SPNHL, Season 37: Week Five Power Rankings – “Consistency is Key”
I know we were sticking to new-wave reviews this season, but here’s the thing: I don’t listen to enough of it. Most of my knowledge of the genre comes from trips to my Dad’s cottage and the soundtrack to American Psycho (my favourite movie, shocker, right?). I’m more of a punk rocker, and it’s quite unfortunate that I’m just getting acquainted to Massachusetts hardcore veterans Bane 4 years after their breakup. However, they went out with a bang with 2014’s “Don’t Wait Up”.
With a scorching start to the record in the sequential “Non-Negotiable” and “All the Way Through”, the band showcases the energy and passion that have made them mainstays for the past two decades. “Calling Hours”, the album’s third track, is an ode to the past and future of hardcore, with appearances from the vocalists of Have Heart, Rotting Out, and Code Orange. Simply put, it’s the most optimistic track on this album, and it’s unbelievable. “Wrong Planet” is on the opposite side of the spectrum as a sorrowful rager, and gives way to the prophetical album closer “Final Backwards Glance”. With a strong start and close to their final album, Bane went out with a bang.
I swear I’m not lazy, there just weren’t any teams more deserving to be on the graphic, as Anaheim and New Jersey had the best weeks out of any other team in the league. Conversely, the subjective best teams in the league had rather uncharacteristically poor weeks, with Tampa Bay going 5-3-1 (their worst week so far this season) and Philadelphia having a disastrous 3-5-1 record. After their poor showings, both teams might have been looking to make big moves at the trade deadline, which was this past Saturday (September 5th). We’ll get to those trades a bit later.
We had our first mathematical eliminations from playoff contention this past week, isn’t that fun? It’s very unfortunate to see, as the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Ottawa Senators, the San Jose Sharks (sorry Vis), and the Vancouver Canucks all saw their playoff hopes dashed this past week. I’d like to give these teams some recognition for sticking around all season, throughout their consecutive weeks or poor performances and challenging circumstances. Take some time, do your research, and come back next season stronger than ever.
With those teams eliminated, there remains two teams who can still mathematically qualify for the playoffs: the Vegas Golden Knights, and the Pittsburgh Penguins. The Knights have fallen out of the playoff spot they held two weeks ago, but had a respectable week going 4-4-1. Pittsburgh ended their week on a 3 game winning streak after starting the week with a 3 game losing streak, going 5-3-1 in the process. The Penguins are 5 points out behind the surging devils, while the Knights are 8 points behind the momentous Ducks.
Let’s see how the rest of the league did in the second last week of the regular season!
1. New Jersey Devils.
Trend: Skyrocketing (W10).
Notable Stats: 201 goals for (3rd), 34.5% powerplay conversion (5th).
If we’re talking trades, the trade to acquire Pfarrcyde23 might be the most mutually beneficial trade that has been pulled off this season. As well, the Devils made a trade to acquire Fivestarcoock, finally landing somewhat of a starting goalie. He’ll play well behind a defensive core composed of malf922, DJ_DeaThSlapz85, and led by AAli-21 (who was week five’s defender of the week and has 38 points in 22 games). Pfarrcyde23 and bstieboydp have combined for 72 goals this season, while TrueLegend07 has scored 53 goals and leads the team with 123 points. New Jersey solidified their top line at the deadline (again), and they look set for a deep playoff run.
2. Detroit Red Wings.
Trend: Upwards (W1).
Notable Stats: 254 goals for (1st), 60.9% penalty kill (11th).
While the majority of the Eastern conference struggled this past week, the Red Wings did what they have always done: win. Detroit’s offense sits atop of the league, and has been guided by a core of offensive defenders with a top pairing of Faaa_Kueue and curtisx18x, leading Detroit defenders with 40 points. Eddie2708_ has the better save percentage (.787%), while CapBan_Clark1999 has the better GAA (3.4), but both continue to be serviceable behind a dominant top line of mjvoell4, Reapz2313, and the phenom LeCupidon. Cupey leads the league in goals (94), assists (100), and points (do the math), and will hope to lead the Red Wings to victory in the playoffs.
3. Tampa Bay Lightning.
Trend: Upwards (W1).
Notable Stats: 252 goals for (2nd), 84% penalty kill (2nd).
While the Lightning struggled this past week (in comparison to their usual performance), they still retain their spot at the top of the league with 72 points. Tampa Bay suffered some big losses this past week, but their core remained intact: they still have two of the top three highest scoring defenders in the league in DodgesBlueShells and the league leading PistolPete788_ (with 27 goals and 58 assists, both pacing the league). Shootersteele19 and Bufford80 still comprise this team’s goaltending tandem, and bluedevil631, i9i-stamkos-i1ic, and hypey- (2nd in the league in goals with 93) are the closest challenge to Detroit for the title of the best offense in the league. Will the Lightning rebound from a mediocre week five?
4. Pittsburgh Penguins.
Record: 5-3-1 .
