Weeks 15, 16 & 17 - The Playoff Picture

And more! It's that time of year, the most exciting time of year that is. Well, maybe next to the draft. Or the actual playoffs themselves. Or Free Agency. And the Summits. And...ok, whatever, the playoff race is exciting, ok? We have the Sun Devils, Slammers, SteelHawks, Supersonic, Huskies, Norsemen battling each other tooth and nail on the Canadian side (hey, I thought we were supposed to be friendly?) an the Colonials, Buckaroos, Barons and Monarchs shuffling around for the 7th and 8th spots in the World Conference. And we have our first officially eliminated team - the Dublin Shamrocks! The Gold Points race is on as well! There's a ton to talk about and I want to get back to playing Persona 3 Reload, so LET'S GO!

1
Hamburg Gladiators
Previous: 1 Trend: --
I feel like Craig Ferguson when he had Archbishop Desmond Tutu on his show. He walks up to the audience, flabbergasted and just says "I KNOW!" I don't know, of course. When I say "I KNOW!" it means I'm just as flabbergasted as the rest of you. I've gone 9-1 in my last 10, but with a few injuries mounting (hey, Alex Chiasson may not mean much to you, but he does to me!) my depth will be tested with a tough upcoming schedule that includes the Slammers, Grunge, Spartans, Grizzly Bears (my only loss in my last ten) before a faceoff against our ultimate nemesi, the Havana Revolution. I sure picked a good time to lose my 1st line RW and 2 of my top 4 Dmen....
2
Fredericton Express
Previous: 3 Trend: 1
Mark has lethal weapons at every position. Andrei Vasilevskiy (no chance I can spell that name from memory) is sporting a 0.920 save percentage and a miniscule 2.48 GAA. Pastrnak is playing out of his mind, with 71 points in 57 games, along with team highs in assists, shots and hits. And don't sleep on Jordan Kyrou - ten power play goals this year! I thought MY team was scoring by committee, but the Express has FIVE twenty goal scorers (so far). Forget making the playoffs, the Express' sights are the peak of the mountain at this point and nothing less.
3
Banff Rockies
Previous: 7 Trend: 4
Some of this jump is for reputation and the roster on paper - the Rockies really should be among the best in the league, regardless of any dips they have. But, when you go 8-2 in your last 10 games and have absolutely zero injuries and are just 1 point back from the berserker rage Express, well you're going to get a jump in the Power Rankings. Now, I'm not saying Ian's work on the PuckCast has any influence, but let's just say when you're front of mind of people who make decisions, it's generally a good thing. Why do you think I go see plays on Saturday nights at Langham Court? Never hurts when I'm going for an audition...Anyway, Ian needs no audition. Auston Matthews is everything Ian hoped he'd be, with 62 points in 58 games with a plus 25 and SEVEN game winning goals. Dear lord. Does anybody want to see Banff in Round 1? They're the kind of team you tank the last game to avoid.
4
Montréal Millionaires
Previous: 4 Trend: --
No doubt fueled by a visit to the island for my 40th birthday, Kasim's Millionaires are poised to do some damage in Round 1 and possibly much further. Farther? I'm too lazy to look it up. Past Round 1, there. They're 6-3-1 in their last 10, but so are the Grizzly Bears and Spartans. The difference is Kaz has a league high plus 75. You might beat Montreal, but when they beat you, it's going to be a beat-down. They even get Mark Giodrano and his 88 DF and 94 DU (how did he ever get injured?) back in 6 days. SIM help us.
5
Havana Revolution
Previous: 5 Trend: --
Jeff is biding his time and throwing a few games just to throw us off. You'll see. Even without some key defenseman, they still went 5-2-3. You could look at that as a .500 record, but the way I see it is only losing 2 in regulation in their last 10 games. However, Key injuries to Chychrun (32 days until he's back) and Sergachev (66 days, uh oh) means I probably should have the Revolution below the Spartans and Grizzly Bears. Call this a reputation pick, and I'm not dropping the Revolution out of the Top 5 until they show me a reason to do so.
