Posted: Tue April 2, 2013 3:54PM; Updated: Tue April 2, 2013 4:05PM
Adrian Dater

Penguins take hit but still top my NHL Power Rankings

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Jarome Iginla of Pittsburgh Penguins
Jarome Iginla's value to the Penguins will increase in the wake of Sidney Crosby's injury.
Gene J. Puskar/AP

This was the week where some teams finally gave in and yelled, "Sell!" The lockout-shortened campaign had something to do with that process being delayed, but no more can clubs like the Calgary Flames or Buffalo Sabres kid themselves. They're not going to the playoffs, and it's time to get what they can in a sell-off and build for next year and beyond.

MUIR: Trade rumor tracker

The trade of Jarome Iginla, of course, was the league's biggest story of the week. Poor Jarome -- he chooses Pittsburgh (and snubs Boston in the process) partially because of the chance to play with Sidney Crosby. Then Sid suffers a broken jaw in the opening period of their first game together.

Let's hope Crosby isn't out too long. The game is so much poorer without him.

On to this week's countdown...

1Pittsburgh Penguins
Last Week: 1
So, Jarome Iginla, about that nice supplementary role you were pegged for: you're finally in a situation where all the scoring wouldn't be on your shoulders and you could just relax and enjoy the ride a little? Well, sorry about that. Looks like the Pens are going to need you to bring your 'A' game right away now that captain and Hart Trophy favorite Sidney Crosby is out. Corrective jaw surgery can take a while to heal, but if the Pens are being truthful --- that no wires are needed to keep the broken bone in place -- that could be a good sign. Pittsburgh is pretty much a lock for the No. 1 seed in the East, so if ever there was a good time for this injury to strike The Franchise, it's now. Still, it's too bad for the game and too bad for Iginla's fun quotient -- even though he was slated to skate on a line with Evgeni Malkin and James Neal at first. Last week: 3-0-0
2Chicago Blackhawks
Last Week: 2
Always good for the soul of a Hawks fan when their team can go into Detroit and embarrass the Red Wings on national TV. Such was their reward on Sunday, as Chicago crushed Detroit 7-1. Rookie Brandon Saad's two-goal effort was a nice reminder that the Hawks still have some talent in absence of top forwards Marian Hossa and Patrick Sharp --- though it was hoped that both might return to the lineup on Monday against Nashville. "We want that four-line rotation and we want to know that everybody's contributing in a meaningful way," coach Joel Quenneville told reporters. As players like Saad gain confidence with added playing time, Quenneville's stated goal could become easier. Last week: 3-1-0
3Anaheim Ducks
Last Week: 3
Anaheim Ducks (24-7-5)
Things continue to cool off some in Orange County. Anaheim's overtime loss at Columbus on Sunday dropped the Ducks to just 4-4-2 in their previous 10. Still, one of those wins was a takedown of Chicago on Friday night and overall things have been just so much better than anyone thought they'd be by this stage of the season. It's just a question of holding on to the Pacific Division crown and getting as high a seeding in the playoffs as possible. The Ducks finished up a road trip in Dallas on Monday night with a win, and now they get their next five at the Honda Center. One note of concern: Teemu Selanne has scored just two goals in his last 16 games and has no points in his last five entering Monday. Is he finally slowing down? Last week: 2-1-1
4Montreal Canadiens
Last Week: 5
More than 17,000 fans began lining up at 6 a.m. to fill the Bell Centre to watch...a practice. It's an Eastern tradition in Montreal, but there is no question that the beloved Habs are a little more beloved by the faithful these days because of their unbelievable season so far. "It's crazy. I was talking to guys out there and said this is probably the only city in the world where you'll get this many people to a practice on a weekend," rookie Nathan Beaulieu told the team's website. "It's pretty exciting. It's the most people I've ever practiced in front of, for sure." The Habs got another good win over the Bruins last week, a 6-5 shootout, which kept them barely ahead of Boston for the Northeast Division crown. Does G.M. Marc Bergevin need to do anything at the trade deadline? Maybe another D-man wouldn't hurt. Last week: 3-1-0