Trend: Upwards (W3).
Notable Stats: 190 goals for (5th), 206 goals against (10th).
Just when it seemed like the Penguins’ big guns were on their way out, they won 3 straight and gave Cookie_man_412 a glimmer of hope. Two of those big wins came against conference rivals in Philly and Tampa, and in the midst of the playoff race, that’s exactly what they need. Bostonbruins_4_ continues to play every game for the Penguins, and is second in scoring for defenders with 64 points (his most frequent partner Isleezl has 27 in 22 games). Shock_r still is shaky in net, and he’ll need to shake that off if the Penguins want to nab that fourth seed. BarDownski_90 has been a welcome addition to their top line, giving ACK-stonerboy (another player who has had perfect attendance) and vxWoytkiw8xv (who leads the team with 63 goals and 119 points) a new weapon to play with as they make one last attempt at cracking the top four.
5. Philadelphia Flyers.
Trend: Sideways (L1).
Notable Stats: 110 goals against (2nd), 40.4% powerplay conversion (3rd).
Winnipeg forfeited these guys on Tuesday, and then they only won one game throughout the rest of the week. This resulted in some notable departures, including GrammyHands and IsaacRixon, but in return saw the arrivals of Bunzy-62, CSM0419_, and DUPERMAN13. Not too bad of a return for those two. DUPERMAN is a stud and he’ll be a stellar backup option behind Yesc__ and DudNastyy. PEACEKEEPER500- might actually play this week as the backup to Spencer_Knight30, and Bunzy will be able to fill the hole the Grammy left at the wing. Playing with Duchesne_x_10 and their leading scorer xSilky93 (83 points in 25 games), Bunzy might be what the Flyers need to rebound from the worst week of their season.
6. Ottawa Senators.
Trend: Downwards (L4).
Notable Stats: 144 goals for (10th), 253 goals against (13th).
While other teams have thrived under new leadership, Ottawa has gone in the opposite direction, with only one win this past week. Ottawa hasn’t done much under the Pliskin regime, as evidenced by another disappointing nine game stretch. Wheelchairdevon8 continues to get torched, while SgtVandoos isn’t faring much better. BETOBONE1 and PghFANATIC, this team’s highest producing defenders, are a combined -55, and their offense isn’t much better. MAGIC_MIKEY1, X_beaster_x, and SA_Pliskin (who leads his team with 67 points) are a combined -140. Simply put, it’s back to the drawing board next season for Ottawa, but how many times do we have to keep saying that?
7. Toronto Maple Leafs.
Trend: Downwards (L6).
Notable Stats: 139 goals for (11th), 232 goals against (12th).
The Leafs almost looked like they had some life a few weeks ago, but a solemn victory this past week combined with a Friday full of forfeits has sealed this team’s fate. A team that was plagued by question marks from the resign draft, Toronto could not get out of the gate this season. Earlthegoat1979 had respectable numbers, but he was never that starting goalie that this team needed, while GaMeRzBrOknThMbZ and M_u_r_p_h_y_87 averaged a penalty per game between the two of them (not ideal for a defensive duo). Dynasty1989, Christ-Boyz, and Imperial_Blaze94 couldn’t get anything going as a forward line, but the latter has had a solid 2.7 PPG through 20 games this season. Let’s see how blaze rebounds next season.
1. Winnipeg Jets.
Trend: Upwards (L1).
Notable Stats: 112 goals against (3rd), 81.2% penalty kill (3rd).
The Jets were one game away from their first perfect week of the season, but retained their lead atop the conference amidst a fantastic 8-1 week. The Jets didn’t make many moves at the deadline, and their performance gave them no reason to. They still have a solid three-person rotation of CaptCanada_, ttommyboiii, and ProdigyToLegend (with 51 points in 33 games) that has resulted in success all season. Glachs has proven to be a solid starter while dophares2000 is getting back to his old self between the pipes. Winnipeg has so much offensive depth with Elfpha, BRANN-THE-MANN, Gallagher_11x, Bartlett–98, and i_Zinczy_i_TV (with a team leading 32 goals and 65 points), that they can ice any line in the playoffs and be an odds-on favourite.
2. Anaheim Ducks.
Trend: Upwards (W8).
Notable Stats: 75.6% penalty kill (5th), 140 goals against (6th).
We talked about what New Jersey got out of this trade, but toslick has been outstanding at (the other team’s blueline) for the Ducks and has been a major factor in their 8 game winning streak. NowYoDead and ExE-_-53 have formed a very effective defensive pairing, and the former has spent some time in the crease, acting as a backup to angl3dangle_. Meanwhile, Anaheim’s new top line of SMOKESHOWJOE, Fluri37, and toslick has led them to considerable success, as Slick had scored 61 goals on the season and Fluri is averaging 4 points a game. It looks like these Ducks are ready to fly in the playoffs.
3. Edmonton Oilers.
Trend: Upwards (W1).
Notable Stats: 115 goals against (4th), 76.5% penalty kill (4th).