6
St. Louis Spartans
Previous: 2 Trend: 4
What, exactly, did the Spartans do to warrant dropping FOUR spots? That's ridiculous. They went 6-3-1 in their last 10 games, but when the top teams are hotter I have to adjust accordingly. They're also without Clayton Keller for another 17 days so that gives me the justification to drop them to 6th. And there's nothing you can do about it! MWAHAHAH
7
Acadia Grizzly Bears
Previous: 6 Trend: 1
The G'Bears finally trading Jost should really make me put them in the number 1 spot but noooo everybody on Discord says I have to be number 1. You know sometimes it's not easy being the Power Rankings Guru. What else am I supposed to say about Guy's team? That he continuously drafts good players? That he's always a threat? That I lost to him a while back and it brought back terrible memories of him defeating me in my 2nd Cup Finals appearance? Is that what you want me to say about them?
8
Seattle Grunge
Previous: 11 Trend: 3
It's hard to believe this is the same team that started the season in the bowels of the standings. The Grunge have gone on another terrifying tear, going 8-1-1 in their last 10 games, and now find themselves 9th overall in the league with an intimidating plus 46 goal differential and, to boot, the league's top powerplay with a 25.88%. Yikes. They just lost a nail biter to the Banff Rockies, to bring them slightly back down to earth, but Phil's earned a spot in the top 10. I really, really don't like this. However, I DO like that their top point fella, Brady Tkachuk, has 59 points in 55 games and 103 penalty minutes. AND is a team high plus 38. AND has 57 more hits than anybody else on the team. I love this.
9
Vancouver Island Norsemen
Previous: 13 Trend: 4
Matt's Norsemen aren't out of the woods yet, they haven't solidified anything, but they're certainly a step above the Huskies, Supersonics and Steelhawks for the moment. They've gone 8-2 in their last 10 games and have an outstanding special teams percentage - 105.90 combined, good for 3rd overall in the league. The only whomp whomp is Adam Fox is out with a left hip injury (he's not that old, is he?) but will be back in 11 days. Still, Matt can hardly rest on his laurels - he's got the Barons, Rockies, Steelhawks, the suddenly hot Aces, Supersonics and a date with Kasim's Millionaires as his next 5 games. And I thought I had a tough schedule!
10
Chicago Tigers
Previous: 12 Trend: 2
The pre-season power rankings model doesn't care for Sheetal, and Sheetal doesn't care for the pre-season power rankings model. I know whose side I'm on! The Tigers are starting to pull away from the 9th spot and have gone 6-2-2 in their last 10 games. They have two injuries to deal with, Ilya Lyubushkin at 80 percent and Riley Nash at 60 percent. Those are lengthy absences and while those two names don't belong alongside superstars, they each have some useful ratings. The Tigers' depth, much like mine, will be tested. I still like Sheetal's chances!
11
Edmonton Supersonics
Previous: 8 Trend: 3
For the first time in a while, Edmonton was mostly injury free, but had a brutal five game schedule. They had to face the Monarchs, Grunge, me, the Rockies and the Slammers. They registered a five game losing streak (including one to the Schooners, ouch for both teams!) before remembering they're a good team and beat Ottawa 3-1. I wish I could give Mike advice, but he's won far more than me so it should be the other way around. Still, he's got a stretch coming up that includes the Colonials, Buckaroos and Sun Devils - hardly pushovers, but winnable games to be sure. I'm curious to see how Edmonton does here.
12
London Monarchs
Previous: 10 Trend: 2
The Monarchs SHOULD be better than this and it's not as if they're in freefall mode - they've gone 6-3-1 in their last 10 games and have the absolute top combined special teams percentage in the entire league. They have depth up front that would turn most GMs green with envy. Adam Larsson out for another 13 days with a Left Forearm Injury definitely deflates the team somewhat, but this isn't the top-heavy Monarchs of old. The back end is stellar, with the likes of Ekblad, Hanifin, Suter, Weegar and OEL protecting old man Craig Anderson. Just imagine if this team had a better goalie...(I could copy and paste that sentence for quite a few teams around the SICHL actually...)
13
Philadelphia Fire Ants
Previous: 9 Trend: 4
And we're into the mushy middle! My favourite (not my favourite). Norm's Fire Ants have had a terrific boune back season compared to last year, but have gone 5-5 in their last 10 so they drop out of the top 10 and hit the lucky 13 spot. They're capable of beating bad teams, but the good teams they've been up against recently (the Express, Revolution, Sun Devils, Tigers) have sort of had their number. Harrumph, says Norm! It could just be a blip - they're almost 100% healthy, their goaltending is passing every kind of test you could hope for (Kuemper is at 2.41 GAA and a 0.921 save percentage, incredible numbers) and their scorers are scoring. This is a good team, I'm willing to bet it's just a mid-season slump. We all have those!
