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    Written by Blake Benzel   
    Monday, 09 January 2012 01:20

    New York Rangers

    Given the New York Rangers' recent performances, they don't have too many problems to worry about. They're 9-1-0 in their last 10 games and have been on a tear since the Winter Classic. I guess their biggest worry is whether or not they get unlimited orange juice. 

    1) New York Rangers (26-9-4) – The Rangers have been red hot since their win against Philly in the Winter Classic. To that, we salute them.
    2) Vancouver Canucks (26-13-3) – Sami Salo will be out with a concussion following the hit laid on him by Brad Marchand, who was given a match penalty and a clipping major for the hit. Hearing Vancouver talk about it, though, it’s a miracle that Salo didn’t explode upon impact.
    3) Boston Bruins (26-11-1) – Speaking of Marchand, he’s certainly living rent free inside the Canucks’ heads right now, with coach Alain Vigneault even saying that “some day he’s going to get it.” That day was apparently not the day he rabbit-punched a Sedin about 79 times.
    4) San Jose Sharks (23-11-4) – So, remember when we said that the Sharks weren’t hitting this season? We weren’t talking about Douglas Murray.
    5) St. Louis Blues (24-12-5) – With Ken Hitchcock at the helm, the Blues finally look like the team that everyone thought they could be. What’s even better is that they’re winning and conducting themselves the right way.
    6) Ottawa Senators (22-15-6) – It’s hard to deny that the change in scenery hasn’t helped Kyle Turris. In nine games for the Sens, he has six points, which puts him on pace for a career high in points in just 49 games.
    7) New Jersey Devils (23-16-2) – Talk about having a season to remember. Adam Henrique came into the NHL with most people not knowing his name and now he’s an odds-on favorite to represent New Jersey in the All-Star Game.
    8) Nashville Predators (22-15-4) – It’s getting harder and harder to say that Nashville isn’t a hockey town. The Predators just broke a team attendance record, drawing 17,113 fans. The best news? The game was against the Dallas Stars – not necessarily a high drawing team.
    9) Detroit Red Wings (25-14-1) – Great news for the Red Wings. Tomas Holmstrom has been activated from the IR. Opposing goalies, prepare to be sat on.
    10) Chicago Blackhawks (24-13-4) – Talk about an NHL debut. Chicago’s Andrew Shaw tallied a goal and had an impressive fight against the Philadelphia Flyers.
    11) Toronto Maple Leafs (21-15-5) – After sending enforcer Colton Orr to the AHL, Brian Burke took a moment to lament the decline of the enforcer in the NHL. Because the Detroit Red Wings have such a hard time getting on without one …
    12) Philadelphia Flyers (24-12-4) – You know what would be nice for the Flyers? A goalie with confidence because, as entertaining as Ilya Bryzgalov is, his “poor me” routine is getting a bit stale.
    13) Dallas Stars (23-16-1) – Dallas will open training camp in Idaho next season, as well as host a preseason game there. Cue the rumors … now.
    14) Florida Panthers (20-13-8) – Krys Barch was suspended for his unfortunate choice of jokes on the ice but, come on. Can we go back to reason here? The player the joke was intended for didn’t even hear it.
    15) Colorado Avalanche (23-19-1) – With Matt Duchene out of the lineup, the Avs have been rolling with a new combo of Paul Stastny, David Jones and T.J. Galiardi. Of course, that combo will look even nicer once they start scoring.
    16) Los Angeles Kings (20-15-7) – The addition of Darryl Sutter behind the bench has sparked the Kings, who have been on a tear of late. For some reason, they still can’t seem to put the puck in the net.
    17) Pittsburgh Penguins (21-15-4) – First Sidney Crosby, then Jordan Staal and James Neal? Panic might be a bit much, but still – cause for concern? Maybe just a little?
    18) Minnesota Wild (21-15-6) – To say that the Wild are starting to get frustrated with their recent skid is an understatement. The next step for the Wild? Trying to figure out how to channel that frustration and get back on the winning side of things.
    19) Winnipeg Jets (20-16-5) – The Jets have been named the surprise team this season, and it’s hard to argue that. Especially with Evander Kane, Blake Wheeler and Bryan Little putting up points like there’s no tomorrow.
    20) Washington Capitals (21-16-2) – The Capitals are surging back into contention, but there’s still one thing holding them back. They still can’t seem to win on the road.
    21) Calgary Flames (19-19-5) – Jarome Iginla finally potted his 500th career goal, and it’s only fitting that it was against the Minnesota Wild – a team that he has dominated throughout the course of its existence.
    22) Phoenix Coyotes (20-17-5) – Yet another ownership update out of Phoenix. Apparently the new flavor of the week is the ex-CEO of the San Jose Sharks. At this point, though, any suitor is a good suitor for the ‘Yotes.
    23) Montreal Canadiens (16-18-7) – In what is probably one of the most ill-conceived moves in professional sports, the owner of the Canadiens has joined Twitter. Cue the trolls …
    24) Tampa Bay Lightning (17-20-3) – Note to the Lightning: Could you please, at least, win at home?
    25) New York Islanders (14-19-6) – Great news out of Long Island. Al Montoya has been cleared to practice.
    26) Carolina Hurricanes (14-22-7) – As hard as the season has been for Carolina, the news is getting better: Jeff Skinner has returned to practice.
    27) Anaheim Ducks (11-22-6) – The entire NHL started salivating when Bob Murray made mention that almost his entire roster was “For Sale.” The reality of it is that their stars, like Ryan Getzlaf, will most likely stay put.
    28) Buffalo Sabres (18-18-5) – Sabres fans are starting to get perturbed, with a dispute between the Madison Square Garden network and Time Warner Cable leaving them blacked out. Kudos, though, to the Sabres for offering them viewing parties to watch the games. With the way Buffalo has been playing lately, it may be more of a relief to fans not to watch.
    29) Edmonton Oilers (16-22-3) – The way things are going in Edmonton, a third straight No. 1 draft pick might not be out of the question. At some point, might these draft picks be better used on goaltending and defense?
           30) Columbus Blue Jackets (11-24-5) – The Oilers will have the Blue Jackets to contend with, though, who appear poised to pick first for the second time in club history. There’s a lot of season left to be played, and anything could happen, but I don’t know that it would be a bad idea for their writers to start learning to spell Yakupov.

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    Last Updated on Monday, 09 January 2012 09:44