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Weeks 22, 23 & 24 - The Penultimate Punch-Out!!!

Since Henry couldn't be bothered to get off his lazy butt last weekend and do the power rankings, we have another triumverate of stats to dig into. And what a bunch of...stats! We saw the Schooners have a MAJOR reversal of fortunate, the Golden Bears continue to be the Golden Bears, we have a playoff race between the Shamrocks and Rapids for the ages, and the Norsemen taking the top spot! (Don't tell Matt though, he already wins enough). Let's go!

1
Vancouver Island Norsemen
Previous: 5 Trend: up 4
You'd think with the amount of distress Matt emails me about his team, they would be doing terribly. Quite the opposite - they're 10-2 in their last twelve, had the second best goal differential in the last 3 weeks, are (mostly) injury free and are now only two points back of first place in the Conference, and the league. Peasants, lock up your livestock - the Norsemen have arrived.
2
Philadelphia Fire Ants
Previous: 3 Trend: up 1
Norm doesn't care that Duncan Keith is out for a few weeks. Norm doesn't care that you don't care for his haircut in the 1990s. Norm cares about two things 1) The Rules of Acquisition and 2) Retaining his SICHL Continental Cup Championship.
3
Acadia Golden Bears
Previous: 2 Trend: down 1
Guy very likely could've jumped to the top spot, but he only played 11 games compared to many other teams' 12, or 13 games. Instead, he went "only" 8-2-1, and lost Parayko in an epic beatdown of the Gladiators. Did I suffer painful flashbacks from my game 7 defeat, years ago at the hands of Guy? Well, I don't know what game 7 defeat you're talking about, so no.
4
Las Vegas Aces
Previous: 4 Trend: --
Stop me if you've heard this one, but Dustin is on a roll. I could've easily put Dustin 2nd or 3rd, but he's dealing with a massive amount of injuries...and is somehow on a 7 game winning streak. Seriously, he has Malkin, Matt Greene, Bogosian AND Carey Pricey out for significant time and he's STILL near the top of the league. Is he channeling the power from the OTHER Vegas team in that OTHER league?
5
Stockholm Cougars
Previous: 1 Trend: down 4
What goes up, must come down. There's only one direction to go when you're number 1 and that's number 5 apparently. Tom's Cougars are still doing well, but hit a rough patch and went 6-5-1 in their last 13 games. Very few injuries to speak of, however, and he's got a pretty easy schedule coming up with Hamburg, Kansas City and Dublin on the lineup. The big one will be the Baker-MacInnis Bowl, on day 155 against the Norsemen. Now THAT'll be a slobberknocker!!!
6
Brandon Wheat Kings
Previous: 6 Trend: --
Doug's in a weird position - going 6-3-2 and STILL being the number one team in the league is hardly reason to be placed 6th, instead of say, oh I dunno, FIRST. But he's sandwiched in among some red hot teams (Schooners, Mustangs) and some OTHER red hot teams (Norsemen, Aces) so I just don't know what to do with Doug other than put him 6th, and watch him gallop into the playoffs with youthful panache like he's done all season. GM of the year?
7
Nova Scotia Schooners
Previous: 16 Trend: up 9
Who knew that getting back your best player (Tavares) from injury would result in your team being better? Eric's Schooners are red hot, going 9-2-1 in their last 12 games, have the highest goal differential and beat good teams during that streak - G'Bears and Colonials, for example. I was tempted to put him higher than 7th, but he still has to account for that mid season collapse so 7th is where he stays.
8
Calgary Mustangs
Previous: 14 Trend: up 6
Other than losing Bryan Little (doh!), Matt's Mustangs are roaring up the standings. They went 9-4, and had the third most points in the weeks 22, 23 and 24. He's on a 5 game win streak, and beat the Fire Ants at home in a HUGE 4-2 victory. Matt's team is hitting their stride at exactly the right time. I also just noticed that the Mustangs have retired Pavol Demitra's jersey - nice touch, Matt, very nice.
