I'm in the middle of attending four Pearl Jam concerts in eight days, so you'll excuse me if the Isles' recent funk doesn't bring me down. If the Isles listened to PJ for three hours prior to every game, they'd be unstoppable. But apparently they don't, which leads us to the following results....
Roundup of Weekly Opinion Polls
Stick tap to PGI who alerted me to Sports Illustrated's rankings. They join the other four opinion polls that we have been following over the years.
|CBS||10/21/2013||18||15||The Isles have won just one in their past five, including a shootout loss to Buffalo at home. Still, seeing how they're in the Metro, they're in good shape.|
|ESPN||10/21/2013||18||14||The Isles, like pretty much every team in the Metropolitan Division outside of Pittsburgh, just can't get it going. They dropped a 4-3 decision to the Canes on Saturday and lost defenseman Lubomir Visnovsky to injury.|
|TSN||10/23/2013||16||11||Very top-heavy in their contributions and while the top six forwards have been getting the job done, there hasn't been enough support, resulting in one win in the last five games.|
|Fox Sports||10/23/2013||21||18||GOOD NEWS: Michael Grabner has been the team’s best offensive player.GOOD NEWS: Winger Kyle Okposo caught fire and scored eight points during a six-game span.
BAD NEWS: Power play quarterback Lubomir Visnovsky is sidelined by a concussion, leaving the team without a proven offensive defenseman. Can Matt Donovan step up?
BOTTOM LINE: There is some thought on the Island that Sabres goaltender Ryan Miller could put this team over the top.
|Sports Illustrated||10/23/2013||21||14||The Isles are playing like a young team going through growing pains, which doesn't usually work out for the best on the scoreboard. They're about to get younger with Michael Grabner suspended and Lubomir Visnovsky headed to the IR, so Jack Capuano might want to buckle up. On the bright side, they have been disciplined. New York has been shorthanded just 23 times this season, the third lowest total in the league.|
|Average||18.8||14.4||We'd make fun of them, but it's more fun making fun of the whole Metropolitan Division.|
There's not much there that we haven't discussed ad nauseam, right down to the Ryan Miller angle. If anything, it seems they're pretty much enjoying the opportunity to bash the Metropolitan Division, which has not yet been the powerhouse everyone predicted / feared. I suppose our own power rankings formula will do the same?
LHH Power Rankings Table
Actually, the cold, hard calculations treat the Isles even worse, albeit by about three positions. Part of this could be the Isles' momentum from last year. In prior seasons, our rankings were usually higher than the opinion polls, because nobody really gave the Isles much thought. If anything, they needed a joke or two to throw into their otherwise staid commentary, and our team was just what the doctor ordered. This year, it appears others figure the Isles aren't as bad as their record indicates. Here's hoping they're right.
Another rankings table based on calculations can be found at Copper and Blue, whose most recent rankings have the Isles 16th (up from 24th last week). They keep mum on exactly how/what is factored, but you can get a feel for what Derek Zona does if you read the blurb prior to the tables.
Standings from an Alternate Universe...
... or, you know, a more fair one. We'll be tracking all year how teams would be stacking up in a league where every game is weighted equally (imagine that!), rather than giving out a total of two points to games decided in regulation, but three points (two to the victor and one to the loser) when the game goes to OT / shootout.
So Columbus would be tied with the Isles, and both teams would be more than one regulation victory behind Carolina. In Bettman's World, the Isles are just one victory (two points) behind. Until that reverses, I will continue to say that the Isles haven't taken the next step yet. They are depending on overtimes and shootouts to get points, where teams like Pittsburgh usually get the job done in regulation.
Three down, one concert to go.... Friday in Carolina. Oops! I mean "Hartford." Why do I keep doing that:?