Of course, this isn't to say the Isles are heating up the league. At NHL-.500, they are 8th overall in their conference, but that's certainly better than their average position most of the past few years. They've also kept the games rather close, even in defeat. And so the publication powers that be have awarded the Isles - at least temporarily - by rising them up from their usual doormat position. Baby steps.
Before we get to our first weekly roundup of the rankings, I just want to point out that every one of them ranks the teams from 1 through 30 this year, as they always do. I find this peculiar, since the two conferences won't be playing each other until the Cup Finals. Comparing the Bruins to the Sharks, for example, is like comparing apples to oranges. There's no data points shared between the two. When you look at my own rankings - which uses cold hard calculations only - you'll notice that I have the two conferences separated this year, but I did add another column at the end, showing the "overall" rankings anyway, to compare the calculations to everyone else's opinion polls. /end rant
Survey of Media Power Rankings
Here is the weekly roundup of media rankings and commentary. Links take you to the overall rankings (I hope... I'm new at this). Commentary is what specifically was penned about the Isles.
Keep in mind that noted Islanders assailant Pierre LeBrun did the rankings for ESPN, and actually had something nice to say (hat tip to PGI, who discovered this Loch Ness monster of comments).
|Outlet||Rank||Last Week||Their Commentary|
|ESPN||16||27||This young team is so, so close to taking that next step. I enjoy watching the Islanders' games.|
|Sportsnet||15||NR||Even in their losses, all against teams with winning records, the Isles have held their own. John Tavares only has one goal and they’re still sitting in playoff position.|
||18||29||Respectable in the early going, maybe even better than that if they could get some goaltending. The combo of Evgeni Nabokov and Rick DiPietro have an .887 save percentage, allowing 18 goals on 159 shots.|
||30||Center John Tavares scored his first goal since March over the weekend. His line will have to become much more productive (offensively and defensively) for the Isles to remain competitive.|
||28.8||Forget what we said last week! We're on the bandwagon! Until we're not.
LHH Power Rankings
And now on to our weekly power rankings which measure the quality of wins for each team, based on the records of their opponents' records. In brief, if I could use the Isles as an example, their power ranking points is basically the winning percentage of every team they defeated (and half the percentage of any team the Isles gained a point off of, whether it be from an OT loss or shootout loss), divided by the total number of games played. Losses are treated equally. It goes a little further than that, but you get the idea.
These tables are through Sunday's games:
Eastern Conference Power Rankings
OK don't pop the champagne yet. There's not a lot of data, but the Isles victory over Tampa (4-1-0) helps boost their rankings for the time being. That's good enough for 4th in the conference, and 8th overall (although again I caution against looking at an overall ranking in a league where the two conferences won't play any games against each other).
Western Conference Power Rankings
Sorry if the tables don't look too pretty. The new site interface will take some time getting used to.
And now, we go to PGI with the news:
Staple on Aucoin and McDonald who have played well in the early going for the Islanders.
High school senior faced NHL competition during the lockout. Not a bad way to spend the winter, I guess. Beats a paper route.
Subban Signs Stunning Settlement. So your Boulton, Carkner, Reasoner and a 3rd for Subban trade is off the table.
There's probably going to be a new arena in Markham, Ontario which means they'll probably get an NHL team there, too at some point. All we know is, it won't be the Islanders.
Last season's Calder Trophy winner and Avalanche captain took a big hit from Brad Stuart of the Sharks and is out with a concussion. I'm not gonna lie: reading this I couldn't help but think about Dion Phaneuf's hit on Tavares last Thursday. I hope to god the Islanders and Tavares are being safe and smart about it. Because there's an awful lot of players out there are are neither. And Tavares means too much to the Islanders to jeopardize his health. /end selfish, paranoid rant.