Tuesday, November 29, 2011

NHL Power Ranking - Week 9

After a very successful road trip in which the Leafs won games in 3 different time zones, the hockey media is back on board. The Leafs moved up an average of 7 spots in the ranking with SI placing the Buds in 5th overall. You have to admit this November looks nothing like last November despite some significant injuries. Finally nice to see some organizational depth. The big test is this week with a home-away series with the big bad Bruins. The Bruins are hotter than the Leafs and are on top of almost every ranking. In their first 2 meetings the Leafs couldn`t compete with the Bruins so a split would be a significant accomplishment.

Sports Illustrated - 5th (+12)

Hats off to coach Ron Wilson for not just keeping his team afloat without starting goalie James Reimer, but moving it up the conference standings. The Leafs went on the road and got great wins in cities in three time zones: Tampa Bay, Dallas and Anaheim. Forward Clarke MacArthur had a goal in all three and is quietly turning into one of the league's more consistent points producers. He had 62 (on 21 goals) last season for Wilson, and has scored nine goals so far.

CBS Sports - 8th (+4)

We're still waiting for Phil Kessel and Joffrey Lupul to slow down, but they just keep on rolling.

TSN - 9th (+9)

G Jonas Gustavsson has suddenly become a stable presence in between the pipes, winning his last four starts, stopping 119 of 126 shots (.944 SV%). Now, the Leafs have to figure out what to do with their glut of centres, as Mikhail Grabovski has been activated from the injured list and Tyler Bozak, Tim Connolly and Joe Colborne have combined for 25 points in 27 games this month.

The Hockey News - 10th (+5)

Joffrey Lupul/Jake Gardiner trade right up there with Flames heist as Brian Burke’s best in Toronto

CBC - 11th (+8)

The Leafs aren't going away folks. They can thank their much-improved power play (22.8 percent), good for third in the NHL. After being thrust into an offensive role in the past, Tyler Bozak is finally earning his keep. He's put up six goals and 16 points in 22 games. Dion Phaneuf is possibly having his best season as a pro, leading the blue line in minutes (just under 26 minutes of ice-time per game) along with 18 points in 24 games. A home and home with Boston is next. The Bruins have mauled the Leafs in two games this season, outscoring them 13-2

FOX Sports - 12th (+6)

Phil Kessel obviously deserves his credit, but the Leafs wouldn’t be where they are without Joffrey Lupul (11-18-29). Did you see his assist on Tyler Bozak’s first goal in Anaheim Sunday?

ESPN - 13th (+5)

Just when it looked as though the Leafs were about to free fall out of the playoff picture, they've won four of five. Phil Kessel continues to lead the league in goals and points.

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