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Week 18, 19 and 20! - The Final Corner!

FINALLY...HSKEY...HAS STOPPED BEING LAZY AND IS DOING THE NEWEST EDITION OF THE POWER RANKINGS! While the Norsemen, Slammers, Revolution and the Huskies can relax, the rest of us playoff bound teams are fighting for our playoff lives, jockeying for position and trying to avoid injuries. Will the Monarch make it in? How about the Barons and Shamrocks making a late push? Who will claim the last playoff spot in the Canadian Conference? Who knows, let's go!

1
Vancouver Island Norsemen
Previous: 3 Trend: up 2
Matt has finally purged the Sim's regular season wrath and is looking at a chance to lock up the President's trophy for his first banner. Hard to believe, considering his lineup. He's absolutely stacked at most positions, but the forward crop of Benn, Crosby and Getzlaf is particularly terrifying. The Norsemen may not have a lot of experience in the SICHL playoffs, but they're full of veterans. Whoever gets the last playoff spot in the Canadian Conference will be in tough.
2
Havana Revolution
Previous: 9 Trend: up 7
Ick. I feel dirty for some reason. I don't think Havana has EVER been this high this late in the season, but they've earned it. Aside from some line shenanigans due to vacationing, Jeff's Revolution are cooking lately. 9-1 in their last 10 and have all but locked up the division title in a surprisingly competitive European division. Actually...now that you mention it...(Henry looks at a map). HEY! Havana isn't in Europe! I DEMAND HAVANA'S REMOVAL FROM OUR DIVISION IMMEDIATELY, PLEASE.
3
Ottawa Slammers
Previous: 4 Trend: up 1
Must be nice to have an "off" couple of games when you only lose 2 in regular. Pat is 5-2-3 in his last 10 and is just biding his time for the playoffs. He recently hit the 100 point mark, has the league's fourth best differential and is by FAR the league's best defensive team. He's only allowed 1.72 goals against per game and with a fully healthy team, the Slammers will be a favorite going into the playoffs.
4
Whitehorse Huskies
Previous: 1 Trend: down 3
Faksa is injured, but that shouldn't hurt Don too much. A ho-hum couple of weeks for the mad scientist and his Huskies. Going 5-5 is hardly a reason for panic, especially since he has a plus 51 goal differential, barely lets in any goals and is one of two teams with 50 wins on the season. Sure, he dropped 3 spots, but when you're number one, there's only one direction to go.
5
Philadelphia Fire Ants
Previous: 8 Trend: up 3
BAH, this is terrible news. Norm is 7-2-1 in his last 10 games! Even worse news - he's on a 4-0-1 run and is getting awesome production from his top forwards. I'm still on loving the Soderberg train - 61 points, only 4 Pims, plus 18 and 4 game winning goals. He's got depth, he's got style, he's got grace. Will this be the year for Norm's first banner since 2011-2012?
6
Las Vegas Aces
Previous: 2 Trend: down 4
Out of all the teams in the World Conference, I want to face Dustin's Aces the least. Sure, they've had a mediocre couple of games and lost some easy ones to Brno (who are the new giant killers, apparently) but their roster is insane. That being said, a REALLY tough schedule to finish the year (Cougars twice, Slammers, Revolution twice AND a rematch with the Barons) drops them a bit in the rankings.
7
Boston Colonials
Previous: 5 Trend: down 2
Gary's been hit by a wave of injuries which I feel SOOOO bad about. Oh BOO HOO, poor Colonials, only 7th in the rankings this week and almost guaranteed a playoff spot and have the league's highest goal differential. Maybe this is the SIM getting back at Gary for mocking poor Henry on Twitter?
8
Stockholm Cougars
Previous: 7 Trend: down 1
Stop me if you've heard this one - a team trades it's star player, somehow gets better. The Cougars are in a very strong spot this year and are 2nd place in the European division. (Henry checks at map again). HA! See, Jeff? STOCKHOLM is in Europe. Really, the Cougars should be leading the division. Now I know how the Red Wings felt for decades about being in the wrong conference/division.
