The Power Rankings return after four days of action. There aren’t any over-reactions on this list as teams have only played one or two games. For some, it’s a small sample of what’s to come. Here is our opening ranking for the 2010/11 season…
*Note: The ‘LW’ refers to the preliminary rankings I posted on September 7
1. Vancouver Canucks… LW: 1 Henrik Sedin was named the 13th captain of the franchise right before puck-drop on Saturday. It’s a great choice, considering he’s bought his time in Vancouver and is well-respected around the league. 2. Detroit Red Wings… LW: 3 Did you hear that? It was Detroit saying ‘We’re baaack!’ after winning on back-to-back nights. 3. Pittsburgh Penguins… LW: 2 My Stanley Cup pick is 0-2 and Crosby has just one point. Time to push the panic button, right? 4. Washington Capitals… LW: 4 A 7-2 win over New Jersey is impressive; but they have 80 more games until they get to really prove themselves. 5. Philadelphia Flyers… LW: 7 Is Sergei Bobrovsky the real deal? He looked the part Thursday in Pittsburgh. 6. New Jersey Devils… LW: 5 The effects of re-signing Ilya Kovalchuk are showing already. The Devils may not be able to dress 20 players today vs. Pittsburgh. 7. Chicago Blackhawks… LW: 6 Like in Pittsburgh, it’s time to jump off the bridge in Chicago, too, isn’t it? Marty Turco has been kind of leaky, but the defense hasn’t been helping as much either. 8. Los Angeles Kings… LW: 8 Is goal-scoring an early concern for L.A.? Two goals in two games thus far, and their five-on-five play has been shaky. It’s still October 11. 9. San Jose Sharks… LW: 9 I thought Niemi and Niittymaki were solid in their first appearances in teal. 10. Nashville Predators… LW: 12 Barry Trotz’s gang was impressive Saturday, but they’ll be tested this week with three important games. 11. Boston Bruins… LW: 10 For as lackluster as they looked Saturday, the B’s were stellar on Sunday. It was big for Peter Chiarelli to lock up Chara and Bergeron to extensions, too. 12. Tampa Bay Lightning… LW: 11 Steven Stamkos picked up right where he left off with three points against Atlanta. Can he surpass 51 goals this season? 13. Phoenix Coyotes… LW: 15 See Boston, but vice-versa. Though Ilya Bryzgalov was brilliant, they can’t give up 40 shots a game if they wish to prove the doubters wrong again. 14. St. Louis Blues… LW: 14 Jaroslav Halak was brilliant in his Blues debut vs. Philly (29 saves on 30 shots). 15. Buffalo Sabres… LW: 13 Lindy Ruff and company exorcised some demons by finally beating Ottawa, but followed it up with a stinker in their home opener. 16. Carolina Hurricanes… LW: 23 Even though they played Minnesota, I was impressed with Carolina’s showing in Finland. They got four points, while Brandon Sutter looks as if he’s going to have a huge year. 17. Colorado Avalanche… LW: 18 Thursday’s overtime win over Chicago was a big momentum-builder for the Avs… Chris Stewart even labeled it as the biggest game of their season. 18. Toronto Maple Leafs… LW: 21 In 2009/10, the Leafs picked up their second win on November 6th. This team seems to be having fun and playing with confidence, something that contrasts from this time last year. 19. Ottawa Senators… LW: 17 Will the Sens turn to Brian Elliott after a pair of uninspiring losses this weekend? 20. Montreal Canadiens… LW: 20 Who was the biggest winner on Saturday? Carey Price. The guy needed a win like the one he got in Pittsburgh before they open up at home Wednesday. 21. Calgary Flames… LW: 19 Beating the Kings was nice, but Thursday’s opener in Edmonton was alarming. Also, they are dropping like flies already (six injuries). 22. Atlanta Thrashers… LW: 22 I think you may see swings like this all year in Atlanta – a great win over the Caps followed by a clunker in Tampa. 23. New York Rangers… LW: 24 Derek Stepan is on pace to score 246 goals… no, seriously! 24. Dallas Stars… LW: 29 I can already see my last-place finish for Dallas backfiring on me. Captain Morrow scored three goals in the two games this weekend, which is a great sign for the Stars. 25. Anaheim Ducks… LW: 16 This team is very talented up front, but it will go all for naught if the defense can’t step up. Granted, it was a tough back-to-back to open the season. 26. Edmonton Oilers… LW: 30 I would like to see the Oilers beat other clubs than the Flames and Panthers. However, if this keeps up, they may start reminding people of last year’s Avalanche. 27. Columbus Blue Jackets… LW: 27 Saturday’s win over San Jose was huge, as they surely didn’t want to leave Sweden empty-handed. 28. Florida Panthers… LW: 28 One game is tough to judge a team, but they outplayed Edmonton and still came up short. 29. Minnesota Wild… LW: 25 It was not a good start to the 2010/11 campaign for Minny. That said, they have eight of their next ten at Xcel Energy Center – a good chance to turn it around. 30. New York Islanders… LW: 26 This ranking has nothing to do with their result Saturday. When you lose Mark Streit, Kyle Okposo, and John Tavares (timetable unknown), it’s an awful way to start out.
Our podcast 'RLD Hockey Talk' is LIVE every Wednesday afternoon at 1:00 ET/Noon CT. Some of our notable guests in past episodes have been Dustin Brown, Doc Emrick, John Buccigross, Dave Strader, E.J. Hradek, Elliotte Friedman and Jay Grossman.