Something a little different this week.
But you're paying attention to my Power Rankings schedule, you'll know that every other Power Rankings does indeed call for something a little different. So, in that sense, it's not a little different at all.
Love 'em. Wish I read more, wish I read better.
I keep meticulous track of all of them, assign them rankings, read a plot recap of a book I can no longer remember details about. This week's ranking, I associate each of you with one of my favorite books; nobody deserves to be assigned a relation to a bad book, no matter how bad your SICHL team is. Bad literature, after all, is bad forever and every basement dwelling SICHL team will one day be a ...well, maybe not a Championship team, but one that makes the playoffs!
Some teams were slightly better over the last few weeks, but I can't dethrone Eric, and I can't vice dethrone Matt just yet, as they're clearly the top two teams for now. Much like with video games, Eric and I have a long history of reading together, debating books, theorizing, and the like. But I'll never forget calling Eric to discuss a certain chapter (or two) in regards to a Storm of Swords, by George R. R. Martin, 2000. The Red Wedding led to shock and horror long before we saw HBO's version, and we'll be reeling from the Schooner's domination for years to come as well.
Matthew has the distinction of being associated with a book that isn't even out yet! Matt's book, as requested by him, is the Winds of Winter. The Winds of Winter, by George R. R. Martin, ??? because the Norsemen have been hyped for years, and are probably never going to deliver. This makes me sad, twice.
Tom's Cougars are hitting their stride and had an amazing last 8 games, going 6-1-1 with an impressive plus 11 goal differential, tied with a few other teams for the second best in the league in that stretch. I haven't read The Old Man and the Sea, so no go there (I kid! I kid!) so I'll associate Tom with the tremendous biography of Roald Dahl, Boy and Going Solo, 1984 and 1986. If you're in the mood for dastardly boarding school adventures, and a look back at what it's like to a fighter pilot in World War 2, AND have it delivered by one of humanity's best story tellers, here is it. In terms of story telling, get Tom to tell you how he and his wife attended the gold medal hockey game in 2010 in Vancouver. Yes, THAT gold medal game.
Pat was 9th overall in terms of points acquired during Days 37 to 51, but is still 4th overall in the league and, in a massive deal, saw him nab one of the best goalies in the league in Pekka Rinne. Will this be the final piece to launch the Slammers into the elite of the league? I mean, you could argue they're already there, but I digress. Pat's associated book is the Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett, 1989. The foundation of a great team starts in goal, much like the foundation of a building of a cathedral starts with...uh...a farmer's boy, a monk, a mason and all sorts of colorful characters. Pat is also a colorful character!
So it's gonna be like that, huh Grunge? You're just gonna come out of nowhere, defy everybody's expectations, go 6-1 in your last 7 games and still be near the top of the World Conference after 26 games? Ridiculous. The whole league has been...Uprooted, by Naomi Novik, 2015. One of my more recent all time favorites, it came out of nowhere and nobody had expectations that it would be a world class novel (SICHL team).
The Riders are on a tear, going 6-1-1 in their last 8 games and had the strongest goal differential in the league during that span with a plus 14. The Riders have depth at every position, and I mean depth. Did you know that they have 21 players with a 70 SC rating or high? TWENTY. ONE. The amount of various ways this team can score reminds me of the various stores in World War Z, by Max Brooks, 2006. This is THE zombie book, and the most interesting thing is, it's not really about zombies at all. The more interesting bits discuss how a truly global pandemic would fluctuate and how different societies and communities would react. Fascinating!
The Golden Bears went a pedestrian 4-2-2, but hardly cause for alarm. Jacob Trouba's out for a week, but I doubt Guy is nervous. Why would he be? It seems like he has an alethiometer with him at all times, always knowing what's going to happen. Guy's book is, naturally, the Golden Compass by Philip Pullman, 1995.
While the playoff hunt is already heating up, Sam's Rapids are not bowing down, our out. The Rapids went 6-1 in not-so-busy few weeks, with an impressive plus 11. Sam is the youngest GM, but is already show insane progress and may, one day, rule us all with a Championship. Sam's associated book is the best Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling, 2000. Don't worry, no jokes about Guy being Voldemort!
