The Wings are too hot to ignore and the Habs move up the chart. A look at our totally subjective and weekly ranking of the league’s 30 clubs:
1. Detroit Red Wings. Kicking butt and taking names in the tougher Western Conference.
2. Ottawa Senators. Trying not to fall asleep during all this time off.
3. Carolina Hurricanes. They’re back!
4. Minnesota Wild. Being extra careful with Marian Gaborik’s groin injury. Smart.
5. Philadelphia Flyers. Simon Gagne doesn’t appear back anytime soon.
6. Montreal Canadiens. Carey Price or Cristobal Huet? Doesn’t matter as the Habs keep winning.
7. Calgary Flames. Now if they only tighten up defensively, then watch out.
8. St. Louis Blues. Paul Kariya is flying.
9. Columbus Blue Jackets. Good ol’ Ken Hitchcock hockey – Jackets allowing only 1.90 goals per game.
10. San Jose Sharks. Inconsistent team right now. Not good enough.
11. Dallas Stars. Mike Modano trying to get out of the dog house.
12. Pittsburgh Penguins. Need to tighten up defensively.
13. Colorado Avalanche. Ryan Smyth is heating up.
14. Buffalo Sabres. More is expected from Thomas Vanek.
15. Boston Bruins. Phil Kessel is a dandy.
16. New York Islanders. Bill Guerin proving he’s got more left in the tank.
17. Tampa Bay Lightning. Vincent Lecavalier dropping the gloves and scoring goals!
18. Los Angeles Kings. Anyone notice they’ve won five of six?
19. Chicago Blackhawks. Turns out Sergei Samsonov also can’t score in Chicago.
20. Vancouver Canucks. This blue-line group way too good to be playing like this.
21. Anaheim Ducks. There’s no pill for this Stanley Cup hangover.
22. Washington Capitals. Need to get Alexander Semin healthy.
23. Toronto Maple Leafs. A fragile group at home.
24. New York Rangers. Should have kept Michael Nylander.
25. New Jersey Devils. Patrick Elias hasn’t been the same since signing the big contract in the summer of 2006.
26. Edmonton Oilers. Might be a long year but the kids are fun to watch.
27. Florida Panthers. Whatever happened to Richard Zednik?
28. Nashville Predators. Who’s No. 1? Dan Ellis or Chris Mason?
29. