by Dave Richardson
Hockey is back, and with it comes another full season for fans both young and old to be repeatedly let down by their favourite teams. Here at The Goat, we have the dubious track record of supporting, among other teams, the Maple Leafs and the Oilers, which have been two of the most disappointing teams over the last few years. But how crushing is that disappointment and how does it compare to the rest of the league? Enter the Crushing Disappointment Power Rankings.
Each week, we will give a full list of the teams that have let down their fans the most over the course of the season. We are a little late starting, so this first edition covers all of October. Teams are assigned points using the following scoring system:
Loss: 1 point
Overtime/Shootout Loss: 0.5
Blowout loss (4+ goals): 0.5
Blowout win (4+ goals): -0.5
Shutout by other team: 0.5
Blow third period lead to lose game (Comeback win is negative points):
1 goal lead: 0.25
2 goal lead: 0.5
3+ goal lead: 1
Midseason coach/GM firing: 10
Trade away star player: 15
Acquire star player in trade: -10
Starting goalie controversy: 3
Miss playoffs: 10
Relocation rumours: 7
Ownership issues: 4
Legal troubles: 3
Suspension: 1 point per game suspended
Fines: 0.01 point per thousand dollars fined
Man games lost to injury: 0.1 point per game
On to the rankings:
1. Buffalo Sabres (42.65 points)
Oh, Buffalo, what a mess of despair. The 2-13-1 record is bad enough; just based on that record Buffalo would rank 4th on this list. Unfortunately for Sabres fans, it gets worse, much worse. Two one goal third period leads have turned into losses; the Buffaslugs have been shut out three times, and thanks to two boneheaded thugs the Sabres lead the league with 17 games lost due to suspension. Worse, the already talent thin Sabres have already lost 59 man games to injury this season, good for third most in the league. Oh, and they traded their star winger, Thomas Vanek, to the Islanders for Matt Moulson and a few draft picks. I’d like to say it will get better, but chances are high that Buffalo’s other star, goalie Ryan Miller, will also be traded sometime this year.
2. Philadelphia Flyers (19.4 points)
Philly got out to an early start on the disappointment rankings, losing their first three games and promptly sacking their coach, Pierre Laviolette. Their play has somewhat stabilized since (4-6-0), though they did endure a 7-0 shellacking at the hands of an Alexander Ovechkin-less Washington team on Friday.
3. Edmonton Oilers (17.3 points)
First in my heart, but last in the West, the Oilers continue to frustrate with their mix of promising young talent and colossal inattention to detail, especially in their own zone. Edmonton has a 3-10-2 record with three blowout losses, including a 4-0 loss to the Leafs followed by a 5-0 loss to Detroit in the last week. The Oilers also lead the league in man games lost to injury with 78.
4. Florida Panthers (14.15 points)
Like most of the other teams at the top of this list, Florida just isn’t very good. They have 2-7-2 record, highlighted by a 7-2 loss to in-state rivals Tampa Bay.
5. Carolina Hurricanes (9.5 points)
6. New Jersey Devils (9.25 points)
It took a while for the Devils to get that first win, losing their first 7 games, but it has been better since then (3-2-1). Along the way, the Devils somehow managed to blow a 3 goal third period lead to the Oilers.
7. Winnipeg Jets (7.3 points)
8. Columbus Blue Jackets (6.5 points)
9. Montreal Canadiens (6.2 points)
10. Calgary Flames (6.15 points)
11. New York Rangers (5.8 points)
The Rangers are 5-7-0, but have had some horrible losses, including a 9-2 drubbing at the hands of the Sharks and a 6-0 loss to the Ducks.
12. Dallas Stars (5.25 points)
13. Washington Capitals (5.19 points)
Washington doesn’t have a terrible record (5-7), though it appears Alex Ovechkin will be out for at least a few games with an undisclosed upper body injury. However, last week the Caps became the first team with legal trouble, as goalie Semyon Varlamov was arrested in relation to kidnapping and assault charges.
14. Toronto Maple Leafs (4.6 points)
The Leafs have played pretty well so far this season, though advanced stats people would point out that they are consistently outshot, indicating their 10-5-0 record may be unsustainable. Despite the record, the Leafs started high on the list because of David Clarkson’s 10 game suspension to start the season. We are also keeping an eye out for a goalie controversy, as both James Reimer and Jonathan Bernier are off to strong starts.
15. Ottawa Senators (4.1 points)
16. Nashville Predators (3.1 points)
17. Minnesota Wild (2.45 points)
18. Detroit Red Wings (0.9 points)
19. Vancouver Canucks (-0.55 points)
20. Pittsburgh Penguins (-1.2 points)
21. Anaheim Ducks (-2 points)
22. Boston Bruins (-2.1 points)
23. St. Louis Blues (-2.9 points)
24. Los Angeles Kings (-3 points)
25. Phoenix Coyotes (-3.65 points)
26. Tampa Bay Lightning (-4.05 points)
27. San Jose Sharks (-5.2 points)
28. Chicago Blackhawks (-5.55 points)
29. New York Islanders (-7.45 points)
The Islanders haven’t been dominant, compiling a 6-3-5 record through the first month. The main reason for their 29th place ranking is their acquisition of sniper Thomas Vanek. Time will tell if the 2-time 40 goal scorer will click with John Tavares and improve level of play on Long Island, though they have won 2 straight games with Vanek in the lineup.
30. Colorado Avalanche (-8.05 points)
Colorado has had an incredible start under first year coach Patrick Roy, putting together a 12-1-0 record over the first month.