Jeff's book is The Demon Awakens, by R.A. Salvatore, 1998 and don't worry, I'm not calling Jeff a demon, but I AM saying that he has the best player in the game in Connor McDavid (Elbryan Wyndon). If anybody is going to slay the competition, it's the Revolution. Best of luck in defeating Bestesbulzibar, Havana!
Ok, NOW I'm certain this is the highest the Millionaires have ever been. What warrants them a top 10 spot? How about going 6-2-1 in their last 9 games, obtaining the MOST points in the entire league in the last two weeks. Now, out of everybody I know, it's likely Kasim has read, and written, the most. He's a walking book, a veritable encyclopedia of knowledge, novels, history, geography and the like. So you'd THINK the pressure would be on to associate Kasim with a really thoughtful, inspiring, important book. I'm not really concerned with all that, really, because the answer is very simple - The Elfstones of Shannara, by Terry Brooks, 1983. If Kasim hadn't prodded me in the fantasy section of the GNS library, and recommended this book to me, my love for all things fantasy may never have emerged. I owe him a deep debt of gratitude. I can still remember reading the opening passage in the school reading room in the back part of the library, about demons ripping apart the Elves in charge of the Ellcrys...
Not much movement for the Krunch, but not a bad couple of weeks either, going 4-2-2 with a plus 9 goal differential. They're not lighting the world on fire, but they're still comfortably in a playoff spot. Since the Krunch have already won multiple championships, Kirk's book is Immortalis, the seventh book in the Demonwars Saga, by R.A. Salvatore, 2003. After a legacy of pain and conflict, the Krunch have emerged with scars, but victorious, much like Jilseponie Ault and the gang.
The Spartans fell back down to Earth in this edition of the Power Rankings, which is enough to make me frown. I'm a Spartans fan so when Sean's team falters a bit, I feel it. They're still tied for 5th in the entire league, however, so don't feel too sorry for them. Due to Sean's military background, and his genial personality, I must associate him with my favorite book on the subject, The Good War by Studs Terkel, 1984. A fascinating time capsule look at World War 2, from a population that still has Vietnam and the Cold War on the brain.
The Huskies are just fine at their current spot, thank you very much. They went an acceptable 5-3. I can't think of a more appropriate book to associate Don, the Huskies with than The Magician King, by Lev Grossman, 2011. Don's always got a trick up his wizard sleeve, after all.
Hold the freakin' phone, Dustin's Aces are not going quietly into the night. Shedding a terrible start, the Aces went 6-1-1 in their last 8 games and only gave up 14 goals against in that span. Nicely done, Aces! Since we find Dustin frequently on TSN, and is the voice of many Oiler fans, he has an almost Preacher-ly way about him. Dustin's associated book - well, graphic novel, is Preacher, by Garth Ennis, 1996. If you're into heresy, disgusting action, violent confrontations and an Irish alcoholic vampire, look no further than the Preacher series.
You didn't think Doug would be gone for long, did you? He's gone 5-1-1 in his last 7 games despite injuries to Michal Neuvirth and Justin Falk. Seemingly all of us have the sim "figured out", meaning we go for draft picks and try to acquire young talent keep them forever right? Well, much like Robert Langdon tried to solve a riddle that nobody else knew about in Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown, 2000. Many of us would like Doug's brain and unwrap the enigma that is the SIM.
Mike's Supersonics went 5-4 this week, so I felt it appropriate to keep him just where he is at 16, although it's important to note that he's still 12th overall and seems to have plugged that hole that saw him plunge down the rankings a few weeks back. Mike has encompassed so many journeys and wears so many hats that I must associated him with Cloud Atlas, by David Mitchell, 2004.
Hamilton have tasted defeat for the first time, and it's cruel to have them drop 6 places, but the SIM is a fickle mistress, and the Power Rankings are a confusing mess, at the best of times. By going 3-5-1 and finding themselves out of a playoff spot for the first time this year, Jeff D must feel like a Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein, 1961.
