Our media and real NHL power rankings reflect the recent -- how do we put it? -- improving-but-hardly-rocketing results of the New York Islanders, who are 14-12-3 since Thanksgiving, with three shootout "wins" in that 14. That is not a playoff pace by any means but is better than what they looked like entering the American turkicide holiday.
Some snippets on the kids before we get to the rankings:
[Updated: Neil Greenberg of "Top 25 Under 25" fame was on the Backhand Shelf podcast with Justin Bourne and Rob Pizzo to discuss the snub. Begins at 28 minutes and ends at 40 minutes.]
- Casey Cizikas replaces the injured Calvin de Haan at the AHL All-Star Game, and Bridgeport coach Brent Thompson says he's future captain material.
- Speaking of Cizikas, John Tonelli (see what I did there?) was on NHL Home Ice talking to Phil "really, really" Esposito about the state of the game [mp3]. He likes the "old days."
- Rhett Rakhshani has the most interesting of hockey backgrounds, which is how you get a statement like this: "I attribute all my success on the ice to starting out as a roller hockey player." Thompson sees an NHL future for him as well.
- Newsday had Nino Niederreiter reflecting on his learning process this season. On drawing attention as he goes to the net: "I think maybe some veteran guys feel like I shouldn't be there, that I'm still a rookie and I should know my place," he said. "That makes me want to be there even more and get under guys' skin."
A Few More Links to Make Lunch Digest Better
- From the official site: Here are you game-worn jerseys for sale. And here is a nice write-up on the anniversary of Mike Bossy's 50 in 50.
- The Sound Tigers are not on break. And Kevin Poulin is expected to start tonight.
- The maturation of P.K. Subban is a process.
- Sergei Bobrovsky wins shootout, dances.
- The Tim Thomas White House boycott has media digging back into the "how does he fit in the team?" angle (hint: He's a GOALIE!) with even Deadspin jumping on the wagon.
- The Leafs extended John-Michael Liles at a reported $3.875 million AAV. Lot of money tied up in their defense. If you missed it, the Stars extended Alex Goligoski for four years at $4.6 million per.
Survey of Media 'Power' Rankings
Well, look at this. The John Tavares-driven revival has altered how various media perceive the Islanders (for the moment), leading to the kind of one-week bump we've seldom seen in this exercise with this team over the past season and a half.
These all reflect last week's wins -- not this week's lone point from the home-and-home with Toronto -- so we'll see if and how the tone changes after the break, especially if the Islanders don't handle Carolina on the other side.
Things like this, and Evgeni Nabokov's Third Star of the Week nod over Jonas Hiller out West, make you wonder how much a star like Tavares draws attention to the team, attention that expresses itself in a variety of ways.
|Outlet||Rank||Last Week||Their Commentary|
||John Tavares has been on quite a roll recently, and he's starting to close in on the NHL's top-10 scorers list.|
|Sportsnet||19||23||John Tavares’ 12-game point streak (eight goals, 13 helpers) is the longest one the NHL has seen all season. Big reason why the Isles have won four of their last five, including decisive victories in Washington and Philly, and are making strides toward a respectable record.|
|18||25||During John Tavares' 12-game point streak (8 G, 13 A, the longest in the NHL this season), the Islanders are 8-4 and have climbed to within nine points of eighth-place Washington in the East.|
Apparently John Tavares was on a points streak of some sort.
For reference, here is last week's power rankings post.
Real Power Rankings
And now on to our weekly "real" power rankings courtesy of Mike, or ICanSeeForIslesAndIsles (who is the one you'll find tirelessly compiling FIG picks in the game thread), who conceived and delivers these week after week. They are calculated in true "power ranking" fashion -- i.e. how well teams fare based on their opponents' records.
This week sees another mild bump upward as the Islanders move into 25th (interestingly, Anaheim's win streak has them up to 24th). Edmonton and Buffalo both drop behind the Isles compared to last week.
Once again, these (as well as most of the media rankings above) reflect results through Sunday's games,
As Mike said, at this rate of upward movement, they'll be in first place by June.