9
Acadia Golden Bears
Previous: 12 Trend: up 3
We haven't talked about Guy as much this year, just because we're so used to dominating performances that we forget the SIM likes to even things out once in a while. The King of prospects and depth, Guy isn't out of it this year. Far from it. He's 5-2-3 in his last 10, but does have some significant injuries with Dubinsky and Parayko. Luckily (unluckily for the rest of us), they'll be back for playoffs and the Golden Bears will start their Championship Defense with either a 4 or 5 spot, looks like.
10
Reykjavik Riders
Previous: 11 Trend: up 1
Tough week to rank the Riders - they're doing ok in the last 10 and keeping their own in the insanely close fight that is the World Conference Playoff race of 2017, but with major injuries to Jason Demers and Justin Faulk, the Riders' d-core has a lot of work to do. Talk about a rough schedule - the next four games include the Fire Ants twice, the Colonials and the Huskies. Yikes.
11
Hamburg Gladiators
Previous: 10 Trend: down 1
Healthy, but confusing. I used to score a lot and give up a lot of goals, but lately Luongo is bailing me out like the US government of a Financial Institution. My Powerplay is somehow good again - turns out the return of Evander Kane, my only good player, helps. Who would've thought?
12
Calgary Mustangs
Previous: 6 Trend: down 6
How awesome is it that Matt's Mustangs have Demitra's jersey retired? Super classy. Love it. Mustangs are going to make the playoffs, but they need some momentum first. They went on a putrid 0-4-3 streak before shutting out the Huskies, so that's a start. Ehlers will be back in less than a week, that'll help too. It seems like nobody has an easy schedule down the road and the Mustangs are no different - they have a double header against the Express before tackling the Slammers, Fire Ants and Vipers.
13
Québec Canons
Previous: 13 Trend: --
Quebec is almost 100% healthy, but one of the only playoff-bound teams that has a negative goal differential. The powerplay absolutely needs work. I know it's a down year for powerplays, but you'd think a team with Kopitar should do better than 11.11%. (Henry receives a note from his research team). Oh. Kopitar is no longer on the Canons and hasn't been for the last 15 games or so.
14
St. Louis Spartans
Previous: 16 Trend: up 2
The Spartans got really hot, then really not. A 5 win streak was followed by 2 wins in their last 8. Thankfully, the Monarchs seem to be sinking just as fast so the Spartans are holding down that final playoff spot. That being said, they're only 1 point ahead of the Monarchs and they've played 2 fewer games. Hard to tell if they'll make it, but we know that every point matters!
15
Brandon Wheat Kings
Previous: 23 Trend: up 8
Uh Oh. Clear the track, here come the Wheat Kings! How do they ALWAYS do this? Doug is another mad scientist, having a great handle on what the sim actually wants, and it's not always building through the draft. They're claimed the last playoff spot with a 7-1-2 record in their last 10 games. They lost close contests to the Revolution and the Millionaires. Because of course. Kasim, do you get some sick pleasure in beating teams you're not supposed to beat? What are you going to do next year when you have Laine scoring 40 goals? You can't be a lottery team forever, you know and it's really causing havoc up here in the mid-teens rankings.
16
Vancouver Vipers
Previous: 15 Trend: down 1
Vancouver sits in 7th, but is unlikely to get any higher and very likely to slip a spot or two. They're 2 points up o the Express for 9th and with a game in hand. No significant injuries really helps, however, along with Nielsen having an MVP type season. He's currently leading the league in points (take THAT Jeff!) with 77 points and 4 Pims. Unreal. Taylor Hall also having a great year, but can the Vipers strike while the iron is hot?
17
London Monarchs
Previous: 14 Trend: down 3
I know Michael threw in the towel a bit when Ovechkin was injured (brutal, brutal injury), but now he's back and they're getting healthier...would you be surprised to see them make a late push? They're only 1 point behind the Spartans with 2 games in hand. It's looking unlikely that either the Spartans or Monarchs can get any higher than 8th, and they've got the Barons and Shamrocks right on their heels.
