But Henry, you say, we're a TEAM. We do things as a team. Or, if you're the Gladiators (and I quote Danny Glover's character George Knox in Angels in the Outfield) - YOU DON'T THINK AS A TEAM, YOU DON'T PLAY AS A TEAM, YOU DON'T EVEN LOSE AS A TEAM! YOU'VE ALL GOT YOUR HEADS! SO FAR UP YOUR BUTTS! YOU CAN'T EVEN SEE THE LIGHT OF DAY!
Well, George Knox eventually saw angels and became a better manager and person for it. I choose to see the angel of each team, the MVP...SO FAR. Let's go!
No question, the Norsemen are the uncontested, indisputable number 1 this (and last) Power Rankings. The Norsemen went 8-0-1 after acquiring Staal and Killorn and have only lost 8 games in regulation all year. The Norsemen's MVP is William Karlsson - he doesn't lead the team in points or goals, but has 46 points on the year, with only 10 penalty minutes and a team leading plus 25 and 5 power play goals. That'll do, Wild Bill, that'll do.
The 1-2 punch of the Norsemen and the Rapids can't change. Why? Because Sam also went undefeated in regulation...actually, undefeated period. A perfect 7-0 and a goal differential of plus 16. Outstanding. The Rapids, it would appear, are here to stay. Rapidly. Sam's team has a number of worthy candidates, like Jeff Carter's 48 points and 0 penalty minutes, but I'm going to go with Seth Jones on the blueline - 47 points in 47 points, and a team leading plus 30. PLUS THIRTY, not to mention 4 power play goals. Another shoutout to Ondrej Pavalec who is 18-1-3 as a starter. Holy moly!
This is going to be a little embarassing; no movement in the top 4. That's right, NO movement. First time this has ever happened and don't blame me - I can't help it (literally) if the Norsemen, Rapids, Riders and Revolution refuse to lose to...well, anybody. The Riders went 7-1 with a +14 goal differential in their last 8 games, with the only loss coming at the hands of the (checks notes) the Metropolitans?? The Riders have some terrific talent upfront, but I gotta go with my boy Oliver Ekman-Larsson patrolling the blueline with authority. 45 points in 49 games, only 14 penalty minutes and a plus 34 is staggeringly awesome.
I'd LOVE to move the Revolution out of the top 5 as soon as you the Revolution DO something that warrants me dropping them and as much as it pains me to say or write, I just can't do it. They went 7-1 with a LEAGUE HIGH plus 17. They're not only winning, they're winning...with STYLE. Normally the easy answer would be Connor McDavid, with his 54 points in 49 games and only 6 penalty minutes AND a team high plus 19, but I'm going to buck the trend and go with Connor Hellebuyck, one of the league's best goalies. A 1.94 GAA and a save percentage of .919 and, get this, has played in EVERY SINGLE REVOLUTION GAME SO FAR. That's MVP type of play in my book (the book of MVPs).
Man, this gig would be pretty sweet if I NEVER HAD TO MOVE ANY OF THE TEAMS. I swear, I didn't mean for this to happen. No movement on the top 5? We've obviously got a conspiracy on our hands! You're telling me NONE of the top 5 teams did ANYTHING to warrant the SLIGHTEST uptick or downtick? That's what I'm telling you, and since I'm the Power Rankings guy and you're just a GM reading this whose team is better than mine, you're just going to have to accept it. The Spartans went 5-1-2 and are in a 3-way tie with the Rapids and Revolution, all of whom are just 2 points back of the Riders. It should be mentioned the Rapids have a few games in hand, but regardless - we've got a LOGJAM on our hands, fellas! Unquestionably the MVP is Anze Kopitar, who has 74 points in 50 games (good lord!) is a plus 20, only 12 penalty minutes and has a team leading 6 power play goals and a team leading 6 game winning goals. Forget team MVP, this guy might be league MVP by the end of the season!
