MantaRay Power Rankings for 12/29

Here is this weeks MantaRay Power Rankings for games ending 12/28/02.

Pace is starting to pick-up for a lot of teams.

A few comments for this weeks post were based on an informal poll of NHL GM’s from the Toronto Globe and Mail. ENJOY! and Happy New Year!!!


Top ten-

-Wings and Blues move up.

-Much to Rushings chagrin, Stars drop.

-Leafs enter the elite.

Middle of the Pack-

-Caps move up

-Habs & Kings move down

-Pens exit the bottom of the barrel

Bottom of the Barrel:

-Panthers lose focus after last weeks lofty words.

-Pred & Thrashers move up

-Sabres reacquire worst team in NHL status1 (1) Ottawa Senators:

Another strong week 2-0-1; 5-1-1 in last 7 road games. Sens are 16-2-3-0 when they score the first goal.

2 (2) Vancouver Canucks:

2-1 this week; Player watch: Artem Chubarov 2G-5A in last five games; Overzealous PP leads to 6 SH goals against. Cloutier back, Jovo hurt?

3 (5) Detroit Red Wings:

Misleading, yet unbeaten in last 7 (5-0-2): Wins over Preds, Ranger$, Isles and Columbus (three times?). Alas, a win is a win. Legace hurt last night.

4 (4) Boston Bruins:

Breaking out of slump 2-1-1; The trade freeze is over let those Mclaren for Mario rumors start.

Joe Thornton voted most coveted player in league by GM poll.

5 (3) Dallas Stars:

Winless streak ends at 5 (0-3-2) with the return of Modano. NHL GM’s favor Stars to win Cup.

6 (8) St.Louis Blues:

3 game winning streak; DYK: Cory Stillman is ranked second only to Mario Lemieux in points per minute played (1 point in every 15 minutes of ice time).

7 (6) New Jersey Devils:

1-1-1 this week and 6-6-2 in December; Rafalski 6A in last 4 games; Power finally on: 3PP goals in last 10 chances.

8 (7) Minnesota Wild:

4 games winless streak snapped last night; Since Willie Mitchell’s injury team is 1-5 and given up almost a goal a game more in his absence. Jacque Lemaire voted as NHL’s best coach by NHL GM’s.

9 (11) Toronto Maple Leafs:

Unbeaten streak ended last night at 5 games. Sundin out with shoulder injury; Druken carries team in debut? Belfour makes Leafs legit threat for first time is decades.

10 (9) Philadelphia Flyers:

1-1-1 this week. Philly has to be concerned about their special teams which are both ranked 27th in League. Hitchcock voted second best coach in the NHL by team GM’s.

11 (10) Edmonton Oilers:

Winless streak ended last night; Chimera and York the only positives in Edmonton. Niinimaa injured last night.

12 (13) Chicago Blackhawks:

3-0-2 in their last five. Calder candidate Arnason leads NHL rookies with 11G-11A. Thibault is 6-1-3 in last 10.

13 (14) Tampa Bay Lightning:

1-1-1 in last three; Andreychuck back should help things. Richards is 2nd in NHL in assists with 28.

14 (12) Los Angeles Kings:

Poor week 1-2; Injury bug hits LA; Kings set single game California attendance record last night against Coyotes.

15 (17) Washington Capitals:

Caps unbeaten streak ended at 5 with controversial defeat last night; Jagr voted second most overrated player in league by NHL GMs.

16 (16) Anaheim Mighty Ducks:

Crushed in post holiday games by 11-4 margin. J.S. Giguere pulled last night.

17 (15) Montreal Canadiens:

Mired in three game losing streak. Montreal is 26th in the NHL on the PK. Team in the market for D-man?

18 (18) Colorado Avalanche:

The Granato magic wearing off? Av’s go 1-2. Another week like this and look for trade rumors to heat up. Hedjuk 10 game scoring streak.

19 (22) Pittsburgh Penguins:

Riding 4 game winning streak; Straka: 4G-3A in last 4 games. The Pens are 5-for-13 on the power play during 4 game streak

20 (19) Carolina Hurricanes:

Have lost 2 in a row. The Canes are the second best face off team in the NHL. PK & PP rank # 10.

21 (20) San Jose Sharks:

1-1-1 this week. Ended miserable 1-3-1 roadtrip with a win and tie at home. Sundstrum scores 1st goal in 54 games. Yuck!

22 (23) New York Islanders:

4-1 after ending losing streak. Goalie controversy actually helping. Dipietro for Mclaren rumors started already.

