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2/5/13 NHL Power Rankings - Pride Goeth Before a Fall

Opinions of the Islanders have been steadily rising. You know what that means: Summon the February Fail!

Making the NHL freak out temporarily: +10 power ranking points
Making the NHL freak out temporarily: +10 power ranking points
Bruce Bennett

Before we get to the roundup of how publications view our beloved team, I'd like to remind everyone of the point of this little exercise:

There is no point.

The only thing that matters, as some had pointed out in the comments of last week's power rankings roundup, is the actual league standings. People's opinions of a team mean nothing, and those power ranking calculations I do at the end of the article also don't mean anything, either.

Then why do this? Well, it's human nature to care what others are saying about yourself, and things you possess. And while our names don't appear on the deed, we certainly are part owners of this team, as all fans are for whomever they cheer for. We do, after all, pay our own hard-earned money to fund these diversions. And so we like it when the Isles receive some respect from others. And we fume when others dismiss the team as a Mickey Mouse organization.

And so, if you care to know what others are saying about "our" team, feel free to read on. And if not, there's plenty of other articles to read and comment on. No biggie. We'll even give you a few:

Survey of Media Power Rankings

Here is the weekly roundup of media rankings and commentary. Links take you to the overall rankings. Commentary is what specifically was penned about the Isles.

Site Ranking Prior Comments
CBS 17 22 Like the Oilers, they too are leaning a bit too much on the power play success. It has been killer thus far but at 5-on-5 they aren't getting it done like you'd hope. ... They need Rick DiPietro to be a playable option because Nabokov can't be expected to start them all.
THN --- --- Not updated.
ESPN 11 16 Disappointing loss Sunday to the slumping Devils for an Islanders team looking to insert itself into the discussion of playoff contenders in the Eastern Conference. The Isles were 3-1-1 heading into Sunday's game. 14 15 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.
TSN 12 18 Complementary scoring, including from the likes of RW Brad Boyes and C Keith Aucoin, has helped make the Isles more competitive, but there is still room for improvement on the blueline if they are going to maintain this level of play.
Fox Sports 14 26 There’s plenty to like about the Isles, not even counting the coach, Jack Capuano, sporting a black eye. More outbursts like John Tavares’ three-point game against the Devils, and this could be a playoff team.
Average 14 20.5 When you finally have to pay attention to a team, you really can make an honest assessment.

So it would appear that everyone is starting to get on the bandwagon. Leading the charge is ESPN (penned by Burnside this week), who typically rates the Isles lower than everyone else. Naturally, after last night's loss, I'd bet some of these publications would like to have their numbers back (although at least in my own humble opinion, the boys deserved at least a point).

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.

These tables are through Sunday's games. The table is split into conferences this year, as the two halves of the league won't play each other until the Cup Finals. That being said, the "Rank" column shows an overall ranking anyway, if you care to compare them to the publications' rankings:

Eastern Conference

W L OTL Pts Win Pct PWR Rank
Boston 6 1 1 13 0.813 2293 4
New Jersey 4 1 3 11 0.688 1901 7
Montreal 6 2 0 12 0.750 1697 9
NY Islanders 4 3 1 9 0.563 1676 10
Pittsburgh 6 3 0 12 0.667 1655 13
Tampa Bay 6 2 0 12 0.750 1486 14
NY Rangers 4 4 0 8 0.500 1405 16
Ottawa 5 3 1 11 0.611 1331 19
Winnipeg 3 4 1 7 0.438 1249 20
Carolina 4 4 0 8 0.500 1147 24
Toronto 4 5 0 8 0.444 1100 25
Buffalo 3 5 1 7 0.389 1025 27
Florida 3 5 0 6 0.375 837 28
Philadelphia 3 6 0 6 0.333 764 29
Washington 2 6 1 5 0.278 588 30

Western Conference

W L OTL Pts Win Pct PWR Rank
Anaheim 6 1 1 13 0.813 2722 1
San Jose 7 1 1 15 0.833 2559 2
Chicago 7 0 2 16 0.889 2437 3
St. Louis 6 2 0 12 0.750 2169 5
Vancouver 5 2 2 12 0.667 2124 6
Nashville 3 2 3 9 0.563 1896 8
Detroit 4 3 1 9 0.563 1668 11
Edmonton 4 3 2 10 0.556 1661 12
Minnesota 4 4 1 9 0.500 1416 15
Los Angeles 2 3 2 6 0.429 1369 17
Phoenix 4 4 2 10 0.500 1354 18
Calgary 1 3 2 4 0.333 1213 21
Dallas 4 5 1 9 0.450 1209 22
Columbus 3 5 1 7 0.389 1180 23
Colorado 4 5 0 8 0.444 1094 26

So the cold hard calculations (which we use as a check against the opinion polls, which tend to factor in gut feelings and an emphasis on the most recent games) show the Isles fourth in the conference, and tenth overall, compared to the average publications rankings of 14. Pretty close.

As always, I caution that the ranking formula used here doesn't take into account a team's current run of play, so their two-game losing streak won't drop them to the bottom of the table. The fact is that their wins have been against some pretty good competition, and that will keep them afloat here, even if they sink in the real standings.

By this time next week, things will shake out a lot more. Having more than 10 games of data for each team helps separate the contenders from the pretenders (uh-oh... I'm gettin' all cliche on you. Better wrap it up!).

Formulas aside, I should point out that the month of February is crucial for this team. 9 home games, 5 road, and 2 of those road games are at the Garden. Very little traveling this month, so they really have to rack up some points this month. While March is a rather "par" month (alternating week-long home stands and road trips), April is going to be difficult indeed, especially with a season-ending five-game road trip.

So if the Isles don't do well this month, then none of these opinions or formulae will matter. Oh wait, did I say something about that already today? I'll shut up now.