14
Whitehorse Huskies
Previous: 16 Trend: 2
Don, the Huskies GM, is IN a playoff spot at the time of these Rankings. Yes, you heard me correctly. The Huskies have gone 6-2-2 in their last 10 games and are 12th overall in the entire league. Not too shabby, Don! I guess that year round golf is good for the simulation brain? They even beat the Express in regulation on the road, THEN beat Banff 5-2 before losing a close one to the red hot Norsemen. How many teams get regulation wins over the Express and Rockies in back to back games? Not many, I'd wager. There might be something here. Keep an eye out!
15
Brno Barons
Previous: 18 Trend: 3
Brno is a curious team - some weeks I feel like they can't compete with the big dogs, then they go on a 7-3 run and I remember they have Saros in net and my opinion of them completely shifts. They have useful pieces at every position, I think the real knock against them is their depth - this is a team that cannot sustain ANY injuries if they're going to be competitive and with Gustav Forsling out for a week, that may be enough to make the Baron faithful nervous. By the way, that's a hell of a draft pick - a 73 OV Dman with an 89 DF drafted in Round 4, 101 overall. Oh wait, Kasim drafted him! Nice job, Kaz!
16
Portland Buckaroos
Previous: 20 Trend: 4
Portland is one of those teams that sort of flummoxes me. They have scoring, they have defense...I guess it's their goaltending that's holding them back. The good news is that Demko next year should be an absolute stud between the pipes, which is bad news for the rest of us. Still, the Buckaroos aren't laying down with a 7-3 record in their last 10 games. I feel like we always see this, some GM "throws in the towel" and goes on a massive, scary run despite trading away two of their five best players. The SIM works in mysterious ways. Portland is hardly out of it either, they've 5 points back of Brno for the 8th spot and we have 25 games to play. A lot of runway, folks! A lot of runway!
17
Hamilton Steelhawks
Previous: 14 Trend: 3
I don't think any GM is going to scoreboard watch more than Chris. His Steelhawks have seen a huge improvement from last year (they already have 12 more points than last year) but will it be enough to compete in the ultra tough Canadian Conference? You can't say Chris is passively waiting either - he's made seven trades in the month of March alone and I'm willing to wager that's more trades than half the league has done in the entire season. Bringing in Scott Wedgewood and Frank Vatrano will definitely help, but it may take a few games for Chris to properly tinker. Curious to see how this goes.
18
Ottawa Slammers
Previous: 15 Trend: 3
Even when Pat is rebuilding, he's competitive. He's only 3 points back of Hamilton for the final playoff spot and has 2 games in hand. Even more important, Erik Haula is back in 7 days. They're a fascinating team, all their team stats are basically right in the middle of the league. They're capable of beating the best of the best, like they did against Montreal or losing to the Riders. Total toss up. Chaos. I'd be a fool to predict who gets the final playoff spot.
19
Okanagan Sun Devils
Previous: 21 Trend: 2
And right in the mix with Ottawa and Hamilton are the Sun Devils. The heat is turning up in the Okanagan (I wish, poor wine growers!) and they've gone 6-3-1 in their last 10 games, including impressive wins over the Fire Ants and Steelhawks. No rest for the wicked, their next 3 games are against the Millionaires, the Aces and the Supersonics. I know Ryan will be scoreboard watching and F5'ing more than Brock Lesnar, but with John Carlson having a legendary season (53 points so far!), it's not impossible they could make it. Go Ryan!
20
Vancouver Vipers
Previous: 17 Trend: 3
Dang! The Vipers are likely going to find themselves on the outside looking in again this year. I was hoping otherwise! Bryce has been pretty quiet on the trade front this year, does that change as we get closer to the deadline? Wait...when is our deadline? These are things a poorly informed Power Rankings Guru should know, you'd think. The Vipers are very much in the "if they had a goalie" territory because my GOODNESS do they have a strong defense. Seider, Provorov, Oleksiak, Spurgeon and Skjei along with Guentzel up front and some very useful pieces. I love Vancouver's team, but maybe the SIM doesn't?