A-HA! To quote George Costanza, "I think it moved." WE HAVE MOVEMENT! A TEAM IS DIFFERENT THAN LAST TIME! Thank you, Pat! The Slammers are politely budging their way near the top 5 with a 5-1-2 record, and it's not thanks to their goaltending - it's thanks to Nicklas Backstrom who is having a TERRIFIC year as their midway MVP, with 61 points and only 8 penalty minutes in 49 games. Plus 20 to boot and leading the team with 151 shots and 4 game winning goals. Now THAT's leadership!
Aside from the top teams, it was really, really difficult ranking the rest of the teams. Really good teams had a bad spell, some bad teams had a good spell. As we go further into the season, theoretically, the week by week rankings should have LESS fluctuation, but this session is pretty weird in terms of who is on top and who isn't. For example, Boston went 4-2-2 in their last 8 games with only a plus 3 goal differential. Not all that impressive, but I can't really put anybody else up here due to the standings' placements and everybody else's records. Boston, Whitehorse's, Nova Scotia's, Hamilton's, Montreal's, Edmonton's and Brandon's placements still don't sit right with me. Apologies in advance. Now, onto the MVP for the Colonials...so far! Why, it's none other than Nathan MacKinnon, who has 61 points in 48 games played, is a MASSIVE plus 33 and has SEVEN game winning goals. Also averaging nearly 4 and a half shots per game. Nicely done, Nathan and Gary!
Guy's in a strange spot - he has flashes of brilliance, but then flashes of ugly play. It shows how strong his roster is when this is a "down" year for him, and Guy is still sitting comfortably in a playoff spot and could easily go on a tear and hit the top 5. His reputation could have easily put him above the Colonials, since they had identical records these past few weeks - 4-2-2. Actually, we had FIVE teams with this record...maybe I should start doing the rankings every 3 weeks? I certainly can't give the team MVP to either Luongo and Holtby (goaltending seems to be down across the league) so I'll hand it to Claude Giroux - 66 points in 45 games, 14 penalty minutes and is a plus 30 with 7 game winners. Also, talk about variety in plus minus...I think Guy may have the biggest variance here. You have Giroux with a plus 30 and yet Maroon and Krieder are minus 11 (both have played most of the games this year).
Don, the Huskies, went 6-2 in their last 8 games with a potent offense - they went plus 12 during this stretch and jump 3 spots in the rankings. Nicely done, Don! The Huskies, in case you forgot, are LOADED with talent. Wouldn't you just love to have Hedman and Doughty as your 1-2? Tough call on the MVP, I would give it to Doughty but he missed some games with an injury. Goaltending isn't all that impressive, so I'll give it to Mark Stone - second on the team in points, only 4 penalty minutes all year, plus 17 and 6 game winners (5 power play goals also, which leads the team).
The Grunge are going to make the playoffs, barring a massive collapse, but they're probably realizing that they don't quite have the roster to compete with the big boys of the World Conference. Never mind, what they've already accomplished is more than what anybody thought they'd be capable of and Phil should be content with that...YET I DON'T SEE HIM RESTING ON HIS LAURELS, NO SIR! They went 3-3-2 in their last 8 games with a negative goal differential of 2, so they've got some work to do. WHO is the most responsible for the Grunge's surprise success? Look no further than Carten Hutton, their starting goalie. A 2.16 GAA and a 0.911 Save percentage is absolutely keeping them in games they have no reason to win.
The Schooners also went 3-3-2 and are having a bit of difficultly climbing back to their top 5 (and top 10) placing. Now that they're mostly healthy, they (checks latest game results)...ah, Josi is out for 30 days. Man, the Schooners have been bitten by the injury bug, haven't they? I'm tempted to give the midway MVP to the Schooner's medical staff, but let's go with Mr. Jonathan Toews - 52 points in 47 games, only a single minor penalty all year, plus 17, EIGHT power play goals and 7 game winners. Man, imagine how good the Schooners would be if all their good players played every game!
The Cougars also went 4-2-2 yet somehow they jumped up 2 spots. Don't ask me, I just work here. Barkov is the obvious choice, and what a season he's having - 56 points in 46 games, only 6 penalty minutes (all the best players seem to avoid the box, don't they?) and 7 power play goals and 6 game winning goals are both team-leading. If the Cougars are going to win a playoff round or four, it's going to be on the strength of Barkov.
