NHL Snark Rankings: Chinese New Year Edition
Are you recovered from your Chinese New Year hangover?
For the rest of us, it’s time to get back on the 'Horse,' especially if you're wandering around the greater New York/New Jersey are today as the eve of the Super Bowl is upon us. Come Monday, you can join the millions of Americans that will call in sick as they recover from a three-day bender.
Really, the Monday after the Super Bowl should be a national holiday, just like President’s Day. At least then you’ll have some Olympic hockey to watch, whether it’s men’s or women’s. The opening ceremonies are less than a week away.
Some of the Snark teams have shown great improvement since we last checked in. Perhaps the two-week layoff for the Olympics is coming at the wrong time.
- Buffalo Sabres – Buffalo still has the lowest point total in the league with 38 and just 15 wins on the season. They beat the Coyotes in Phoenix on Thursday night, 3-2, as goalie Ryan Miller made 38 saves, good for three stars. Nice tune up before they Olympics start, as Miller will be one of the featured goalies for Team USA in Sochi. How much time he sees in front of the net will depend on how often Kings goalie Jonathan Quick is used. Miller was tremendous in the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver and remains one of the few bright spots for Buffalo. However, the Sabres got drilled, 7-1, at Colorado tonight, where the Pepsi Center was decked out in orange and blue for some strange reason.
- Edmonton Oilers – The Oil has the second-fewest points in the league, which is a reasonable measurement of success when it comes to the Snark Rankings. They're very deserving of second place on this list. Somehow, they beat the Sharks 3-0 on Wednesday night as goalie Ben Scrivens stopped 59 shots, an expansion-era record in a shutout. Still, Edmonton ranks dead last in goals allowed per game. However, this performance brings hope to northern Alberta, a concept that the Year of the Horse brings from the Chinese calendar. But never mind, they got blanked by the Bruins today, 4-0.
- Florida Panthers – The Golden Cats have allowed 16 goals in their past three games and got pummeled by the Maple Leafs, 6-3, on Thursday night before getting worn by the Blue Jackets tonight, 4-1. Florida doesn't skate well in any facet of the game; they're 27th in the league in goals scored and goals allowed per game, dead last in power play percentage, and 29th in penalty killing. Further evidence that South Beach is a basketball town as long as the Heat win.
- Calgary Flames – Well, the Flames have certainly heated up, winning four home games in a row over the Coyotes, Predators, Blackhawks, and Sharks. How’s that for rising up to your competition? As long as they don’t leave the Saddledome, they’ll be OK. They beat San Jose, 4-1, meaning the Sharks lost back-to-back games to Edmonton and Calgary. Didn't know that was possible. They hoste the Minnesota Wild tonight in Calgary and made it five in a row. They may not be long for Snarkdom at this rate.
- New York Islanders – Forgive New York area sports fans if they're preoccupied with Super Bowl mania this weekend, but there was a game last night in Madison Square Garden between the Rangers and Islanders. The Rangers won, 4-1, on three third period goals. At least the Isles lost in a warmer venue than Yankee Stadium. Like all the Snark teams, the Islanders are terrible at stopping pucks and killing penalties. They're right in the middle of the pack in goals per game, ranking 16th in the league. Now, if they could just find that franchise goalie, they’d be in business.
There's one week left of NHL action before teams take a mid-winter break for the Olympic games in Russia. I know you’re all going to be captivated by that Oilers vs Sabres matchup on Monday while you nurse your Super Bowl hangover.