5Minnesota Wild
Last Week: 4
Minnesota Wild (21-12-2)
They rode a seven-game win streak into Dallas last Friday and finally had an off night -- a 5-3 loss, but things still look good overall. I still think the Wild are the favorites to unseat Vancouver -- finally -- at the top of the Northwest Division. Let's give full marks to coach Mike Yeo for getting his star-studded team to buy into his system, which is defense-minded but not to the point of stunting his top offensive players' creativity, a la Jacques Lemaire. I'm not sure I'm ready to proclaim them a Stanley Cup favorite or anything, but this is a good team that will keep getting better. Last week: 2-2-0
6Ottawa Senators
Last Week: 9
Ottawa Senators (19-10-6)
Saturday's 4-0 shutout by the Maple Leafs notwithstanding, the plucky Sens just keep surprising everybody. Goalie Craig Anderson (ankle sprain) returned to practice last week, but Bryan Murray said Jason Spezza's back rehab hasn't gone smoothly and there's no guarantee that he'll be ready for the playoffs. Tet the Sens' GM isn't planning to go out of his way to be a major player at the trade deadline. Speedy center Mika Zibanejad has been impressive, ranking in the top 10 in rookie scoring, hits and plus/minus. The Sens have a 13-3-3 home record and the NHL's stingiest defense (2.06 goals-against per game). They're also one of only four teams that haven't allowed a short-handed goal. Think Ottawa will be fun to visit in the playoffs? Last week: 2-1-1
7Los Angeles Kings
Last Week: 10
I don't know, I think the Kings overpaid for Robyn Regehr on Monday night, giving two second-round picks to Buffalo for the big defenseman. Of course, if any coach can bring the best out of Regehr, it's probably Darryl Sutter, who coached him in Calgary. Regehr never panned out in Buffalo, but maybe a move to a better team under a coach he's comfortable with will bring forth fruit for the defending Cup champs. The Kings rank last in the NHL in blocked shots -- with 26 fewer than the 29th-ranked Devils -- so Regehr instantly becomes LA's leader in that department, with 50. Yes, there was a need for a veteran blueliner to help fill the void left by the injured Matt Greene and Willie Mitchell, but two second-rounders? Steep. Last week: 2-0-1
8Boston Bruins
Last Week: 6
Boston Bruins (22-8-4)
The sputtering Bs, losers of five of their last eight games, got a needed 2-0 win at Buffalo on Sunday, but it wasn't exactly an overpowering display. There is some real concern growing about the offense, specifically the lack of production from guys like Milan Lucic, David Krejci and even defenseman Zdeno Chara. The power play has to be better, and a lot of that's on Chara. Of course, the Bs thought they had some scoring help arriving in the form of Jarome Iginla, but GM Peter Chiarelli was jilted at the altar when the rugged Flames veteran opted for Pittsburgh instead. Can't wait for the first post-trade game between those two teams: April 19 in Boston. Meanwhile, the B's are bringing in merry Czech nomad Jaromir Jagr from the Stars. Great deal for the B's. the merry Czezh Nomad. Great deal for Bs. Can't wait to hear Bostonians say "Yaagahh" in praise now. Last week: 1-1-1
9Toronto Maple Leafs
Last Week: 12
After a bit of a dip in the quality of their play, the Leafs entered Monday with a three-game win streak and their 44 points had them nine up on the eighth-place Rangers. The playoffs are looking more real every day, which is quite an accomplishment. This team appeared to be in chaos when GM Brian Burke was fired before the season, but the word "chaos" definitely does not apply to what's happened since. As always, the Leafs have their share of trade rumors floating around Hogtown to contend with, but they should be a buyer now, not a seller. Yeah, they could use another forward, preferably a good center, but they will compete regardless of what happens on deadline day. Rumors of a possible deal with Calgary for Miikka Kiprusoff have also sprouted again. He would be an upgrade in net, albeit an expensive one, with a $5.8 million cap hit for this year, assuming he will accepts being traded. Last week: 3-0-0
