New Jersey Devils. This game resulted in multiple players leaving the SP public Discord and some no shows on Friday. Nashville still holds the top seed in the Western Conference, but if Nashville doesn’t have their core of Spencer_Knight30 in between the pipes, ProdigyToLegend at D, and the stellar duo of PistolPete7788_ and Kylo_Reli at forward (the latter posting 24 points in 6 games last week), they might not go as far as they may have originally been projected to at the beginning of the week.
3. Chicago Blackhawks.
Trend: Upwards (W3).
Notable Stats: 34.2% powerplay conversion (5th), 140 goals for (8th).
While the Blackhawks may have lost one of their best players halfway through the season, the depth of the Blackhawks allowed them to turn the tide on a tumultuous week, starting 1-4-1 and finishing on a 3 game win streak. Devindags continues to thrive in net, while Bad-buzzz_ has miraculously found the time to play and done well thus far. Headcase25, marktsib, and EL_R_O_O_K_I_E have been the backbone of Chicago’s defense, FatSxyCanadian, Duchesne_x_10, and my dear friend ttommyboiii have been the pulse of the Hawks’ offense (Tommy put up 12 goals and 23 points in 8 games this week). This Hawks team has scrapped for their spot, so don’t expect them to let it go easily.
4. Minnesota Wild.
Trend: Sideways (L1).
Notable Stats: 111 goals against (4th), 113 goals for (12th).
The feel good story of the season continues, as the team projected to finish at the bottom of the West is now basically guaranteed a playoff spot. While they didn’t have the best week, they’ve been consistent, averaging 10 points a week in the weeks leading up to this point. With playoffs around the corner, we don’t see much of a change to their top six from the beginning of the season: malliaman__ is still having a wonderful season in net behind TheDrixMeister and Brxberg (JonFromEarth’s name for this week). SMOKESHOWJOE and Papadamou_l88l have remained consistent and productive on a top line centered around Mclub326, who added 15 points in 6 games this past week to bring his total to 75 on the season. Will Minnesota keep their playoff status, or will they fall out at the last minute?
5. Anaheim Ducks.
Trend: Sideways (W1).
Notable Stats: 159 goals against (11th), 55.9% penalty kill (14th).
Anaheim was projected to be one of the best teams in the leagues, and then they fell to the bottom of the standings within weeks and never recovered. The chemistry between Diirty_triix_13 and Su_Dzy never developed, but maybe the main issue was the Triix drafted a team full of (albeit reliable) buddies. While some OGs remain Ducks like Utonator and Uberpwned_6969 at defense and Power44Wheels and WakeDog19 in between the pipes, moves were made to improve this team like getting Leprechaunn_90 to play with Triix, the latter leading the team with 12 points in 5 games this week. However, it may be for the best to let this season go and get ready for #37.
6. Colorado Avalanche.
Trend: Downwards (L3).
Notable Stats: 106 goals for (13th), 24.5% powerplay conversion (13th).
Maybe this team’s lack of success is karma for Eggman never answering his DMs. However, Colorado’s performances this season have been derailed by poor goaltending. Between Pensrul066, Hellsfyre, and ZacharyDuhaime22, it has been incredibly difficult to get consistency in between the pipes. GaMeRzBrOknThMbZ (UltimateGamer, why the fuck is everybody changing their names?) and Eggman-1 have performed respectably at defense, and with a forward core of Jayscott555, Lo-maximus, and vxWoytkiw8xv (who put up 10 points in his 3 games this week), this team should be able to be in a better position than they are now. That’s a testament to how crucial good goaltending is in this league.
7. Vegas Golden Knights.
Trend: Downwards (L1).
Notable Stats: 179 goals against (13th), 116 goals for (11th).
Ahh, they’ll call the “Strip” the “Ruins” at this point after the downfall of Vegas. It began with trolling by their top forward, and then their GM stepping down, and ended with their two superstars being traded away. Hmmm-way2easy (who lead the team this past week with 10 assists and 14 points in 7 games) wasn’t put in an easy situation at all, but has made the best of what he has been given. He’s got players who will show up and produce like Fivestarcoock and Radyjr for their own end of the ice, while KIDMON3Y and Shockers2004 will be able to help out offensively. While this team will show up and produce, the likeliness of them winning many games in this final week of the season is Sliyum. 😉 The show is over for Vegas, it’s time to wrap it up and look forward to next season.
Four weeks down, we’ve seen the usual fare when it comes to SP: players trolling and quitting, numerous GMs being upset about trades, players not living up to expectations, and much more. While 80% of the season might be gone, this last 20% is so crucial to determining your chances of progressing in the playoffs. More often than not, we see the occasional upset in these playoffs, and with how these first round matchups are taking shape, I don’t think anybody would be surprised to see these matchups take an unexpected turn.
We appreciate your patience as we took a break last week, and encourage you to keep tuning into SPNHL: Off the Ice live on Saturday nights at https://twitch.tv/probablekoz. Join us for exclusive interviews, gibberish regarding league news, and much more. Pliskin, Kozmo, and myself are always ready to deliver the latest and greatest of what SP has to offer, and look forward to next week as we make our playoff predictions: one of us will likely make an outlandish pick and have it blow up in our face.
Good luck to everybody this week, we’ll see you on the ice!