21
Boston Colonials
Previous: 19 Trend: 2
Gary is throwing in the towel and trading some key pieces in a re-tool, not a rebuild, for next season. And they're still only 8 points out of a playoff spot with 3 games in hand. Stranger things have happened! Oooh, I am looking forward to the final season of Stranger Things. Love that show. Boston has a ton of draft picks coming up too, I'm envious. And I think he'll acquire more before the deadline, just a hunch!
22
Regina Bisons
Previous: 26 Trend: 4
The Bisons fared far better than most of the teams you'll find down here, hence their 4 spot jump going 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. They said farewell to former Hamburglar Scott Harrington for a 4h round pick. Surely, they'll do more with the deadline coming? They're very much in a rebuild phase, and it doesn't help that their starting goalie Casey Desmith is out for 12 days with an abdominal strain injury. I once strained my abdominal section by scoring back to back games in cricket. If you wonder how that happens, you should check out the scorebox at Beacon Hill park. It's done with these string things you pull and I'm fairly certain they were constructed in the 1970s without the engineering foresight that you'd have to stand up awkwardly to pull them each time. Kaz knows what I'm talking about!
23
Las Vegas Aces
Previous: 22 Trend: 1
Wait, wait wait. FIRST Dusty gets a few draft picks back. (he's got 2 first rounders coming up!) THEN he goes 7-3 in his last 10 games? Dustin's cooking up something and I say - LET HIM COOK! You gotta think he'll try to get something for Malkin and/or Toews. Sure, they're old/not playing anymore, but look at those ratings. Look at that EX and LD. Surely Kuznetsov will warrant some attention? Out of all the teams that are looking to dump assets, I think Dusty's at the top of the heap in that regard. I'm keeping my eyes peeled!
24
Stockholm Cougars
Previous: 24 Trend: --
The Cougars are in the unenviable position that the Gators or Rex are - they're not making the playoffs, but they have to wait a while for their Gold race to start. They have a wonderful mix of assets that definitely could be used to bolster his prospects cupboard, but will Tom pull the trigger? My sources say...maybe!
25
Toronto Rex
Previous: 25 Trend: --
Taran and I made another trade! Some guys just click, you know? The Hamburglars acquired veteran Nicklas Backstrom for Pierre Engvall and a 2nd round pick. Good value for Taran, methinks. I was sad to see the Giraffe go, but I needed depth and experience up front and that doesn't fit the Rex's timeline. Much like the Gators, they'll have a long wait to enter Gold Territory so for now it's hurry up and wait.
26
Jacksonville Gators
Previous: 27 Trend: 1
Dustin's Gators are in a tough spot - they won't make the playoffs, but they'll have to wait a while before they can start gathering Gold Points. Still, they made a few very interesting trades over the last few days, acquiring Brandon Duhaime from the Grunge in exchange for Mike Reilly, also acquiring Jonas Brodin and Jesse Puljujarvi from Montreal for some cash and draft picks. I like it - that should bolster their lineup in time for some upsets in the final 10 games or so.
27
Reykjavik Riders
Previous: 30 Trend: 3
The Riders have a massive 8 and 9 point gap ahead of the Schooners and Shamrocks, so that's going to delay their Gold Points acquiring timeline, but we'll see how it goes. They still have a ways to go before they can start accumulating Gold Points actually, so I hope Syl has those farm players' MO nice and high because he will not have a lot of time to catch up to the Schooners and Shamrocks.
28
Calgary Mustangs
Previous: 23 Trend: 5
If Matt's SICHL-fu was as strong as his Discord-fu, then I would rank him number 1. And I bet, within a few years, Matt climbs back. But even if he doesn't, he'll still be here asking if we want to play Valheim or discussing the latest movie or TV show. I know that has nothing to do with the SICHL, but it also has everything to do with the SICHL.
29
Nova Scotia Schooners
Previous: 28 Trend: 1
Just wait. As soon as the almighty X appears next to Nova Scotia's name, we're going to see a very different team. Let's just say I doubt you'll see them in the 29th spot on the next Rankings...
30
Dublin Shamrocks
Previous: 29 Trend: 1
The Shamrocks have completed their goal of getting an X neXt to their name. Was it inspired by the OUTSTANDING new Disney plus show, X-Men '97? Seriously, if you were like me and obsessed with the original animated show, this will be your manna. The Shamrocks are in the market for a goalie and it sounds like Ryan is wasting no time going for those Gold Points. It's the most wonderful time of the year!

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