23 (21) Columbus Bluejackets:

Wow, these guys are getting killed. Lost four in a row losing by 14-4 margin. Have lost to Detroit three times in the past two weeks. Cassels on IR?

24 (25) New York Rangers:

Four game winless streak snapped by beating on Kitty Kats; Lindros voted most overrated player in NHL by league GM’s.

25 (26) Phoenix Coyotes:

The return of Sean Burke (SO last night) makes the Yotes a team to watch. PP scored 3 of 7 chances. Yotes Watch!

26 (24) Florida Panthers:

Praised then razed in one week; After my compliments Kitty Kats go 0-3 and lose to hapless Ranger$ last night.

27 (27) Calgary Flames:

What a nutty organization. Team waits until it compiles 4-5-2 record before getting a new Sutter to coach team. Bowman and Robinson apparently too busy.

28 (29) Nashville Predators:

Three game unbeaten streak snapped last night; Legwand 2G-2A during streak; #1 pick Brian Finley called up to back-up.

29 (30) Atlanta Thrashers:

Coaching change much needed. Team still needs a defensive structure; even in Waddells two games Atlanta has yielded 36 shots against.

30 (28) Buffalo Sabres:

1-7-1-0 in their last nine. Off Ice problems, lack of stability haunts players. League needs to find a REAL buyer without the BS threats to move or ask for more money from the City.

48 Responses to MantaRay Power Rankings for 12/29

  1. mikster says:

    I still don’t understand how a team can go up a spot when snapping a losing streak.

    Where did you find the source that says Lindros is most overrated player?

  2. Leaf_Expert says:

    “Leafs should have been higher!”

    Like honestly Manta, Belfour hadn’t allowed more than 2goals all season on the road…and the Leafs are unbeaten in regulation for 6 straight games!….

  3. Robert says:

    First week i have no complaints. Good job. Nice to see two canadian teams at the tops. This hasn’t happened in years.

  4. MantaRay says:

    I’ll just keep trying till I get it right, Leaf Expert.

  5. MantaRay says:

    I’ll just keep trying till I get it right, Leaf Expert.

  6. MantaRay says:

    I’ll just keep trying till I get it right, Leaf Expert.

  7. TrojanMan says:

    The sports illustrated article was right about Toronto being such whiners and divers and cheap shot artisits. Its the same for their fans. YOURE ALL WHINERS!!!!! Even when you its whine time.

  8. SabresFanB says:

    Sabres are back where they belong…

    Where did you find all these stats about overrated, underrated, best, worst, … by the GM’s? I want to read the rest of them.

  9. Avalanche114 says:

    I think the Avs showed some signs of waking up, but they need to get serious and hire a real coach and fast. (has anyone else noticed Dean McAmmond??)

  10. MantaRay says:

    Where is he playing these days?

  11. MantaRay says:

    Remember places shift not by one teams performance but by other around them.

    What did you think of the GM Poll?

  12. Tony says:

    I think Detroit should be 2nd and Vancouver 3rd, even though i think its a close call. Detroit has only lost 1 time in thier last 13 games. Also they’ve been doing this with 3 rookie defencemen in their line up, and without Yzerman, Datsyuk, and Fisher.

  13. mikster says:

    True, i did think of that…but still. That one time when the Penguins snapped a 5 game losing streak and went up two spots for that, that was confusing. And, the Rangers snapping a losing streak last night gaining spot was a miracle i think. I would have kept them equal or lower them by one.

    What GM Poll?

  14. MantaRay says:


    They are playing great in the last month and a half and that is reflected in their #3 status.

    But remember, they were a .500 two months ago and they have not been playing that great.

    Yes, they are finding ways to win, which is the sign of a great team, but not good enough to be #1 or #2.

  15. mikster says:

    I think McAmmond is a pretty good player when playing for a good coach. He always had a good shot, just never uses it enough.

  16. Stanajax says:

    9. Toronto : 41 pts in 37 GP, 6th in the East

    17. Montreal : 39 pts in 37 GP, 7th in the East

    All is said on your objectivity…..

  17. Tradedude says:

    if you haven’t realized already, but this is power rankings not league standings…o.k.

  18. slipnaughtyboy says:

    Uhh, Leafs had there first loss in 6 games last nite.

    Montreal has 3 straight loses registering maybe on avg 20 shots a game.

    Last week Toronto has been a MUCH better team. period.

  19. Tradedude says:

    Ha! take that flyer fans. leafs are ahead.