Gary is ready to play! He's wheeling and dealing, styling and profiling, he's a jet setting son of a gun! He's not letting a 3-5 record in his last 8 games diminish his enjoyment of SICHL, nor hinder any possibility of beating the final level! Gary's book is Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, 2011 and YES OK it's not great literature or anything, but it's a damn fun read.
Sadly, I don't have any DS9 books, and even more sadly, the Fire Ants were abysmal in their last 8 games, going 2-6 with a minus 10 goal differential. This year is a Brave New World for Norm (by Aldous Huxley in 1932. 1932! Can you believe that!?!?! That book is almost as old as Norm is!)
Matt's Mustangs went 4-2-2, but I'm not ready to put them much higher on the list just yet. I can't tell if this is a trend, or just an aberration. A mutation, if you will. Much like the kind that may get you into trouble in The Chrysalids, by John Wyndham, 1955.
Hey, would you get a load of the Monarchs?!? They went a respectable 4-5 and managed to careen ahead of such teams as the Tigers and the...the Tigers! Michael's team may be going through some tough times, but you can be sure they will emerge at the end of their journey with humanity saved, much like the Passage by Justin Cronin, 2010. Something tells me in a vampire apocalypse, I'll want Michael by my side - if anything, to cheer me up and have a beer with!
Hey, look at that! Toronto went up a spot as well! They went 3-5 over 8 games and came out with a neutral goal differential. This must be the turning of the tide! The turning of the tables! The Byrd's song Turn, Turn, Turn! Hey, this is supposed to feature books, not songs. My mistake, I get carried away - much like how the Dolphins did in So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish by Douglas Adams, 1984 (the best book of the five part trilogy, fight me).
Well wait a minute, why does Toronto get to move UP two spots with a 3-5 record and Vancouver gets clipped DOWN two spots with a 3-5 record? As Homer Simpson would say, I dunno, don't ask me how the economy works! So we've got the Vipers being robbed of a proper placement, much like how Liesel Meminger stole books in The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak, 2004. Take back what's yours, Bryce!
Sheetal's Tigers are not doing well, but at least Sheetal's entry had the EASIEST one for me to think up (other than Kasim's, which inspired this whole list) - the Tiger, by John Vaillant, 2010. Let's just say you do NOT want to catch a Tiger by the tail, or at all. Besides, you won't "catch" a Tiger. If you're in the wilderness, it will see you long before you see it. Sheetal may be in the rear view mirror of a lot of teams, but don't let him sneak up on you!
Ian, I don't want to alarm you, but you went 2-3-2 in your last seven games and are now 25th in the power rankings! Is this the highest you've ever been? Shouldn't I be keeping track of these kinds of things? Well, you're absolutely right, I should be. Much like how Hari Seldon's plan kept humanity on track for nearly a thousand years with his Foundation, and Second Foundation. Since Ian is laying down his Foundation for a great team in the future, at current sacrifice to being good, I declare Ian's book to be Foundation's Edge, by Isaac Asimov, 1982. If you're even remotely a science fiction fan, you owe it to yourself to read Asimov's Robots and Foundation books - make sure to research what order you read them in, I cannot recommend that enough.
I don't know what I would do without the SICHL. Mark has done such an incredible job fostering a creative, competitive and tight-knit community that the only book(s) that warranted comparison is the Complete Calvin and Hobbes collection. True mastery, at all forms. I mean sure, this year the Express aren't great, but as Calvin once told Hobbes, "Some days, even my lucky rocketship underpants don't help."
Oh, this one is easy. Emails from an Asshole: Real People Being Stupid, by John Lindsay, 2010. Seemed apt for the Power Rankings.
The Barons find themselves down on their luck, but you just know that they're not going to sit on the bench for the rest of the season. Their lineup is better than their record and I can see them having a major turn around. Or you can choose not to believe me, say I'm lying. But the Lies of Locke Lamora, by Scott Lynch, 2007 has to be believed - it's terrific!
What would we find, if we tried to delve into the mind of Ryan? SICHL's most intriguing team at the moment for me, the Shamrocks are never hesitant to make a deal and it wouldn't surprise me to see them in a playoff spot next year. Or maybe not? Who knows? Much like in reading The Magus, by John Fowles, 1965, I never knew what the hell was going on...but I loved it!