Monday, November 1, 2021

Weekend rankings: A new number one, shaking up the bottom five, and closing out an ugly week

You’d be forgiven for feeling like we just lived through one of the worst weeks in NHL history.

We didn’t – there have been far worse, starting with several in May and June of 2010 that we’re only now beginning to truly understand. We didn’t know about that situation while it was happening, or for a decade after. It’s hard not to wonder what else we don’t know about.

But you could argue that last week was actually a good one, as an old boy’s club that lives in perpetual fear of ever acknowledging that something could be wrong actually offered some accountability for a few of their own. Many of us assumed the Blackhawks would bury the report; they didn’t, to their credit, and now we know much more about the many ways that the hockey world failed Kyle Beach. Those details were hard to stomach, but that’s the point – nobody gets to hand wave this one away (or pretend that it could never happen with your favorite team). Instead, we need to call it what it was, and continues to be: A near-total failure of leadership at every level.

So now what? What do you do now if you’re a fan? Is it OK to just want to have some fun watching – or reading about – a hockey game right now? Mark Lazerus wrestled with that question from a Chicago perspective. It’s not an easy one. We can’t ever forget what happened to Kyle Beach, and how many in the hockey world abandoned him, and there’s no option to just move on. We know what we know. This is the new normal. Do you even care what’s happening on the ice right now?

I’m not sure. I’m guessing that a lot of fans would like to get back to feeling like this league is fun, and might be looking for something a little more light-hearted, if only as a distraction. That sort of stuff is a big part of my role around here, and we’ll get back to something along those lines tomorrow. But for today, at least, I hope you’ll forgive me if I’m not really in the mood for punchlines or wacky takes.

On to the rankings…

Road to the Cup

The five teams with the best chances of becoming the first franchise in three years to win a Stanley Cup that we have to admit probably counts

Sidney Crosby is back in the lineup, and while the early returns were not great, it means we might finally start getting some clarity on what the Penguins are going to be.

If you’re keeping track, the team I said would have the widest range of possible outcomes this year just closed out October by holding down first place and dead last in the Metro within an 11-day span.

5. St. Louis Blues (6-1-0, +14 true goals differential*) – The five-spot was a very tough call this week, with three Western teams in the mix. I’m not sure what to do with the Pacifc; I had the Oilers here last week and they didn’t really do anything to lose the spot, but the emergence of the Flames and a win streak from the Knights means that the division looks like a tougher slog than it did even a few days ago. The Central is no slouch, and the Blues did lose to the Avalanche this week. But they had shutout wins in their other two, and I don’t mind churning the top five just a bit in the early going when we’re still not sure what’s real. St. Louis has the California trip this week, so let’s see if they can bank four or five points and make this pick look good.

4. Tampa Bay Lightning (4-3-1, -1) – If you missed it, check out Dom’s piece on why four top contenders off to slow starts shouldn’t be panicking quite yet. Two of those four teams are still hanging around our top five list, including the Lightning, who started the week with a bad loss to the Sabres but recovered to post back-to-back 5-1 wins. The Caps will be a good challenge tonight.

>> Read the full post at The Athletic

(Want to read this post on The Athletic for free? Sign up for a free trial.)

No comments:

Post a Comment