    Good Power Rankings, there wasn’t many games this week cuzz of the roster freeze but still a good 3 games somehow squeezed in there for this week.

    Canucks are doing great indeed, Ottawa speaks for itself, and leafs won’t get anywhere without capatin mats sundin, but I hope he’s back for Tuesday’s night to finish of the west coast canadian road trip in Vancouver. Preds are so far ahead, keep it up Bill Trotz if that’s still there coach.

    I am predicting the Anaheim Mighty Ducks will go winless for a while, not just cuzz of the 7 – 2 i think it was smashing by the nucks, but I heard that Paul Kariya;s dad died on the weekend or before I’m not sure, but that could very well put him back into a slump. That’s just what I think, maybe a good 3 or 4 spots down from this week’s 16th place.

    I am also predicting a raise by the Coyotes seeing that Sean Burke got a shutout in his firsty game back. Myabe a few spots, but he could be the coyotes problem solver if they keep it up.


  20. titans says:

    Chimera and York only positives in Edmonton??? What are Salo and Carter? Chopped liver?

  21. Leaf_Expert says:

    I made your Mother “whine” last night!….

    >* *<

  22. mikster says:

    Chimera was a solid pick in 97 and York is on his usual scoring streak but will then not score for a stretch of games. That’s York, yet he will always work hard.

    Rangers really miss him, but then again…when Leetch is out long-term and if Leetch is not a Ranger next season, Poti is their only offensive d-man.

    As for the Oilers, Salo is a top of the line goalie and is quite solid during the playoffs.

    I hope the Oilers make the playoffs, they deserved to last season.

  23. burky says:

    Canucks still in number 2, not bad considering they were without Ohlund, Linden and Cloutier this week, and they played some tough teams this month, while Detroit has had their hands full with under .500 teams, same with the Dallas Stars.

  24. Tony says:

    Vancouver didn’t play that many tough teams this month, and I think Detroit has alot more problems them the Canucks in the injury department with Yzerman, Datsyuk and Fisher out. Looks like to me Vancouver is starting to come back to reality after that hot streak they were on, and Detroit is about to pass them. I still think though, that Detroit and Vancouver will be number 1 and 2 in the Western Conference.

  25. MantaRay says:


    Perhaps its your objectivity that should be questioned.

  26. FlyHigh says:

    not quite sure why the leafs are higher than the Flyers since the Flyers are second in the conference and have more points as well i believe.

  27. MantaRay says:

    I have praising Salo and Carter for the past few weeks. But since the Oilers have turned for the worse in the past two weeks, I haven’t since either Carter or Salo playing as well.

    York and Chimera seem to be the only ones doing anything…of recent.

  28. mikster says:

    Umm…there are 28 other teams as well.

  29. bruinfan37 says:

    yes, just where Buffalo belongs.

    Once Belfour plays average the Leafs are screwed. They are outshot in 90% of their games!!

  30. platinumx15 says:

    once grahme shows that he sucks (which is already showing), the bruins are screwed

  31. Rushing says:

    Aaaaaaaah, and Manta sticks his foot in his mouth!

    Much to your evident surprise, the Stars should drop due to their last few games of play. I have been very unimpressed with their play thank you very much. I see you like to make comments when they do bad yet when they are doing outstanding you won’t budge them in the other direction. How odd.

    As of late, they have been playing like last year. I hate the way they shoot the puck into their opponents end of the ice from the redline. This usually allows the other team to the puck first shooting it back out the “majority” of the time. Sydor and Matvichuk have not lived up their dues lately either.

    At the same time….OH MY GAWD……four games against Detroit this season….FOUR TIES!!!! 3-3, 3-3, 1-1, and just now ended a 2-2 tie. Geeeeeesh, I can see them meeting in the Western Conference finals already. lol

  32. MantaRay says:

    I make comments whether a team is doing good or bad and try to put things in perspective.

    Up until now the Stars had been the third best team in the league and I complimented them when they did great.

    I am sorry that they didn’t warrant being #1 or #2, but #3 is still better than 27 other teams.

    I am surprised that you even acknowledged they are doing bad as of late. At least there is some objectivity.

  33. Stanajax says:

    Yeah, I know, but it’s too long to list all the misrankings…..

  34. Stanajax says:

    I know, but power rankings are a mix between league standings and last performances of teams.

    So, how can you explain me that last week, Leafs were still ahead of Habs while on a losing streak and Habs on a winning streak.

    MantaRay is committed to a few teams, including Boston, Toronto, Washington to name a few….

