I guess saying a top 4 consistently entire of teams from the Canadian Conference wouldn't be unexpected - the Schooners, Norsemen, Golden Bears and Slammers are furiously decimating the competition, while keeping the lone top 5 team from the World Conference (the Grunge) at bay. We're also seeing movement from teams in the middle, including a surprise burst from the Aces and Millionaires. Don't blink, or you'll miss some crazy happenings in the SICHL! Let's go!
Despite a laundry list of key injuries (Josi, Tavares, Versteeg), the Schooners are the best team in the league, a perfect 8-0 since the last power rankings, have the top powerplay and are beating competitive teams like rented mules. Easy pick for number 1 this week, though Eric may curse me for doing so, you can't argue with facts.
Nipping at Eric's heels are the Norsemen. So far, no team has been as consistent this year - they're 2nd in the league in overall points, third in goal differential (Schooners, Riders), and, most importantly, have done so weathering injuries to key players in Anders Nilsson and Mathew Barzal. Wait a minute, Barzal's first name only has ONE T? M-a-t-t-h-e-w-s of the league, I demand your opinion on this heathenistic method of spelling!
Ruh roh. I really didn't want to shoot the Golden Bears up so highly in one week, but their reputation precedes them. Also, their ability to kick other teams bee-hinds also precedes them. No regulation losses in their last 8 games, no key injuries, an incredible amount of depth and those banners that litter their raters are all overwhelmingly intimidating factors when teams travel to Acadia, where the Bears only have 1 regulation loss all year. When their only "losses" have been overtime/shootout losses to their dreaded rivals (Schooners), you know they're doing something right.
What the fudge? Ottawa goes 6-2-1 in their last 9 games, are tied for 3rd overall in the league, and they go DOWN one spot? Hey don't blame me, blame the Schooners, Norsemen and Golden Bears for being that much better over the last few weeks. Still, Pat has nothing to be upset about his team is on a roll. Backstrom is currently leading the league in points, the special teams are clicking nicely, they're a top 10 team in Shots For and they have no significant injuries. As usual, Pat is flexing his muscle, loudly and the rest of the league should cower in fear.
Sometimes I love doing the rankings, other times I feel like I'm navigating a minefield of statistics with a blindfold on. How do the Grunge go 6-2, be the top team in the World Conference, all with a roster made up from a rag-tag bunch of misfits, drop 1 spot? Again, much like the Slammers, it's slightly misleading since the top 3 are just slightly better and I can't justify keeping the Grunge at 4. Still, number 5 is nothing to sneeze at and if the Grunge are a fluke, well it's now a fluke that's lasted 23 games. They're currently riding a 5 game win streak, including wins over the Riders, Supersonics and Rapids so it's not like they're beating up on the cannon fodder. How the hell are they doing this? Well, balanced scoring helps - they have goals from 16 different players, hardly anybody is a minus, and their penalty kill is a sublime 88.10%, good for 4th in the entire league. The high amount of penalties they take per game may eventually take its toll, but for now, the Grunge are rocking.
The Cougars didn't have a stellar few weeks, but they also had a pretty good few weeks, if that makes sense. They went 5-2-1, are mostly injury free AND Aleksander Barkov continues his MVP type play with 33 points in 25 games, plus 16 and ZERO penalty minutes. Eric Staal is no slouch either - 26 points and ZERO penalty minutes in 25 games. Beyond impressive. Tom could easily ride these two players coattails to a top playoff spot come the end of the year.
Jeff's a real jerk. Doesn't he know that it's not fun to make fun of the Revolution when they're losing and not doing as well they should be? You never punch down, gentlemen. The Revolution had a bit of a tumble, as the lady from the commercial from the IT Crowd admits.
So far, one of my favorite stories of the year. The Spartans have shed their reputation as a middling team, going 6-2 in their last 8 games, including wins over the Gladiators (duh), the Colonials (eh, ok) and the Riders (oooh!) Sean's been extremely active in the last year or so, and it seems to be paying dividends with a star-studded roster. Surely, Jeff Skinner's 1 goal in 25 games and their goaltending duo of Andersen and Ullmark has to improve for the Spartans to make any additional upward trajectory.