9
Havana Revolution
Previous: 10 Trend: up 1
Jeff's had a lovely turnaround, going 7-2-1 in his last 10 games, but mostly because he's beaten up on the poor Tigers (beating them three times) and the Vipers. (We're with the Vipers!) Can't place him any higher until he's beaten some quality teams, but with no injuries and a star studded lineup, it wouldn't surprise me (in fact, it would make me expectedly barfy) to see the revolution in the top 5 in the next power rankings.
10
Ottawa Slammers
Previous: 11 Trend: up 1
Unsurprisingly, with little fanfare or bells and whistles, Pat's Slammers are making a strong case for the playoffs. They're not out of the woods yet (only 3 points ahead of 9th) but they've gone 7-2-1 in their last ten games, and will get Viktor Svedberg back sooner rather than later. Other than the Golden Bears, the Slammers have a moderately easy schedule the rest of the way, with no international travel to tire his players. Fear the Slam.
11
Boston Colonials
Previous: 7 Trend: down 4
Gary, what the hell is your team doing? You know guys, there are some teams that I have NO idea about from week to week. I mean some teams I know will be in the top 5, others I know will be in the bottom five. But then there are a few teams, like the Mustangs, Revolution and the Schooners, that like to play Rollercoaster Tycoon with Henry's brain and instead of trying to build cool rollercoasters and overcharge on umbrellas when it's raining out, they like to go WAY up the standings, then WAY down the standings just to confuse me. The colonials are still 7th overall in the league, have locked up a playoff spot, but they also went 5-5-1 in their last 11 games. They could finish anywhere from 1st in the conference to 7th and none of those positions would surprise me. Atta boy, Gary! Keep it up...and down!
12
Reykjavik Riders
Previous: 12 Trend: --
The Riders deserve to be higher than 12th, going 7-3-1 in their last 11 games. But GUYS, I'm not a mathematician, a statistician, a physician, an patrician, an optometrist, a realist, or a seer. I just put the teams in certain positions and sometimes it works out and sometimes it doesn't. The Rankings are like a jenga puzzle, sure you COULD take out that one piece, but that means the next piece will collapse the whole damn tower. The Riders at 12 are a load-bearing position and I can't explain why.
13
Kansas City Krunch
Previous: 8 Trend: down 5
Here's another team that doesn't deserve to be dropped 5 spots, but there's a big difference in moving from 8th to 13th and moving from 15th to 20th or something like that. Kirk is looking absolutely, positively solid for a playoff spot, as he's 9 points ahead of Dublin for the final playoff spot and 8 ahead of 8th place Denver. I don't want to jinx Kirk, so I'll go the opposite route - the, uh, Krunch are bad and not exciting to watch in the standings at all and Kirk doesn't have a ton of young talent that the sim is finally recognizing. Nope, none at all.
14
Québec Canons
Previous: 17 Trend: up 3
The Canons have made good progress, going 7-4 in their last 11 games and with a very strong goal differential (+12) it means that they're here to stay and a good chance to make the playoffs. However, Mike is hot on his trail, and is only 1 point back with two games in hand. The Supersonics didn't exactly have a great last 11 games, but it's still too early. We've got ourselves a good old fashioned PLAYOFF RACE folks, place your bets!
15
Edmonton Supersonics
Previous: 9 Trend: down 6
Speaking of Mike, here he is at spot number 15. Tough to drop him 6 spots, but since every game's importance is heightened at this point in the year, I didn't see any other way. Losing Boychuk for another 6 days may not be catastrophic, as their schedule isn't looking TOO bad in their final seven games. Start your scoreboard watching now, if you haven't already!
16
Whitehorse Huskies
Previous: 13 Trend: down 3
I haven't gotten used to seeing Don's team this low in the standings for a while. They're still in a playoff spot, but only 1 point ahead of the Supersonics, with 1 more game played. Ruh roh. Between the Huskies, Canons and Supersonics, it's going to be a dogfight for the next few weeks. What might make the difference is the devastating injury to Drew Doughty, who will be out for the remainder of the regular season (at least). Can the Huskies pull one out, without (one of) their star blueliner?
