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HBO’s 24/7, NHL Power Rankings, Lidstrom’s OT Winner

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 My piece for The Hockey News on being on the wrong side of a blowout will post shortly.

USA Today – Official Power Rankings…..also “will post shortly.”

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As I’m sure most of you know by now, HBO is doing a “Hard Knocks”-like documentary on the Penguins and Capitals leading up to the Winter Classic this year, which is awesome.  (You may remember I suggested something similar earlier in the year, so I’m taking full credit for this).

They’ve released a 12 minute preview of the show, which largely provides some context for the game to fans who aren’t all that up on things – y’know, Sid vs. Ovy, the rivalry, the history, most of that good stuff.  Basically “here’s why this is going to be worth watching,” in a nutshell.

I’m excited, I have no doubt it’s going to be absolutely tremendous.  The outdoor game thing is utterly incredible stuff that has made me cry more than once, somehow.  I dunno, just the whole….roots of the game thing always gets me, I love pond hockey. 

Combine that with the type of job HBO has done on other sports, and I have no doubt it’s going to heavily talked about right from the first episode, December 15th.  Bourne’s Blog will certainly be following it.  Here’s the preview, first seen on Puck Daddy:

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Okay, it’s Power Rankings time again!  My vote is just one in what I think is a twelve person panel, but since it’s MY blog, here’s where I see things so far:

TEAMS

1. Detroit Red Wings
2. Washington Capitals
3. Los Angeles Kings
4. Philadelphia Flyers
5. Boston Bruins
6. St. Louis Blues
7. Montreal Canadiens
8. Columbus Blue Jackets
9. Tampa Bay Lightning
10. Vancouver Canucks
11. Pittsburgh Penguins
12. San Jose Sharks
13. Phoenix Coyotes
14. Colorado Avalanche
15. Chicago Blackhawks
16. Nashville Predators
17. Dallas Stars
18. Minnesota Wild
19. New York Rangers
20. Carolina Hurricanes
21. Atlanta Thrashers
22. Anaheim Ducks
23. Florida Panthers
24. Calgary Flames
25. Ottawa Senators
26. Toronto Maple Leafs
27. Buffalo Sabres
28. New Jersey Devils
29. Edmonton Oilers
30. New York Islanders

I might institute an “adjust for sanity” clause, in which I further exaggerate my opinion and shuffle Columbus down and the Blackhawks up.  Right now, my opinion affects their spots a little, but is largely affected by stats.  Y’know, ones like: Columbus is 12-6-1 (.667 percent of possible points earned) and ones like: the Blackhawks are 11-10-2 (.522 percent of possible points earned).

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MVPS

 1. Steven Stamkos
2. Sidney Crosby
3. Tim Thomas
4. Nick Lidstrom
5. Carey Price

Regarding Carey Price’s inclusion on that list:  even if you avoid the context needed to describe his season – you know, all that stuff about trading away goaltending deity Jaroslav Halak, playing in Montreal, pre-season boos etc. – He’s 12-6-1 (good for 25 points, same as the Blue Jackets record), has a .932 save percentage, and a goals-against-average of 2.  Simply 2.  Not 2 shabby for a guy many people were ready to write off, including me, because HE SABOTAGED MY FANTASY TEAM LAST YEAR.

*****

GOALERS

 1. Tim Thomas
2. Carey Price
3. Jonathan Quick
4. Niklas Backstrom
5. Ondrej Pavelec

Not exactly my pre-season prediction of what this list would look like.

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DEFENSIVEMEN

 1. Nicklas Lidstrom
2. Dan Boyle
3. Duncan Keith
4. Dustin Byfuglien
5. Brent Burns

Most people use these lists to point out “hey look, I noticed that that semi-obscure guy is doing really well, so I pointed out my knowledge by putting him exceedingly high,” and I think I sorta did that.  You’d still rather have Chara and Weber over my bottom two, but whatever.  For now, those guys are having money seasons.  As is John Michael Liles, who I passed over as well.  Could be worse – someone voted for Steve Montador (who I just googled, turns out he plays for the Sabres).

*****

FIRST-TIMERS

 1. Jeff Skinner
2. P.K. Subban
3. Logan Couture
4. Sergei Bobrovsky
5. John Carlson

Honorable mention to Jordan Eberle and Michael Neuvirth.

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As always, I’ll link to the official rankings when they post.  Guide me, oh knowledgeable hockey friends…..where have I gone astray?

Ooo, one quick thought before I go – how about Lidstrom not shooting right away on this OT winner last night and pulling it to his backhand?  How many rec-leaguers would’ve gone vom-dot-com and puked the puck anywhere but in the net the second it touched their stick? (I would have.)  Crazy decision, but hey – he’s Nick Lidstrom.

 

Comments

18 Responses to “HBO’s 24/7, NHL Power Rankings, Lidstrom’s OT Winner”
  1. Will77 says:

    Any thoughts on the Howie Rose snafu yesterday JT?

