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NHL Power Rankings
Posted: Tuesday October 05, 1999 07:42 PM
By Pierre McGuire
These rankings are based on previous performance and teams will change on a regular basis. As the season progresses, we’ll have the week’s biggest winner and the week’s biggest loser as well. Until next week …
1. Dallas Stars : Injuries may hurt, but overall depth and passion to succeed are still there.
2. Detroit Red Wings : These guys want to get their crown back. The defense is as tight as you'll ever see for this time of the year. And they don't even play the trap.
4. Ottawa Senators : They go into Philly and bop the Flyers on opening night and really shut down Eric Lindros and the boys. Maybe Radek Bonk is starting to understand what it takes to be the real thing.
7. Phoenix Coyotes : Good start for new Coach Bob Francis . How long can the team get the job done without Nikolai Khabibulin ? Remember this name Trevor Letowski , his enthusiasm is infectious.
8. Edmonton Oilers : Goalie Tommy Salo will thrive in a hockey market. The overall speed of the Oilers make them one tough team to match up against, especially in Edmonton, where the ice is fast and the team is pumped up.
11. Carolina Hurricanes : Solid win at Boston. However, this team must play eight straight games on the road. How they hold up will determine their season. Ron Francis named captain as Keith Primeau sits home.
12. Los Angeles Kings : Zigmund Palffy and Rob Blake look primed. New Coach Andy Murray seems to have the troops believing early on. Stephane Fiset being strong in goal makes it easier to win on the road.
15. New York Rangers : Not a lot of scoring yet, especially on the power play, but Mike Richter is still the man that can keep them in a lot of games. Young center Mike York is making them believe on Broadway.
19. Boston Bruins : That explosion you heard was Pat Burns leaving Air Canada Centre after his team was crushed in all the fundamental parts of the game. If Jason Allison can't take faceoffs, it will be tough for the Bruins to dictate the pace of games.
21. Montreal Canadiens : Injuries galore. You've got to feel sorry for Coach Alain Vigneault and GM Rejean Houle . They are in a situation in which they need lifejackets -- and everyone's throwing anchors.
22. Washington Capitals : Somehow, someway this group has got to find a way to manufacture more scoring chances. A lot of the parts are in place; now they must mesh.
25. Atlanta Thrashers : Goals won't be easy to come by, but isn't it appropriate that role model Kelly Buchberger scored the franchise's first official goal?
26. Nashville Predators : These guys have got to come out of their zone more efficiently if they are going to get more chances off the rush.
27. New York Islanders : Loss to the Lightning is tough to swallow. If there is going to be any joy on Long Island, the boys must win the games they're supposed to win -- and there aren't many of those opportunities out there for them.
28. Chicago Blackhawks : Their performance in San Jose was a disgrace for a team that has a lot to prove. How much lower can they go?
Pierre McGuire is a Sports Illustrated special contributor and appears regularly during the NHL season on CNN/Sports Illustrated.
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