Here's another weird one - Hamilton ALSO went 4-2-2, yet they jump 5 spots. Doesn't make sense, but also remember that the higher in the standings you go, movement is expoentially more impressive. Going from 18 to 13 is not the same as going from 6-1...at least, it's not supposed to be. Hamilton is right in the middle of a good ol' fashioned playoff race, with the Supersonics, Wheat Kings and, yes, the Millionaires, right at their heels. No guarantees in the SICHL! Midway MVP is the person who can actually read the Steelhawk's stat pages - yellow on white is tough on these old eyes! I'll give the MVP to Mike Hoffman, with his 45 points, 6 penalty minutes, plus 12, and 4 game TYING Goals (don't see those too often, the most confusing stat in hockey?) justifies it.
Kasim is out of the playoffs, but very close and somehow he goes up a spot? Is this...CLASSIC NEPOTISM? Well, it would be if we were related, although we DID both grow up in Oak Bay so we're essentially cut from the same cloth. With Montreal's goalies being less than adequate, I have to look to workhouse Viktor Arvidsson as the team's MVP so far - 37 point, 6 penalty minutes and a plus 12 on the year - one of only three Montreal players who are a plus (for those that have played a majority of their games). Each game must a nail-biter for the Kazman!
Mike went 3-4-1 in his last 8 games, with a negative 5 goal differential, but don't lose hope, Mike! You're still in a playoff spot! But with the Millionaires stubbornly hanging on, and now suddenly the Vipers making a push, I wouldn't start selling those playoff tickets just yet! The Supersonics are extremely top heavy, so it was relatively easy to pick the midway MVP - it's PHIL THE THRILL KESSEL with 41 points and 6 penalty minutes in 50 games so far. I also like the 6 game winning goals and 4 power play goals, tops on the team. It looks like, once again, Kessel will have to bear the burden of kicking ass and eating hot dogs.
I'm sorry to write this, but the Krunch went a stinky 2-5-1. Are they hungover from their championship last year? Are they just biding their time? Who knows? Well..the SIM does, but she's not talking. I would say the midway MVP is whoever has to design a rafters system strong enough to contain all the banners the Krunch own, but that's just silly. Isiah the Rafters guy would never accept such an award, he's just that humble. As for the Krunch? I'll take Auston Matthews, the most obvious choice - 41 points in 50 games and only 4 penalty minutes are giving the Krunch a chance to HOLY CRAP 8 power play goals too? Sorry, I had to interrupt myself to put in that little factoid.
Michael's Monarchs are NOT going away quietly into the night. They went 5-3 in their last 8 games and refuse to accept the notion that they can't make the playoffs. They're now 8 points back of the suddenly slumping Krunch...is it possible? Does Michael dare to dream? I tell you what, most GMs would dream of having Sebastian Aho on their team - 40 points in 46 games but, get this, ZERO penalty minutes and a plus 10. ZERO. I probably am putting too much emphasis on penalty minutes, but I'm sorry, it's very impressive! He's also got 8 power play goals, 1 more than that scrub Ovechkin. LAND A-HO!
Dustin, fresh off of his first ever Badminton commentary gig (Dustin, how did it go?), the Aces are still fighting in the trenches for the lst playoff spot and ALSO went 4-2-2 (did everybody go 4-2-2 or am I just going crazy). It's nice to see the Aces improve, I'm always a fan of teams refusing to accept that they suck, switch up the lines, make a trade, try something new and see results. The SIM is a cruel mistress, lads, don't let her win and NEVER accept failure! How can you NOT give the midway MVP to Evgeni Malkin? 64 points in 49 games, a team high plus 16, team high 5 game winning goals, team high 187 shots, and also (lol) a team high 36 penalty minutes. Geno does it all!