10Vancouver Canucks
Last Week: 7
It's been a curious season in Vancouver, with neither of the Sedin twins anywhere near the league's scoring lead as usual. The power play has not been potent, so that's hurt their production, as have the losses of players such as Ryan Kesler, Zack Kassian and David Booth to injuries. The addition of center Derek Roy from Dallas should help, -- he's a bit small, a bit long in the tooth, but he's the kind of under-the-radar deadline pickup who might pay off big in the playoffs. Think Cory Stillman or Doug Weight with the 2006 Hurticanes. Netminder Cory Schneider has stepped up to play well of late and keep the Canucks in contention for another division title. Will Roberto Luongo finally be traded? If it hasn't happened yet, I don't see it happening at all this year. Then again, I could be wrong. Several teams supposedly remain interested in Bobby Lou. Last week: 2-2-0
11San Jose Sharks
Last Week: 17
San Jose Sharks (18-11-6)
Count me in as someone who thinks the Sharks actually made a good trade by getting two fairly high draft picks from the Penguins for Douglas Murray. While Murray is big and has value in his own end, he's slow and penalty-prone, so getting that much for him was a nice deal for GM Doug Wilson. Ryane Clowe (zero goals entering Tuesday) has gotten waaayyy more press than he deserves as a deadline target, but that's what happens in a slow year for rumors. The Sharks probably considered themselves sellers just a few days ago, but a five-game winning streak entering Tuesday has them well in the top eight of the West again. Asked which camp his team falls into, Wilson told the San Jose Mercury News: "We're both. Are we going to give up first- or second-round picks in a draft that's viewed as very strong? The answer is no. This is the time that we're going to replenish in a very strong draft year. But if there's younger players that can fit into what we're trying to do and how we're trying to play, I have no problem acquiring that maybe in lieu of a pick." Last week: 4-0-0
12Detroit Red Wings
Last Week: 11
With Jay Bouwmeester going to St. Louis, will Detroit try to keep up with a deadline trade for a quality D-man? Wouldn't shock me, though the Wings' D did get a nice upgrade over the weekend with the signing of local boy Danny DeKeyser, who finished up his college career at Western Michigan. It didn't hurt that Wings legend Nick Lidstrom was put to work by GM Ken Holland to act as the ace recruiter. "To have a chance to play for your hometown team is definitely something special,'' DeKeyser, a Macomb native, told reporters. "I'm going to come in, get my feet wet a little bit, practice here this week and just take it from there. I want to be a big part of the team here. I just have to work hard, then we'll see what happens." Oh, and happy 85th, Gordie Howe. Last week: 1-2-0
13St. Louis Blues
Last Week: 8
St. Louis Blues (18-14-2)
If there is one team that has truly confused me this year, it's the Blues. One night, they look like the best young team in the league and the next they're getting shut out at home by the Oilers and ancient Nikolai Khabibulin. They were ninth in the West (but with three games in hand on eighth-place Columbus) and took a three-game losing streak into Monday's contest in Minnesota. Then they got a nice 4-1 win in a tough building. The Blues have had a couple of closed-door team meetings lately, so you know things were getting a bit serious. "I think it's going to require a deeper buy-in from the group, which is what we talked about here with our leaders," coach Ken Hitchcock told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Will Jay Bouwmeester start to turn things around? Well, given that he's never played in a postseason game during his eight-year NHL career, history wouldn't seem to be a great indicator. But maybe St. Louis is where it all happens for JayBo. I don't think defense was the Blues' biggest problem, though. I'd rather have seen them get a goal-scorer or two. Maybe GM Doug Armstrong can still land one. Stay tuned, as they say in the piano business. Last week: 1-2-0
14New Jersey Devils
Last Week: 13