  35. Stanajax says:

    However, he takes care not to put his Devils too high……… The only good point in his rankings!!!

  36. SDG says:

    It’s funny, as bad as Buffalo has been playing all year, I think one of the last teams they beat were the great Bruins.

  37. big_booty says:

    Tommy Salo is a streaky goalie who will never win a Stanley Cup.

    While he may look amazing for short stretches of play, and will post a fair amount of regular-season wins, he’s not the kind of player who can put the team on his back and carry them through the post-season.

    He is still vilified in his native land for his Olympic gaffe, and if you showed him a picture of Mike Milbury he would soil himself, then weep uncontrollably.

    To say that he is “quite solid during the playoffs” is just plain wrong. Three wins in fifteen post-season games is nowhere near solid.

    What were you thinking?

  38. WeztCoazt1 says:

    I agree with the majority of your comments on the power ranking polls but still feel that the ‘Nucks do not get enough respect from the east & mid west writers/hockey experts.

    Detroit has played some weaker teams this past week while Vancouver has played tough divisional games and still maintained a first place divisional standing. I agree in your assessment that Detroit will likely go #1 in the conference & Vancouver will end up #2. The Canucks need that final piece of the puzzle to really make a push deep into the playoffs & finally earn some success!

    Wezt Coazt

  39. Tradedude says:

    i don’t know how he works it, but he doesn’t over-rate the caps. i’ll tell ya that.

  40. Tradedude says:

    its simple, leafs were doing better this week than the flyers, u know, just like every other week invented.

  41. titans says:

    Just because Mike Milbury broke a grown man down to tears during salary arbitration doesn’t give you the right to make fun of hi…well o.k. I guess it does. But just because he’s a sniveling crybaby doesn’t make him any less of a goalie. Every year, year in and year out Salo leads the league in shut outs. His GAA is always among the league leaders and he always is the league leader in games played, and thats the reason for his post season failures. The Oilers overwork him so much in the regular season that come playoff time he’s worn out. So booty don’t hate the player…hate the game!

  42. titans says:

    Just because Mike Milbury broke a grown man down to tears during salary arbitration doesn’t give you the right to make fun of hi…well o.k. I guess it does. But just because he’s a sniveling crybaby doesn’t make him any less of a goalie. Every year, year in and year out Salo leads the league in shut outs. His GAA is always among the league leaders and he always is the league leader in games played, and thats the reason for his post season failures. The Oilers overwork him so much in the regular season that come playoff time he’s worn out. So booty don’t hate the player…hate the game!

  43. Tradedude says:

    which comes to mind……..that…..bruins are are over-rated. lol

  44. Tradedude says:

    thanks for repeating 3 times so he understands, lol, but you did good, leafs should have been #10, not #9 though. but good job nonetheless.

  45. big_booty says:

    Don’t get me wrong, Jay. I don’t “hate” Tommy Salo, it’s just that lots of people, yourself included, continually overvalue the player.

    While he always seems to keep his GAA down and he is a workhorse, he’s not a money goalie. Money ‘tenders thrive on lots of playing time, and shut the opposition down when it really counts. That’s not Salo. Sure, he’ll have good stats, but wins are what matters.

    To my knowledge, he has never led the league in shutouts.

    Brodeur, Roy, Hasek – those guys are workhorses all throughout the regular season AND the playoffs, and they have the bling-bling to back it up. Salo doesn’t.

  46. aaron says:

    I think Wings have gone unbeaten in two more since you posted this. They’re on top of the league now, w/o their 3rd and 4th d-men (4 rookies getting a lot of ice time on defense), Yzerman, or Datsyuk.

    Not that I’m saying they got screwed in the rankings, b/c Ottawa and Vancouver are two great teams as well. Just thought I’d let you know. :p

  47. Rushing says:

    I will stand up for them and fight tooth and nail when they are kicking butt like they were when you wouldn’t give them their due. That is when Boston lost several in a row yet you still wouldn’t knock Dallas ahead(hint hint). Yet, at the same time I will admit to when they aren’t living up to their expectations as well.

    When you pointed out this bad record they recently just had…….they had just gotten off of their longest road trip of the season as well. Seven game trip is what it was. Ulf Dahlen(one of top scores and best PP player) has been out since the beginning of the month, Morrow was out a few games, Modano was out a few games, along with several others. The Flu hit the team as well.

  48. Leaf_Expert says:

    When the Leafs out shoot their opponents they lose most of there games…

    When they are out shot they have only lost 3 times this season!

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