Riders are riding, man. They're like the Carolina Hurricanes of the other league...except when people predict they're going to be good, they actually are. Despite a slow start, they find themselves 4th in the World Conference and went 5-2-2 in their last 9 games. Their plus 8 goal differential was also good for 4th in the league in that span. Would it also interest you to know that they're the league's best Special Teams team? PowerPlay 2nd, Penalty Kill 1st, combined 1st. Wow. Impressive!
The Krunch are now 9th overall in the league, went 6-1- in their last 7 games and had the 3rd best goal differential in that span. They were league champs for a reason, guys. Kirk also has the advantage of now having any significant injuries, and with a pretty light schedule coming up (including the MacRae bowl on Day 53), I predict the Krunch to be even higher on the next power rankings. Consider this my (jinx?) LOCK OF THE WEEK(s).
After a red-hot start, the Steelhawks cooled a bit, but certainly not enough to keep them far from the top 10. A 4-1 loss at home to the Millionaires definitely stung, but a 5-1 drubbing of the Grunge shows that the Steelhawks are more than a mere expansion/relocation team. The biggest reason for the 4 spot drop is their injuries to key players like Jonathan Ericsson (89DF) and Tyler Toffoli. They're both out for about a month, and with Acadia and Havana on the upcoming schedule, the Steelhawks are in tough. Thankfully, I think they're capable of emerging (mostly) unscathed.
Sam's had enough. He's a top 10 team, and the Rapids are (apparently) going to start acting like it. They went 6-2 in their last 8 games, including a 2-1 statement win over the Slammers, and a 4-2 win over the Revolution. Sam's done a great job building this team, his time is now. I would say it's "My Time", but I've already attributed Guy with Triple H, so I can't do that. I JUST CAN'T, OK?
THESE are the Huskies the pre-season Power Rankings Gurus predicted we would see in the 2019-2020 season. The Huskies were the third best team in Weeks 5 and 6, going 6-2-1 with a monstrous +16 goal differential. Doughty is back in about 10 days, and only have 2 regulation losses in their last 22 days. Not too shabby. A big test looms against the Slammers on day 47, but it seems the Mad Scientist of the SICHL seems to have finally found his formula for this year's team. Keep an eye on this one!
The Colonials, on the other hand, still haven't quite proved us right and fall another few spots. with the Aces right on their tail, theyre only 1 point clear of a playoff spot in the World Conference. No reason to panic just yet, we still have about 58-60 games to play for all the teams, but it's certainly a cause for concern. At least their losses have been close - a 1-0 loss to the Spartans and a 3-1 loss to the Riders is respectable, but losing to the Fire Ants and Tigers won't put a smile on anybody's face in Boston. Perhaps a 4 game stint against the Vipers, Millionaires, Express and Metropolitans will cure what ails the Colonials.
This has to be, easily, the highest the Millionaires have ever been in the rankings this late in the season. For the first time in a...well, ever, Montreal finds themselves in a PLAYOFF SPOT. Try not to have a heart attack, it's true. The Millionaires went a very respectable 5-3-1, including impressive wins against Edmonton and Hamilton. A big test coming up though - Kasim faces the Rider, Colonials and the Schooners in their next 3 games. This could be a major turning point in their season!
It brings me no pleasure to further sink the Supersonics. Despite a wicked start to the season, they've faltered lately including 1 win in their last 6, including losses to the very beatable Monarchs and Millionaires. With no notable injuries, I'm positive Mike will be tweaking his lineup, since this team DID beat the Norsemen earlier in the year, but I'm not ready to bet on them rebounding into the top 5 anytime soon. However, and I hope you're sitting down for this news, I HAVE BEEN WRONG IN THE PAST.
Man, Dustin is one savvy cat. After many of us wrote them off this year, the Aces have rolled off 4 wins in a row, 5 in their last 6 and now sit only 1 point back from 8th in the World Conference, including wins over the....well, ok, they've taken advantage of a weak schedule as of late. But still! A win is a win. A toll is a toll. And a roll is a roll. And if the Aces don't get no tolls, then they don't eat no rolls! (I made that up)
The Wheat Kings are in a precious position - they're in the playoffs, but barely. They seem to be primed for a dogfight with Montreal and Edmonton for the final playoff spot in the Canadian Conference, but it also may be a little early to discuss playoffs. I mean we're barely a quarter into the season. Slow your roll, HSKEY, and give Doug's team some time to settle in before you make any further prognostications!