We weren’t as good as the Ducks, but we beat the Jets and made sure their lead in the conference was only extended by a couple of points. Another team that didn’t need to make any moves, Edmonton’s blueline trio remained intact (with some help from Portsy!). rharmer3, l9lTKJOSl8l, and ChiefTrout remain as one of the most well-rounded defense trio in the league, one that has played quite well in front of ciulla19 and made his life much easier. Offensively, DeathClxwn and I have taken a backseat to JonFromEarth (who leads the team in goals, assists, and points with 51, 52, and 103 respectively) and Buckleyx18, who leads all rookies in goals with 43. The West is getting chippy, and I think we have the talent and the depth to hold up.
4. Minnesota Wild.
Trend: Sideways (L1).
Notable Stats: 85.2% penalty kill (1st), 109 goals against (1st).
You can have the best defense in the league, but if you don’t have the best offense, the biggies are gonna be toxic and demand trades and you’re gonna get one of the best guys in the league, so I guess it works out. After a disappointing week, the Wild traded Bunzy for GrammyHands in an attempt to get some more goals and some more appearances. He’ll likely form a top line with the returning Beantwn_beatdwn and Heroic_veil2, playing in front of the stellar defensive duo of SNAKE_-_PLISSKIN and shepard-88- (the latter with 36 games played for the Wild). Meanwhile, the backbone of Minnesota and the best goalie in the league in chadkillz134 continues to excel with a .849% save percentage, 3 shutouts, and a 2.59 GAA. However, this team needs a bit more offensive production to make it past the first round of the playoffs.
5. Vegas Golden Knights.
Trend: Sideways (L1).
Notable Stats: 183 goals for (6th), 211 goals against (11th).
You can’t count out the Knights, they still have a decent roster and if everything falls apart in Minnesota, they could sneak back into the playoffs. However, everything has fallen apart for Vegas over the course of the past 5 weeks, going from a projected finish in the top of the conference to missing the playoffs. Budz_780, Notorious250, and Eggman–1 haven’t been terrible as a defensive core, while IceyAsylum23 hasn’t been the leader in the pipes that the Knights were expecting. Randymarsh2012, the O.G. Kingtom111, and Lo-Maximus (who leads the team in goals, assists, and 108 points) are a serviceable top line, and with the arrival of Servnspike, they may have the pieces they need to make one last ditch effort at a playoff run.
6. Vancouver Canucks.
Trend: Downwards (W1).
Notable Stats: 104 goals for (13th), 278 goals against (14th).
The Canucks snapped their 9 game losing streak in the last game of the week, albeit on a forfeit, against the last team they beat (we’ll get to them in a second). However, it might be too little too late, as the Canucks needed to make a move to get some offensive help and a better goaltender weeks ago. Steelersfan26 and M1keal should have been solidified as this team’s defensive pairing, and some backups should have been traded for a goaltender to take the pressure off of tripZ504 in net. Offensively, Myles_Mayfield96 and TopCheeseNeon weren’t able to provide the support that xHAC_Rambo needed (he has scored 26 of Vancouver’s 104 goals). Hopefully, Tripz and the Canucks focus on offense next season.
7. San Jose Sharks.
Trend: Downwards (L5).
Notable Stats: 16.7% powerplay conversion (13th), 87 goals for (14th).
A Friday filled with forfeits is an unfortunately accurate representation of the struggles that San Jose has been plagued with throughout this season. Visibility12 did the best that he could facing the obstacles put in front of him, but they could never really rebound from a catastrophic start. Teamrun420 and Headcase25 stuck it out with him, creating a reliable defensive core on an otherwise poor team. ItsNotEzPz and Diirty_triix_13 were traded to the Sharks at the deadline, and it will be interesting to see how many games they play in the final week of the season after going from a playoff bound team to San Jose. At least WakeDog19 is still there, playing a bit of everything this season and being the Sharks most reliable player. See ya next season!
As we prepare to close the book on the thirty-seventh regular season in the Sony Playstation Hockey League, we see some familiar faces that are leading teams into the playoffs, some rookies heading the charge, and some superstars looking to show their dominance amongst a group of new talent. This is the last week where we’ll see 14 teams in action, and when the clock strikes midnight on Friday (if all the GMs actually do their stats, that is), we’ll see our matchups for the first round of the playoffs and the eight teams looking to emerge as the Stanley Cup champions of the SPNHL.
Man, we’re getting really bad at airing a weekly show, aren’t we? If Fluri didn’t go off the grid this past weekend, we might have been able to do it. However, we didn’t hear anything from him on Saturday and Sunday, so blame him. Just kidding, it’s as much on Pliskin and I, so let’s see if we can get it back up and running for a playoff special this weekend. You can watch it live on https://twitch.tv/thespnhl_media if we actually get it going. If not, catch up on old episodes and listen to us make terrible takes on what we thought would happen this season.
Good luck in the last week of the season, we’ll see you on the ice!