NHL Snark Rankings: MLK Edition

Published on 21-Jan-2014 by bpfiester
NHL / NHL Daily Opinion

This is a rare sight in Buffalo.

Martin Luther King’s birthday is a time to reflect on the social revolution inspired by Dr King and the progress of equality amongst mankind.

His “I have a dream” speech is still one of the most important and inspiring declarations since George Washington and his colonies didn’t want to pay the English tyrant taxes anymore.

King’s dream probably isn’t well embodied by the state of the NHL, as there are still just a handful of African-American players in the league. You’d think Grant Fuhr, Anson Carter, and Mike Grier would’ve inspired the youth of America to lace up the skates and shoot the puck. It’s tough to compete with LeBron James, Kobe Bryant, Michael Jordan, Kevin Garnett, Gary Payton, Magic Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, and Dwayne Wade. That’s some stiff competition!

What hasn’t changed much are the Snark Rankings since we last checked in. What, did you expect the Sabres to, all of a sudden, start scoring five goals a game or something?

  1. Buffalo Sabres – They still rank 30th in the league in goals scored per game, and 29th overall in power play percentage. One thing the Sabres can be called is consistent as they’ve lost three games in a row, all by a score of 4-3, including the last two in a shootout. In the previous three games before that, they won 2-1, lost 2-1, and won 2-1. Maybe we’re grasping at straws here, but the symmetry is beautiful, eh?
  2. Edmonton OilersUmmm, aren’t the kids supposed to be making progress by now? The Oil have lost four in a row, and the schedule is about to get brutal, even with four of the next five games at Rexall Place. First, Vancouver, Phoenix, and Nashville come to town; then Edmonton travels to Vancouver, 'welcomes' San José to town, and then they get two full days to fly to Boston. Maybe a layover in Milwaukee and a game with the Admirals of the AHL would do this team good. At least, it may restore some confidence. Imagine if they lost?
  3. Calgary Flames – It really is disheartening to see two of the few remaining Canadian teams struggling so badly. The Flameouts have won just three times in the past 18 games, including back-to-back 6-0, 5-0 losses to the Coyotes and Blues. During that same stretch, they've been shut out five times. Look on the bright side; they did blank the Hurricanes for one of those three victories. Calgary gets five straight home games to turn their fortunes around and get the hometown crowd excited. I’m sure they can provide their fans hope with Phoenix, Nashville, Chicago, San José, and Minnesota coming to town. Perhaps the Wild will have a big traveling contingent.
  4. Florida Panthers – There are many unanswered questions in the universe, such as: How did the sun form? Is there a God? Did a UFO crash at Roswel in 1947? Where is Jimmy Hoffa buried? Did George W Bush really win the 2000 Presidential election? Who built Stonehenge? How did the Panthers beat the Penguins 5-1 last night in Pittsburgh?
  5. New York Islanders – Well, the Isles are showing some signs of life, as they inexplicably beat the Flyers in a shootout and have won 10 of their past 14 games, including four in a row over a stretch. Now, let’s put this streak into perspective. Those four losses were against New Jersey, Florida, Carolina, and Philadelphia. Other than Philly, that’s not exactly the varsity squad, and of those 10 wins, two were against Dallas. Even so, Edmonton can look to the Isles and see that when you have several high draft picks over a fixed period of time, your franchise should be moving forward. If New York keeps improving, will it fall out of the Snark Rankings altogether? Another unanswered question in the universe.

Look for one final update before the league takes a union break for the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi. Will the hometown Russians be the favorite? Will Canada defend their title? Even more unanswered questions in the universe. For now, that is.

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