Dainius Zubrus, out since Feb. 5 due to surgery on his left wrist, is getting closer to returning. He was at the morning skate on Monday, on a line with Adam Henrique and Matt D'Agostini. The veteran center was a key member of last year's Cup finalists, and he'll help a lot down the stretch. Martin Brodeur seems good to go again after that scary absence with back problems, but the fact is this team hasn't won in four straight games (0-1-3), including a 3-1 loss at home Monday to the Islanders. The Devils really need Ilya Kovalchuk (shoulder) back soon, but it's likely to be at least another week or two. Should Lou Lamoriello make a splashy move to get a scorer? "There is no question in my mind a splash usually upsets things. Adding pieces complements," he told the Newark Star-Ledger. "That's not saying it will always be the case, but adding pieces would be more the norm (for the Devils)." Last week: 0-1-3
15Columbus Blue Jackets
Last Week: 16
Every week, they just keep movin' on up a little bit more. The Jackets' amazing second half continues, as they enter Tuesday one point out of eighth in the Western Conference. They've really missed Rick Nash, huh? OK, cheap shot at the franchise's all-time leading scorer, who is now toiling for the Rangers. But it really is refreshing to see a team that was supposedly going to be devastated by the loss of Nash turn itself around and get the whole city excited. What the Jackets do at the deadline will be a fun parlor game. They have three first-round draft picks, one of which might fetch a nice, needed scorer for the playoff push. Last week: 2-1-1
16Edmonton Oilers
Last Week: 28
Edmonton Oilers (15-13-7)
Ahem, don't look now, but here comes the Oil. Giving them a good plug here no doubt will invoke the dreaded DaterJinx, but for now I'm BAAA-CK on the bandwagon. They've still got a shot at the playoffs which, more importantly, lessens our chances of seeing GM Steve Tambellini step to the mic for the fourth year in a row to make the first selection of the NHL draft. If he can find a taker, expect to see veteran defenseman Ryan Whitney gone by Wednesday. Boston could be a possibility. Whatever happens, Whitney seems ready to leave at a moment's notice. "I read how happy fans would be if I get dealt," he told the Edmonton Journal. Last week: 4-0-0
17New York Rangers
Last Week: 14
Well, it wasn't exactly a ringing endorsement for coach John Tortorella from the Twitter account of former Ranger Sean Avery, now was it? On Saturday night, the former NHL bad boy Tweeted the following about Torts: "Fire this CLOWN, his players hate him and wont (sic) play for his BS." Derek Stepan, after the Rangers' loss to Montreal later that night, stood up for his coach, telling the New York Daily News: "Don't agree with (Avery's tweet) at all, no. I think it's safe to say that all 23 guys on our roster would say that's not the case." The Rangers better start winning games for their coach soon, or he could be in some serious trouble, regardless of what Avery thinks. The Blueshirts got a win over Winnipeg at home Monday night at least, but trade buzzards are circling Marion Gaborik and Brad Richards. Last week: 2-2-0
18New York Islanders
Last Week: 23
Great win on Monday night in New Jersey and they're trying to figure out how to navigate the deadline with teams expressing interest in Frans Nielsen and Mark Streit. But sorry, but I remain skeptical. Despite being right there on the playoff bubble, it seems like every time I start to get excited about these guys finally making the postseason again, they get blown out a couple times at home, where they play five of their next seven game. They did get a couple of nice wins in Washington and Philly last week, and one on Saturday in Pittsburgh would have put them two games above the mythical .500 mark. But despite Sidney Crosby missing most of the game and no Kris Letang or Paul Martin in the Pens' lineup, the Isles got blanked on national TV. But then came Monday's atonement in Jersey. Maybe the best thing for this team is me doubting them down the stretch. I have a pretty good reverse-jinx record, too. Last week: 3-1-0
19Winnipeg Jets
Last Week: 20
Winnipeg Jets (18-17-2)