  2. jtbourne says:

    I have no problem with it, shows me the guy is sane. If he weren’t completely downtrodden by this point it would be safe to say the dude is taking too much medication. Too bad it happened and all, but I think I like him more now.

  3. RedBirdie says:

    If Nicklas Backstrom is the #4 goalie, he should top your MVP list! Nicklas-with-the-C is the Capitals center. He has many talents, but I don’t think playing goalie is one of them.

  4. jtbourne says:

    Ah, got it, fixed, thanks.

  5. j says:

    i can never keep straight which backstrom is which so i just go w/ “evil nic backstrom” is the center, “good nic backstrom” is the goalie. no reason behind why 1 is evil and 1 is good.

  6. Derek says:

    The Lidstrom goal was a beauty, but I was more impressed with Datsyuk on the set up of the tying goal. For such a little dude his ability to use his body and stick to keep the puck through three players was amazing. He made a pretty nice pass too.

  7. Derek says:

    Also, Derick Brassard pulled the penalty switcharoo you blogged about awhile back. Marc Methot, one of the Jackets penalty killers hooked down a Shark and somehow Brassard, who doesn’t play on the pk, ended up in the box….

  8. Jeff says:

    List looks better than last time but still JML needs some love and I don’t even like the Avs. Top 10 in pts and +/- for D plays more than 1/3 of the game. Drop Byfuglien for him as Byfuglien is playing even hockey. Burns could be dropped instead.

  9. Derek says:

    Jeff: Liles is having a great year, no doubt. But I think the lack of pk time and who he normally lines up against would keep him out of the top 5 in my opinion. Plus-minus is also a pretty poor way to separate players as well. It is very dependent on a players team and role. Burns has definitely been better than Liles in my opinion. However, I don’t think I would have Byfuglien in the top ten either considering he doesn’t kill penalties, doesn’t really play against top guys defensively and has been padding his stats with powerplay points, where he doesn’t even play d all the time. I think I would be inclined to include Letang or Whitney on the list over Byfuglien or Liles.

  10. JWISE514 says:

    I’m with you on shedding tears during the winter classic, but the thing that just kills me is the 1 pm start time on New Year’s day. I’m all for having it on a day of universal rest, but can they work in a 3 or 4ish start so that I can have time to suck down a Gatorade and a few extra strength advils before the opening ceremony? Maybe the NHL should hire Biznasty to hand out baby wipes at the gate…

  11. MattyJ says:

    1:00? I’d love 1:00. We late-rising Californians have to record it and watch it later.

    Speaking of crying over hockey, who doesn’t still get choked up when they see Ray Borque raise the cup? I’ve lived most of my life in sunny areas so I don’t care about pond hockey (ha ha) but that clip always gets me.

  12. Steve C. says:

    I’m with MattyJ…but we are forced to suffer so the NBA and the BCS can have the sweet times.
    BTW…Bourque taking off his jersey and handing it to Espo to retire #7 is his greatest on ice move ever.

  13. Jeff says:

    Derek- I agree +/- isn’t the best indicator as described by JB in his PD post yesterday but over a season it will average out to be a useful stat. Game to game it isn’t great but over an extended period of time it is usable.

  14. Andrew says:

    Lidstrom’s goal: it’s pretty excellent, but it looks like the pass kinda bobbles off his stick when he receives it and he couldn’t shoot. But this might make it more impressive since he kept his composure and made the play.

    Rankings: Justin, any thoughts on why the Hawks aren’t meeting expectations? Cup hangover? Loss of solid role players (Versteeg)? Combo of things? What about Jonathan Toews’ relative slump in point production?

    Lastly, how long until things crumble in Montreal and they start hating Carey Price again? I originally said Christmas, but he looks solid, so I’ll revise with “All-star break”.

  15. Neil says:

    Hey Bourne, have you heard about Oil Change? It’s a season-long documentary (apparently) on the Oilers this year, starting with the draft. It’s AWESOME. TSN has it, it seems like it’s on about once every couple of weeks but I’m not sure. You gotta check it out, maybe they have it on the website er something.

  16. jtbourne says:

    Neil, I haven’t, but I’ve heard of it and seen clips – that’s EXACTLY what I thought real fans want to see and would enjoy. It’s what I try to write about, but it’s so much better expressed by just taking a camera in the room. Glad to hear it’s good, I’ll check it out when I can!

  17. Rich mtu says:

    I’ll agree on the Oil Change show. Caught about half of it on the NHL Network and was most impressed by it. Don’t really like the Oilers but was such a good insight on a behind the scenes within the organization. Seems to be on pretty randomly so hard to catch and watch the whole thing.

  18. Nathan says:

    I think I’m late, but Letang needs to be in there:

    23 games, 4goals, 15 assists, +10, 23:07 TOI/game, 100% on faceoffs

    He’s simply beastly this year, everything he’s shown he can do at different times has now come together. It’s nice seeing this after falling in deep love with him watching him in juniors and especially the World Junior Championship.

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