Getty[Author's note: Every sports website on earth dedicated to covering just one league publishes a weekly power ranking, and we here at Puck Daddy have finally decided to do the same. However, the problem with power rankings in general is that they are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]
7. The Devil's злорадство
If you're a Devils fan feeling bitter, jilted, and hard done-by thanks to an entire first line of scoring forwards (Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, and David Clarkson) leaving your team in the space of 12 months, you've had a pretty good week and a half or so in terms of schadenfreude. First Clarkson picked up a 10-game suspension for leaving the bench to fight in a meaningless exhibition game, and now Ilya Kovalchuk could miss a month after Alex Ponikarovsky stood him up at the blue line. The problem, of course, is that Ponikarovsky is his teammate. Ah, that sweet, sweet reveling in another's misery. There's nothing quite like it.
6. Lazy/Cheap Panthers fans
If you're a big Florida Panthers fan and you've been holding out on buying tickets for the team to find a new owner and really lock up what could be a championship core — Tom Gilbert and Ryan Whitney and Brad Boyes and 57-year-old Tim Thomas don't just sign because they're looking for work, after all —to get season tickets, today is your lucky day.
In addition to their already unbelievably-unbelievable low prices (the most expensive tickets are $216 bucks a night for a seat and all the free beer, wine, soda and food you can shove into your fat face, and the cheapest is actually I swear to you just $7), the Panthers this week announced that some packages would be discounted further.
How much? As much as 60 percent off.
In addition to their entry to every game, season ticket holders also get a free team jersey, free parking, free tickets to other events at the arena, and so on. Half seasons? Mini plans? Individual games? Also up to 60 percent off. The deal only runs until Thursday though, so if you've really been waiting to see if your favorite no-name veteran made the team (and of course he did because this is the Panthers we're talking about), you're going to want to act fast.
Getting as much as 60 percent off lower-level blue-line seats that already cost what last-row end-zone seats do in real hockey markets is seriously crazy. If you can read this and you're within two hours of Sunrise, you really ought to get on that deal.
"Hybrid icing? Really? I'd rather see six hundred guys a season blow out their ankles and have their careers ruined than even one hybrid icing call go wrong because you're making the game SOFT and for WUSSES and hockey guys are tough that's why fighting is so important and plus that word hybrid makes it sound like one of those stupid slow cars I always drive past in my pickup truck going a million miles an hour while texting and driving or rockin' out to Nickelback and also if you wear your helmet too long your brain overheats and you get concussions or something I don't know I'm not a scientist I'm a hockey purist." - Real people, definitely
The salary cap coming down $6 million or so gave a lot of teams a sweaty, nervous weekend as they had to make some very difficult decisions. As a result, roughly half of the league's most deeply mediocre veterans were shuffled through the waiver wire, while a slew of kids on their entry-level, two-way deals were cut and sent down as well, thankfully without the indignity of having their names mentioned in the same breath as Matt Pelech.
Chris Kreider, down to the AHL, beaten out by some guy you've never heard of. John-Michael Liles, a casualty of his unjustifiably large contract and the fact that the Leafs have so many of those already that they had to get rid of at least one of them and they sure weren't going to send down Colton Orr, because fighting. Mika Zibanejad, shuffled off because the Senators are already out of money or something. Jonathan Drouin, sent back to the Q because the Lightning are smart enough not to burn a year of his ELC on a season in which they will not make the playoffs, or at least will not do so based on whether this kid can produce as an 18-year-old.
It's entirely likely that you will never see such a mass exodus of guys who, in theory, should be in the NHL down to the lower-level leagues of the world. Or at least one you won't see it until the next work stoppage (lockout) several years from now when owners decide they once again need to arbitrarily roll back payrolls to an equally arbitrary number.
3. Sidney Crosby's Blandness
In the final days of the NHL preseason, the Penguins went to West Point and had all kinds of fun, including a touch football game. As you might expect, because he was definitely the kid in his neighborhood that insisted he be "automatic QB" in any and all pickup football games so he wouldn't have to run routes or play defense ever, and also so no one would touch him, Sidney Crosby was the quarterback.
The thing with a lot of hockey players is that while they are usually good at hockey — and golf, because a lot of the physical principles are more or less the same when stepping into, say, a one-timer, and a standard drive — they aren't usually all that great at other sports. For instance, here are some Oilers standing in the bucket and generally embarrassing themselves on a baseball diamond.
Crosby, though, is among the elitest of the planet's elite athletes, and thus, is a man apart from such limitations. The pass he threw to Beau Bennett, in the space he was given, was gorgeous.
Just look at that. Tight spiral, exactly where he needed it, on a rope. Solid. Mark Sanchez doesn't make that throw. But where Crosby really crushes it is, of course, when asked about the play after the game.
"It's only a small window so naturally I looked for Beau," Crosby said. "He's smart, he's gonna find that area, you just gotta trust your receiver and put it there. He came up for it, and it was a big play for us."
"It was a big play for us." Oh god, Sid, stop. That is an all-time great Crosby quote: Something on the border of insightful, but not really, in the first sentence and then the standard "I just gotta give all the credit to my teammates" pablum to wrap it up.
Crosby has a lot of practice at saying nothing about a hockey game. Saying nothing about a pickup football game? That's a legendary performance.
The fact that I was way, way hyped to watch an Edmonton/Winnipeg game at 10 p.m. on Oct. 1 should tell you everything you need to know about how desperate things get around this time of year. And just in time, too. We don't have the last episodes of Breaking Bad (and the accompanying college hockey sleuthing) to tide us over. Now we don't need them. RIP Dennis Heisenberg.
If you're the kind of person who complains every so often about the fact that your favorite team is unfairly scorned by The Lamestream Hockey Media because of the fact that people like Yahoo's writers are ONLY watching games that start before 8 p.m. Eastern, this is when you can really feel alive for the first time in months.
Someone picked Sidney Crosby to win the Hart? East coast bias. Someone else picked the Bruins to win the President's Trophy? East coast bias. Another idiot thought Patrice Bergeron should win the Selke? Well that my friends is the very definition of East coast bias, outrageous and insulting.
(Please note this doesn't help you if you think John Tavares should be the out-of-the-gate MVP candidate, which by the way you are wrong about.)
In the past, people who cried about this kind of thing every year like clockwork might have been able to stretch such arguments to some sort of cogent point about it since that's all NBC has ever covered as a necessity of pretty much everything being marketed toward the Eastern U.S. (population density, etc.), but the point is out the window now.
You think writers are biased against the whole Western Conference? Sorry bud but that's just institutional at this point. Check the conference standings: 16 teams in the East, 14 out West. There's now a statistical likelihood — even beyond the fact that most of the league's top 10 players have already been in residence here for awhile now — that the East will produce more award winners, and probably better teams.
Your beef is no longer with the people who cover the league, but rather those who run it. Address your concerns via email to Gary Bettman. Meanwhile, people who actually have East coast bias are mathematically vindicated. They also don't exist.
(Not ranked this week: Barry Melrose picking Steven Stamkos to win the Rocket Richard; In fact a lot of ESPN's predictions because boy are they bad; Puck Daddy steadfastly not doing power rankings; Me seeing "Gravity" on Friday; Drake partnering with the Raptors and not the Maple Leafs; Conference III season previews featuring images of Rick Rude and the Supermarket Sweep; Center Ice's free preview; The Senators not having any money; Yahoo! commenters; People hoping Phil Kessel would hit the market; Obamacare; $66,000 in cap space.)
Ryan Lambert's Power Rankings will appear every Wednesday on Puck Daddy.