NHL Snark Rankings: Christmas Break Edition
As Christmas break begins for students and workers across the land, this time of year is meant for reflection on the events of the past year. And it gives me time to reflect on the opening months of the NHL season.
You've only got five days to be done with your shopping. If you don't want to be part of the last-minute crush, check your inbox for free two-day shipping on orders over $100 from NHL.com, only good until 3pm on 21 December.
You can order that hockey fanatic a plethora of authentic NHL gear; however you’ll have to go to your local QFC for fresh octopus, or is that octopi? I guess it depends on how many you'll need for Monday night’s Islanders at Red Wings game.
Speaking of the Islanders, what the hell is going on there? They haven’t been good since winning four straight Stanley Cups from 1979 to1982, and with so many top picks over the last several years, you’d think they’d have an all-star team by now.
Oh, that's right. The owner is Charles Wang.
The team from Long Island tops our inaugural NHL Snark Rankings with a 9-19-7 record and just 25 points accumulated so far in the young season. Congrats for being at the top ... errrr ... bottom.
- New York Islanders – The Isles sit squarely at the bottom of the newly formed Metropolitan division, a full seven points behind the Columbus Blue Jackets. Ranked last in the league in penalty killing, giving up the second-most goals-against per game, and ranked only 24th in goals scored per game, it all makes for a pretty bad combination. John Tavares’ growth is being stunted like a lad drinking his morning coffee. You dudes host the Ducks tomorrow night. Good luck!
- Buffalo Sabres – There's a reason that Buffalo often ranks high in the annual list of most miserable sports cities. When the Bills lost four straight Super Bowls in the early 90’s, this was discussed as one of the most amazing feats in sports. Then, a few years later, the Sabres get hosed on a non-call in the Stanley Cup finals, where they lost to the Dallas Stars. Brett Hull’s skate was in the crease, eh! Even though the Sabres have the least amount of points in the league, they have won two in a row, including a home victory against the Bruins last night. Let’s see how you perform in Beantown tomorrow night, eh?
- Edmonton Oilers – If somebody who was alive in the mid-80’s could travel forward in time and grasp the awful state of both the Oilers and Islanders in 2013, it would be unfathomable that these are two of the worst teams in the league and have been for nearly a decade. Even with three straight No 1 draft picks from 2010 to 2012, the Oilers remain at the bottom of the Western Conference and are not in danger of breaking out anytime soon. The Pacific Division is arguably the best in the league, with the Ducks, Kings, Sharks, and Canucks all positioned at the top like a Ponzi scheme. Let’s see how they play host to the St Louis Blues tomorrow night. That could get ugly fast.
- Calgary Flames – What in the name of Don Cherry’s walk-in closet is going on in Alberta? This is supposed to be the heartland of hockey! Instead, it’s become a laughingstock, the guffaws of which can be heard all the way out in the barren oil fields. In fact, that's what you should order the Flames fan in your life: a doormat. Remember, if you order before midnight tonight, you get free shipping. No word if that offer is good until midnight Eastern Time Zone, Newfoundland Time Zone, or the Twilight Zone. It’s a pretty telling sign that when moves off the ice pay better dividends than moves on the ice, that's all you need to know about the state of this franchise. The GM and Assistant GM get axed, then the team reels off a winning streak. Go figure. It was disappointing to see lifelong Flames megastar Jarome Iginla leave for the Penguins last season and then the Bruins this season, but hey, at least he gets a shot at a Stanley Cup. Everyone remembers Ray Bourque winning a Cup with Colorado after all those agonizing years in Boston. Hopefully, Iginla can repeat the same magic. That’s about all Calgary fans have to cheer about in 2014. Can you really get excited about the fourth pick in the NHL draft?
- Columbus Blue Jackets – These guys have been one of the worst teams in the NHL since they came into existence prior to the 2000-01 season, making the post-season only once in 2008-09. Franchise stalwart and former No 1 overall pick Rick Nash now offers his services to the New York Rangers, leaving Ryan Johansen as their leading scorer and the only player with a prayer of making it to the all-star game, if the NHL had an all-star game this season. Thank the ice gods for the Olympics! Columbus is, and always will be, a college football town. At least put them in Cleveland so they can be miserable with the Indians, Browns, and Cavaliers. Or better yet, Seattle is clamoring for professional hockey and Jeremy Roenick has become their spokesperson. No, the Seattle Thunderbirds don't count. Besides, they play in Kent.
Each week during the season, be sure and check back on Fridays for updated Snark Rankings based upon the week's action. Remember, this is a family-friendly league, so there are no games scheduled on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Otherwise, in the spirit of the season, feel free to pound some Kokanee to make dealing with the in-laws bearable.