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  • Power Rankings: Canucks give NHL the riot act Print
    Written by Blake Benzel   
    Sunday, 18 September 2011 01:31

    Henrik Sedin Canucks
    At this stage of the season, contract holdouts and Vegas odds hold more power than 23-man rosters – mainly because no team has cut its roster down to 23. That's the next step as NHL training camps progress. In the meantime, here's how all 30 teams stack up at the outset.


     Vancouver Canucks – Vegas has the Canucks as the odds-on favorite to take home Lord Stanley's chalice next season and, with their entire core from their run to the finals last season returning, it's hard to argue with that.


     San Jose Sharks – The Sharks are a contentious topic among our staff, but whether or not they will win the Cup this season, one thing is clear. On paper, this team is a top contender.


     Boston Bruins – The Bruins got their deal with Brad Marchand done, Nathan Horton (concussion) and Tukka Rask (offseason knee surgery) are both healthy and Tyler Seguin is looking to build on his fifteen minutes of playoff fame. All-in-all, the Bruins look poised for a strong cup defense.


     Washington Capitals – In case you didn't know, Chris Hanson (son of the infamous Dave Hanson) is trying to make the Caps squad this season. Coincidentally, all of the tinfoil in the local supermarkets in D.C. are now sold out.


     Detroit Red Wings – A touching story coming out of Detroit this week, as center Pavel Datsyuk will wear number 24 in honor of his former teammate and friend, Ruslan Salei. No joke here, just a really cool gesture from one of the league's top players.


     Los Angeles Kings – Bad news Kings fans. L.A. couldn't reach a deal with superstar defenseman Drew Doughty before training camp and things are officially getting nasty. Dean Lombardi said on Friday that he will subtract $25,000 from the contract offer for every day of camp that Doughty misses.


     Tampa Bay Lightning – After about 1,400 people showed up to watch Tampa Bay practice and scrimmage on Saturday, owner Jeff Vinik said that he feels good about the direction the team is heading. Of course, a conference finals berth helps with that too.


     Pittsburgh Penguins – Sidney Crosby skated in the opening day of training camp on Saturday afternoon, but has yet to be cleared for contact by doctors. So, basically, what this means is that he'll be cleared and shut down on Twitter at least 15 times before he even meets with the doctors.


     Chicago Blackhawks – The Blackhawks have signed Dan Carcillo and Jamal Mayers this off season and are bringing in Ray Emery on a training camp tryout. Throw John Scott into the equation and you're basically just one dirty look away from a 300-plus penalty minute game.


     Montreal Canadiens – Habs prospect Alexei Yemelin turned heads in his first day of camp with some thundering body checks, including one hip check on Max Pacioretty. At this rate, Yemelin may make the squad by attrition.


     Buffalo Sabres – After their spending spree this summer, the Sabres now need to cut about $4 million in salary prior to the start of the season. Also, a memo was found on Darcy Regier's desk from Paul Holmgren that simply read, "LOL."


     Philadelphia Flyers – The Flyers named Chris Pronger their captain on Friday. In other news, the sky is blue, grass is green and water is wet.


     Minnesota Wild – So, we're sure that you've all seen the controversial season preview of the Minnesota Wild and seen the marvelously crafted rebuttal. We won't throw our hat into the ring, as that seems to be covered, but we'll just say this. Dany Heatley, Devin Setoguchi and a healthy Guillaume Latendresse makes this Minnesota Wild offense pretty scary.


     New York Rangers – Brad Richards is yet another high-profile player taking a stand against headshots. That sound you just heard was Don Cherry's head exploding.


     Anaheim Ducks – So, Teemu Selanne is back for another season in Anaheim, and goaltenders around the league are groaning at the prospect of facing this power play again.


     Nashville Predators – Much of the hope that Nashville has to build on their playoff success last season rests on the shoulders of their youngsters stepping up to fill the void left by the departures of J-P Dumont, Steve Sullivan, Joel Ward and so on. The good news, they're showing a lot of skill so far. The bad news, they're still rookies.


     Calgary Flames – Jarome Iginla left the first day of training camp early with back spasms. Not necessarily a storybook start, eh?


     Carolina Hurricanes – The ‘Canes have signed their first-round draft pick, Ryan Murphy, to a three-year entry level deal. Let the instant comparisons to what they did with Jeff Skinner begin.


     New Jersey Devils – Amidst reports of financial turmoil, the Devils are looking for a bounce back season after last year's disappointment. They're also looking for a new caterer for their locker room, since Martin Brodeur is healthy again.


     Columbus Blue Jackets – Good news for Blue Jackets fans. The franchise has reached an arena deal that will keep the Jackets in Columbus for the foreseeable future. With all the relocation/ownership troubles around the NHL, this is certainly a welcome change.


     Phoenix Coyotes – A rough season is in the future for the Coyotes, who replaced Ilya Bryzgalov in net with Mike Smith. *Insert attendance joke here.*


     New York Islanders – The Isles became the first major sports team to have an official tattoo parlor. Their new marketing campaign? For every 300-plus penalty minute game, you get a free face tattoo.


     St. Louis Blues – What do Brett Hull, Wayne Gretzky and David Backes have in common? They've all been captains in St. Louis.


     Winnipeg Jets – So, apparently Jets tickets are in high demand. Again, water still wet.


     Florida Panthers – Sean Bergenheim has the playoffs on his mind in Florida this season, which could be great news for him. The bad news? Someone apparently forgot to tell him he's with the wrong Florida team for the playoffs.


     Dallas Stars – And back to the depressing team news. The Dallas Stars have filed for bankruptcy, apparently with a plan for a sale in the mix. First in Minnesota, then in Dallas? This franchise just can't catch a break.


     Toronto Maple Leafs – Ron Wilson is cutting through the B.S. in Toronto this season, meaning that he's going to be cutting down to as close to their regular roster as quickly as he can. So, basically, he's decided to just cut through all of that hope in the future crap this pre season and get straight to the disappointment.


     Ottawa Senators – Nikita Filatov is going to get every opportunity to succeed in Ottawa, and he's excited about it. Well, that and actually getting an opportunity. That helps too.


     Edmonton Oilers – Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is far from a sure thing to make the opening day roster for the Oilers this season. The franchise has no shortage of youngsters on their squad and Nugent-Hopkins is going to have considerably more competition to earn his spot on the roster.


     Colorado Avalanche – Guess what? Peter Mueller is back on the ice in Colorado and taking hits.

    Photos by Getty Images

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    Last Updated on Monday, 19 September 2011 20:11