I can't ever follow the logic of NHL scheduling, but at least the Stars recent stretch is geographically symmetrical. Three games on the East Coast, then one central game in Dallas, and now three games on the West Coast. Well balanced. This pleases me.
The Stars take on the Edmonton Oilers tonight in the first of back-to-back games against the only two teams in the West universally agreed to be bad NHL teams. (Winnipeg still maintains a few tenacious defenders of their team's prowess) Universally agreed? Well, yeah. Anybody who has cared to rank the teams in the NHL over the past couple of days has those two at the bottom of the West. And yes, that means I'm talking about power rankings!
'Power rankings?!' you say. 'Power rankings are a crock of...' Yes yes, I know. I mean, they're often rubbish even when the writer has watched the games, which presumably this Chicagoite (Chicagoan? Chicagoard?) never did. Otherwise, how could he possibly describe a game in which the Stars never trailed by more than one goal until the final two minutes, and outpossessed the Blackhawks throughout, as a blowout?
But what power rankings can do for us is reveal trends. Average out all the multi-hued glasses that sportswriters wear *cough* NBC Chicago *cough* and get a feel for the general perception of teams. And there's one obvious trend that shows up, that being the early dominance of the West. Some rankings have as many as 9 Western teams in the top 10, none have fewer than 7. And the top Eastern team across the board? The Tampa Bay Lightning. A team that, after the injury to Steven Stamkos, one presumes will soon be dropping out of the top 10.
Another trend? The Stars are moving up. Albeit slowly. And unfortunately, the vast majority of the Western Conference is moving up too, leaving Dallas still floating between 10th and 12th in the conference. Looking at their top 9, the SB Nation article has this to say about Vancouver: "It's really unfortunate that a good team in the West is probably gonna miss the playoffs this year." What's unfortunate, is that three or four good teams in the West are probably gonna miss the playoffs this year. Ok, three. Sorry Winnipeg.
Funny enough though, after saying all that, the Eastern Conference went out and proved us all wrong last night. Of the five inter-conference matchups, only Winnipeg prevailed, and they did so against the Red Wings, of all teams. On the flip side, the Predators fell to the Islanders, Colorado was upset by Carolina, the Ducks contrived to lose to Florida, and Los Angeles were beaten by... Buffalo?
Go figure. Here's a fun roundup of those games pertaining to the Central Division last night. [Conference iii]
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Dan Ellis is my new favorite backup goalie on the Stars. [The Buffalo News]
Yet another homecoming for a Dallas Star. This time it's Shawn Horcoff. Let's hope he replicates the exploits of Tyler Seguin and Rich Peverley in their return. [Stars Inside Edge]
Jamie Benn's chances might not be great, but he definitely deserves a look for Team Canada. [Last Word on Sports]
In case you missed Tuba's link on Links yesterday, here it is again. 'Violent Dispute over Hockey Stats Leaves 16 Bloggers Injured' [Lighthouse Hockey]
One of the articles that presumably led to the above mentioned outbreak of violence regarding fancy stats. Goalie rebounds, the eye test would say they're crucial. The stats? [Sports Net]
Special logos have been revealed for all the teams participating in this season's Stadium Series. [SB Nation]
And lastly, you know how I sometimes tell you to definitely click on a link, or definitely don't, and it rarely has relevance on whether you actually should or not? Well this time I mean it. Definitely click on this link. Not only is the video amazing to watch, but the guy's story is borderline unbelievable. Any bet on which Star could pull off these moves? I'm betting Nichu, after he nets his first hat trick. [Puck Daddy]