You may not believe me, but the Vipers went 5-2 in their last 7 games and were a plus 4 goal differential. I know, isn't that exciting??? Do you think they could ACTUALLY make the playoffs? I wouldn't put money on it, but I also wouldn't put money AGAINST it, so we're in a really exciting place here and now. Who is the most responsible for this cavalcade of calamity? It's gotta be Frans Nielsen - 46 points in 50 games, only 2 penalty minutes ( a team low), plus 18 (team high) and two shorthanded goals. I should also mention Taylor Hall has 10 power play goals and that's just ridiculous (and also tops in the entire league).
Doug's taken a bit of a tumble, going 2-4-2 in their last 8 games with a minus seven goal differential. Professor, would you say it's time for fans of the Wheat Kings to...crack each other's brains open, and feast on the goo inside? Mmm, yes I would, Kent! I'm gonna give the midway MVP to a relatively unknown and perhaps undeserving player in DERYK ENGELLAND. 25 points in 48 games and a team high plus 14, including 3 game winning goals (team high) is nothing to sneeze at, particularly for a defenseman on a team that doesn't have a lot of high end talent.
Ryan has had enough of the basement, and decided to go 4-3-1 in his last 8 games. Way to go, Ryan! I should also mention that 3 of his last 5 wins have been against ME, so...take this jumping 3 spots with a grain of salt. MVP for the Shamrocks doesn't go to a single individual, but rather the goalie and rookie tandem. Ryan has had NINE goalies play for him this year and, I hope you're sitting down, TWENTY-THREE rookies suit up for the Shamrocks. Yes, 23.
The Mustangs went a pedestrian 4-3-1 and are now 10 points out of a playoff spot. Bummer! I had hiiiiiigh hopes, I had hiiiiigh hopes, I had hot apple pie in the SKY hopes for the Mustangs this year, but it doesn't look like it's going to happen. Still, you can't put the blame on Mark Scheifele, with 51 points in 48 games, a plus 14, 4 power play goals, a short handed goal and five game winning goals AND two game tying goals, he's doing his best to corral the herd!
The Metros went 2-6 in their previous 8 games and are just trying to get by. And you can't blame them! It's tough down here in the dregs. Everybody wants to stomp ya, shoot ya, eat ya and refuse to leave a tip when they're finished. Still, it's not all bad! Torey Krug is trying his best, with 31 points on the blueline and 4 power play goals, I'm sure many team would love to have him!
It's weird that I have to scroll UP in the standings glance to see the Barons. They went 5-3 and acquired the 4th most points in the league in the past two weeks. Check out the big monocle on Bob! Injuries have been devastating to the Barons, but thankfully Mikkel Boedker seems to have the magic touch, with 31 points, only 6 penalty minutes and a plus 10 on a team with very few plus players. Bob, promote that man!
Mark seems to forget who runs these power rankings. I'm not down here with him, he's down here WITH ME. How unsurprising that he has David Pastrnak on his team, and also how unsurprising that he has 45 points in 46 games, is a plus 4 and has 3 game winning goals? Very unsurprising. He's a hell of a player on a hell of a team. Best of luck the rest of the way, Commish!
The midway MVP should go to the person who can figure out how a team with Stamkos, Pavelski, Marchessault, Steen and Tuukka Rask can be among the worst in the league. I mean, I just can't even.
Sheetal's Tigers were among the worst these past few weeks. How bad? Well, they had the same amount of points as the Gladiators, and it doesn't get any worse than that I'm afraid. Can anybody on this squadron of sycophants be deemed "midway MVP?" I suppose Alexander Wennberg can! 34 points in 49 games, 8 penalty minutes and a plus 3 is respectable considering who he has to play with. To quote Gene Snitsky, "IT WASN'T MY FAULT."
Buddy, welcome back. It's been quite a few weeks since the Rockies got all high and mighty and fancied themselves a "winning" team, but they're right back where they started - in the basement with ME. Still, you've gotta give it to rookie and team MVP Kasperi Kapanen - 35 points in 48 games and plus ELEVEN on a team that is filled with so many negatives, you'd think it was an electron storm.
I'm giving it to Derrick Pouliot, because it's hilarious.