With Norm attempting to deal some players at the low point of his season, one must consider the Ferengi Rule of Acquisition number 177 - Know your enemies...but always do business with them. The forums are alive, lads, keep an eye open!
Sheetal's Tigers remain a curiosity - they don't quite have the strength of an Amur Tiger, but they may be just as stealthy. They've gone 3-4-1 in their last 8 games, including wins over Boston (twice) this season. They don't seem to handle top teams very well, like in their 6-0 loss to the Riders, but it's not inconceivable (SEE?!?!?) that they sneak into 7th or 8th by the end of the year. Or maybe I just have a soft spot for them, since I like Sheetal, and Tigers in general. I highly recommend the book "The Tiger" by John Vaillant. It is terrific, and will make you very grateful that you're not currently being stalked by a hungry tiger in the far east of Russia.
Aw, Vipers, what are you doing to me? I hate dropping teams 6 whole spots, but when you go 2-6 in your last 8 and drop to 11th in the Conference, I have to do it. What's going on? No significant injuries, so you can't blame the drop on that. Taylor Hall is having a solid year, they're getting scoring depth...I gotta blame it on the goaltending. None of their goalies have a save percentage higher than .899%, and Cory Schneider has a GAA of 3.04. Not good enough!
Ug. My other spirit animal team is also having a rotten time, despite the presence of both KANES. Does Matt need a third Kane to turn things around? Is there a third Kane? TO GOOGLE! Hmm, no current NHL players other than Evander and Patrick, but holy cow, there used to be a Frank "Red" Kane, born in 1924 who played on the blueline for 2 games for the Detroit (naturally) Red Wings in 1943-1944. HOLY COW, he lived to be 93 and only passed away a few years ago. I demand the Mustangs adopt Frank "Red" Kane as their ...ghost?
Michael's Majestic Monarchs find themselves up 3 spots, but when you're in the mid to late 20s, 3 spots can be deceiving. They went 4-4 in their last 8, which is pretty respectable, but they won't be able to climb up into the teens by just beating up on the Barons and Express. Still, a good turnaround from the beginning of the year and I know Michael is always interested in deals. Give him a shout if you're interested!
Toronto is starting to gain momentum, but still not enough to escape the prisoners of the dungeon of the SICHL. Still, you've got to think a team with the 4th best Power Play in the league, and the 2nd best combined Special Teams (yes, SECOND only behind the Riders) have something there. Chris may have to tinker here and there, but there's a clear difference between them and...well, the Gladiators, Rockies and Shamrocks.(My apologies to the Gladiators, Rockies and Shamrocks).
Ah, poo. The Barons fell a bit back to Earth this session, and find themselves with the 2nd worst combined special teams and a 4 game losing streak, including losses to the Monarchs and Supersonics. If their mascot/logo was a real person, that monocle would have fallen off in exaggerated horror by now.
Ian's Rockies won a game! And had a very respectable -5 goal differential across 7 games. Now look, teams at the top, that may not be very impressive from where you're standing, but down here in the dregs of SICHL society, that's akin from moving on up (movin' on up!) TO THE EAST SIDE! (TO THE EAST SIDE)
Join us Mark! Join us! The Express have stalled at the station, and aren't making any progress. They went 1-5 and played a league low 6 games in the last two weeks. Commish, resting up your sorry squad won't help...actually, scratch that, David Krejci is back in about a week. Maybe a few more days rest would do you some good....
The Gladiators had the second worst goal differential in the league, went 1-7 in their last 8 and generally are having a miserable season. There are a few prospects waiting in the wings, but until 2019-2020, there's not much hope for anything but a high draft pick this year.
Ryan out-sucked the suckiest bunch of sucks who ever sucked! Oh sorry, I gotta go, my damn wiener kids are listening.