The up-and-down Jets lost a big one over the weekend at home to Carolina, but still maintained a four-point lead on the Canes and Capitals for the South(l)east Division crown. They started a three-game road swing Monday against the Rangers and lost, but seven of their final nine games will be played at home, over a relatively cushy 21 day span. So, the playoffs appear to be a reasonably good possibility for these guys. But they just have given little reason to believe they're for real. Winning a division by default is no accomplishment, but a good final stretch will gain them some respect from this grizzled scribe. Last week: 1-3-0
20Philadelphia Flyers
Last Week: 25
These guys just won't quit, but you would never expect a Philly team to do that anyway. Their home win over Boston on Saturday kept them in shouting distance of the eighth spot and amped up the trade talk. Still, it's going to be tough to get there, with a lot of teams to climb over. Things got a little tougher, too, when it was learned on Monday that valuable forward Max Talbot is likely done for the year with a broken leg. Claude Giroux (points in five of his previous six games) is starting to heat up. If he can get even hotter and help make up for the loss of the concussed Daniel Briere, and if Ilya Bryzgalov can actually win some big games and get the point. Last week: 2-1-1
21Dallas Stars
Last Week: 21
Dallas Stars (16-16-3)
A very average team, even by NHL standards, but they're really not a lot of fun to play against. Defenseman Brenden Dillon is rapidly turning into one of the nastier players in the league. He hits hard and likes to trash talk and drop the gloves, too. It was tough to see longtime leader Brenden Morrow go, but GM Joe Nieuwendyk did pretty well in getting a former first-round pick (Joe Morrow, no relation) and a fifth-rounder. I may be wrong, but I think Brenden Morrow's best days are well behind him. The Stars look out of gas and the fire sale is on with Jaromir Jagr on his way to Boston and Derek Roy off to Vancouver. More on those deals from's Allan Muir by clicking HERE and HERE. Last week: 1-2-0
22Washington Capitals
Last Week: 18
You have to give them some credit for giving their long-suffering fans hope with a good second half. But they lost a key game to the Islanders last week, then a big point in an OT loss to the Flyers on Sunday. They are 6-3-1 in the last 10 and continue to give fits to division leader Winnipeg in head-to-head matchups. But unless they get on an even better roll in the final stretch, making the playoffs will still be a long shot for Adam Oates' crew. What the Caps do with Mike Ribeiro, a potential UFA, continues to be an issue. The Washington Post reported that Ribeiro turned down a three-year, $14 million offer last week, saying he is looking for a longer-term deal at more money. The Caps obviously would like to keep him, as he's a proven scorer and has fit in well in the dressing room. But he is 33. That's a lot of term for someone that age. Last week: 1-1-1
23Carolina Hurricanes
Last Week: 15
They snapped a seven-game winless skid with a big victory in Winnipeg over the weekend as goalie Justin Peters limited the Jets to one goal, but lost to Montreal 4-1 on Monday while reverting to their offensive struggles (one goal in six of their last eight outings). As we feared when Cam Ward first went down, Carolina hasn't been able to overcome the lengthy loss of its No. 1 goalie to a knee injury. With so little margin for error, Ward appears lost for at least a few more weeks with his sprained MCL and the 'Canes gets only one more crack at the Jets, in the final game of the season at home. The addition of blueliner Marc-Andre Bergeron from Tampa Bay should help the power play, but he's not exactly a stout defender. Last week: 1-3-0
24Nashville Predators
Last Week: 19
Mike Fisher missed Saturday's critical game against Colorado due the dreaded upper-body injury and his absence was keenly felt in a 1-0 overtime loss. It figures to be a slog to the end for Barry Trotz's crew, which can't quite get its offense and defense to show up together. They scored four goals against the always-stingy Coyotes, but coughed up seven. They allowed only the one goal in Colorado, and lost. They surrendered two in regulation to the Blackhawks, but fell 3-2 in the shootout. Still, with Pekka Rinne in goal and Shea Weber guarding it, the Preds always have a prayer. Weber has been excellent of late, after a slow start, entering Monday's game at Chicago with 19 points in his previous 22 games. Last week: 0-1-2
