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!!!

Cliffnotes:

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.