Any good hockey fan knows that ESPN is not their number-one source for hockey news. Writer Scott Burnside once again proved ESPN’s complete lack of any real hockey knowledge when he decided to post his NHL team rankings.
(If you have no idea what I am talking about, make sure to waste two minutes of your life by reading Burnside's Summer Power Rankings article.)
Burnside started off by ranking the Eastern Conference teams, and I was already done with him after the first team. He ranked the Pittsburgh Penguins the best team in the East—even with the mass migration of players from last year’s team.
Apparently Burnside has the same delusions as every bandwagon Penguins fan has that only four players matter on a team and “never mind the absence of Marian Hossa, Ryan Malone, Jarkko Ruutu and Georges Laraque.”
Now, I am not saying the Penguins are the worst team in the East—but to rank them above the Montreal Canadians is just stupid.
Burnside then goes on to rank the Rangers at number four—even though they are, as he put it, “Different, but not necessarily better.”
How can a team not be better, but still climb in the rankings?
Fourth is pretty high for a boom-or-bust team, but it is the “logic” he used to come to his conclusion that makes me angry.
This so called “sports expert” then ranks the Carolina Hurricanes at number seven. Yes, the team that missed the playoffs twice in a row, and lost Erik Cole for Joni Pitkanen. Replacing 51 points with 26 points does not make your team better.
He ranked the Bruins at number 11, despite Boston making the playoffs last year and improving their team while losing no one of importance (sorry, Glenn Murray).
In the West, Burnside did a little bit better, but I still have some major grievances.
Burnside put Anaheim at number four, even though Selanne may not come back and the Ducks still have a defense that are going to be sponsored by AARP. Anaheim is a top-eight team, but not number four in such a strong Conference.
Other than that, I was generally okay with his Western Conference rankings—until I saw Colorado at number 13.
Okay, so we do not know if Joe Sakic will be back—but this team has some really great players like Ryan Smyth, Milan Hejduk, and Paul Stastny. Maybe the loss of Jeff Finger was enough to take this team out of the playoffs. Goaltending is a potential issue, so I would not put this team in the top five—but putting them at 13 is insulting.
It may seem like I am nitpicking, but I am not sitting here saying his number five team should be a number four. These are serious misplacements in the rankings—four or more spots for some teams!
To me, Burnside’s power rankings just further prove that ESPN does not anything about hockey.