17
Dublin Shamrocks
Previous: 18 Trend: up 1
Ryan's Shamrocks are refusing to give up, and that's a testament to the GM behind them. Ryan made a ton of moves this season, and his team has gone a respectable 6-5-1, finding himself closer than ever to the 8th and final playoff spot. At this point, it's pretty much neck and neck with him and Sam's Rapids and each game going forward is going to count. Exciting stuff!
18
St. Louis Spartans
Previous: 19 Trend: up 1
Sean had the 19th most points in the last 3 weeks, is 19th overall in the standings, so it makes perfect sense that I have him 18th. If I had a power rankings boss, I would've been fired years ago.
19
Toronto Metropolitans
Previous: 20 Trend: up 1
Toronto will have a very tough time making the playoffs, and have all but been officially eliminated. Still, for their first season, not bad I would say! Many would agree. Chris will have to be patient, as building in the SICHL can take some time, but we've seen some good pickups by the Metros (Chris, have we earned enough of a rapport for me to call your team the Metros?) and a few draft picks coming up that could land them on the right path for success. I imagine we will see a busy off season for Chris and I eagerly look forward to the results!
20
Denver Rapids
Previous: 15 Trend: down 5
Sam's Rapids are going in the wrong direction at the wrong time. Jeff Carter's injury certainly didn't help, but he'll be back in 9 days. Will it be enough to stave off the stubborn Shamrocks and enable Sam his very first playoff spot? I'm not sure, but I'll be watching every update and looking at that ever foreboding playoff line that separates 8th from 9th each day.
21
Montréal Millionaires
Previous: 24 Trend: up 3
Kasim won't make the playoffs, as he's been eliminated along with the Vipers, Rockies and Gladiators, but it's clear this is/was the best season in franchise history. Kasim will finish with at least 70 points, and well clear of the bottom feeders he used to commiserate with. With a ton of good prospects, and great scoring talent for years to come, will we see the Millionaires claim a playoff spot as early as next season?
22
Fredericton Express
Previous: 25 Trend: up 3
Going 3-5-4 in your last 12 games shouldn't really warrant jumping up 3 spots in the power rankings, but if you think the top teams are topsy turvy in terms of placing them properly in the rankings, wait until you get a load of the bottom teams. Mark is probably pretty happy with his team in that OTHER league, but with a fantastic young blueline (Hamilton, Spurgeon and Werenski) and Vasilevskiy in net, Mark should be pretty happy with his current team next year.
23
London Monarchs
Previous: 23 Trend: --
Michael dealt off a ton of assets, and is building for the future. Smart move. He'll still have many valuable assets to trade in the off season and has 11 picks for the upcoming draft. Look for Michael to make it 12 or 13 in the off season. The phone lines are open!
24
Vancouver Vipers
Previous: 26 Trend: up 2
The Vipers find themselves two spots higher, and went 5-5-2 in their last 12 games. Not bad, but not good enough in the Canadian Conference and Bryce found himself eliminated from the playoffs. Hardly news to the GM, as I'm sure he expected this once he saw the writing on the wall a few months ago. He's easily in a position to win the draft lottery, however, and with Taylor Hall, Rickard Rakell and Jake Guentzel up front, I hardly think the Vipers will be slithering in the basement for much longer.
25
Chicago Tigers
Previous: 21 Trend: down 4
Poor Sheetal had to face the streaking Revolution, losing three times. They haven't officially been eliminated from the playoffs, but we all know that's not happening. The real question is going to be which high end draft pick will Sheetal add to his ever growing roster?
26
Brno Barons
Previous: 22 Trend: down 4
Brno lost to the Gladiators, which is embarrassing enough, so I won't say anything else mean about them.
27
Banff Rockies
Previous: 27 Trend: --
The race for Dahlin is on! I would say it's a battle of the Titans but it's not even close. It's not even David vs. Goliath, it's like David vs. David if both Davids had a cold, and were like 4 years old and were cranky that they're not allowed at the adults table at dinnertime.
28
Hamburg Gladiators
Previous: 28 Trend: --
I'm really happy I get to do the power rankings. It means I don't have to worry about such things as "winning games" or "having a good team" like I worried about in my previous 13 years.

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