18
Fredericton Express
Previous: 18 Trend: --
Express are RIGHT IN IT, only 1 point back of the Wheat Kings for the final playoff spot and have the most games in the league to play. A lot of time to make up those points, methinks,
19
Dublin Shamrocks
Previous: 24 Trend: up 5
Gotta be honest, I totally had the Shamrocks written off, but Ryan's savvy moves finally seem to be paying off. It's still not likely they'll make the playoffs, but not impossible. They're 8 points out with 7 games to play and have actually been one of the league's hottest teams. Since Day 97, they're 15-3-2, only losing close contests to the Fire Ants and Golden Bears in that stretch. Did I mention they've recently beaten the Huskies, Revolution and Aces? Those aren't pushovers, folks. Watch out!
20
Edmonton Supersonics
Previous: 17 Trend: down 3
If you re-ranked the Shamrocks, Supersonics, Express and Schooners to have them be spots 14, 15, 16 and 17 instead of 18, 19, 20 and 21, I wouldn't argue with you. This is the difficult nature of the power rankings - I have to take into account the whole season, but weighted with late performance and other factors as well, on a deadline (that never gets met, apparently) so I feel a lot of teams are unfairly glanced over. The Sonics are one of them - while they may look down and out (4 points out with 4 games to play), they've had an incredible resurgence in the last 1/3 of the season. But how "power"ful should they be ranked if they a) miss the playoffs and b) lose out on the opportunity on a high draft pick in the process?
21
Nova Scotia Schooners
Previous: 20 Trend: down 1
Sgarbossa is hurt. It's not relevant to the Schooners since he's not on the starting roster, but damn that name is badass. It looked like the Schooners were starting to turn a corner by beating the Slammers, Mustangs and the Millionaires in a three game stretch, but have gone 4-6-1 since. The Schooners are this year's Norsemen, a crazy strong roster that's underachieved all year. Eric's still got a chance at 8th and I KNOW the top team in the World Conference wouldn't want them as opponents.
22
Brno Barons
Previous: 21 Trend: down 1
Brno has been turning some heads. After shipping off some assets at the deadline, they've managed to beat some really good teams and are 6 points out of a playoff spot with 6 games to go. A little while ago, playoffs weren't even considered, but now...I'm not so sure. Grabner hurt, but don't tell the Barons that. They're 4-1-1 in their last 6 but, stop me if you've heard this one, they have a tough schedule coming up with the Revolution, Aces, Colonials and Canons in their next 4. Time for some good old fashioned scoreboard watching!
23
Kansas City Krunch
Previous: 19 Trend: down 4
Krunch should be higher. I mean, the rankings are ridiculously close and it's not impossible the Krunch run the table and make a miracle playoff run.Super savvy of Kirk to land Tarasenko from the Cougars and is getting some solid production from some unexpected sources. Eventually, Kirk is going to go bonkers and it could be as early as next year - Wouldn't you want a starting lineup that has Tarasenko and Matthews?
24
Winnipeg Falcons
Previous: 22 Trend: down 2
Ah, looks like this is the year Michel doesn't make the playoffs, but it was a great run. Frankly, it shows how strong the league has been when it takes me to spot 24 to get to a team that definitely won't make the playoffs. The Falcons have a lot of pieces that would be of interest to other teams, so I'm sure they'll be busy in the off season.
25
Toronto Titans
Previous: 25 Trend: --
Derrick's got some work to do next season. The good news - he has 8 million goalies and everybody likes goalies. It's a goalie bonanza! Seriously, does anybody else have 8 ranked goalies?
26
Chicago Tigers
Previous: 26 Trend: --
Another year, another building year for Sheetal. He's got lots of pieces, though and he's a smart guy. Not sure where he'll end up next year(am I ever sure of anything)? but he has a better chance than I will!
27
Denver Rapids
Previous: 28 Trend: up 1
Sam won't make playoffs, but he didn't want to anyway. He may be playoff bound next year though - holy crap, does he have a bunch of young assets. Eichel is looking to be a monster, along with Carter Hart, Sam Bennett, Dylan Larkin, etc.
28
Montréal Millionaires
Previous: 27 Trend: down 1
When the giant slayer becomes the giant, who slays the giant slayer?

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