25Tampa Bay Lightning
Last Week: 26
So far, so good for new coach Jon Cooper, whose team won his NHL debut behind the bench with a 5-4 shootout victory over the struggling Devils on Friday night. It was also nice to see GM Steve Yzerman say he will not push another panic button and trade Martin St. Louis. When I think of the Bolts, I think of St. Louis, a heart-and-soul leader who is still a great playmaker. The guy has 43 points at age 37. And believe it or not, the Bolts are still only six points out of eighth. A long shot, sure, but as Cooper told the Tampa Tribune, "You can't get away from it totally, but we don't want to concentrate ourselves on looking at where we are (in the standings). It's just, 'This is what we are going to work at today, this is our goal and let's be better at that in the game.' And I like where all the players' heads are at right now and how engaged they are and their emotion. To watch them go down twice in a game two goals down and come back two times, I kind of like that inner fire in them. So, we are just putting little pieces together." Last week: 2-0-0
26Phoenix Coyotes
Last Week: 22
Phoenix Coyotes (14-15-6)
Now that I'm burying them this week, they'll probably reel off five or six wins in a row. But the fact is they are just 2-5-3 in their last 10, and their ownership situation remains in limbo. It's the never-ending story. Coyotes captain Shane Doan remains a believer that another playoff run can still happen, though the time to act is now. "If we had four or five more points, it'd be a lot more comfortable, but we don't have that and we've got to find a way to get going," he told reporters. "We know it's going to be a battle right to the end." Last week: 1-0-2
27Buffalo Sabres
Last Week: 24
Buffalo Sabres (13-17-6)
They officially became sellers on Monday night with the trading of Robyn Regehr to Los Angeles for two second-round picks (pending Regehr passing a physical). Jordan Leopold was dealt earlier in the week to St. Louis. Hard to believe, after all the enthusiasm that was generated before last season with all the big moves they made, that the rebuild is on. It's too bad because Buffalo's fans are great and deserve better. Last week: 0-2-2
28Florida Panthers
Last Week: 30
Break up the Panthers! They've won two in a row, which is good for a few smiles around the dressing room. "I think everybody enjoyed their Easter and came in nice and fresh today," coach Kevin Dineen told the team's website. "Don't discount that you've had a little bit of success lately so that made for an enthusiastic bunch." The playoffs are out of reach, bit there is still reason for hope in the near future with good young players on hand such as Jonathan Huberdeau and Jacob Markstrom. Last week: 2-1-0
29Calgary Flames
Last Week: 27
Calgary Flames (13-17-4)
It's tough to be Jay Feaster right now. The Flames GM was ripped in the local media for not getting enough for Jarome Iginla from Pittsburgh, and he took more heat on Monday night for supposedly not getting enough for Jay Bouwmeester from St. Louis. But how much was he really supposed to get, especially for JayBo? What, was it all the success that Bouwmeester had in Calgary that made him so valuable? Please. Feaster had to do something, and some of the prospects he got might pan out. Well, that's the optimist's view anyway. Last week: 1-3-0
30Colorado Avalanche
Last Week: 29
Monday's 3-2 loss in Detroit was typical: the Avs didn't compete hard enough when the game was really on the line, then when it was just out of reach, they made a late run to make it seem closer than it really was. The Avs are awful again, and there seems no conceivable way that coach Joe Sacco will be able to survive despite another year on his contract. Yet, the secretive Avs front office has given no outward indication it is planning any sweeping changes in coaching/management. But it's clear to everybody else in the world: it's time to make some changes in Denver. Last week: 1-3-0
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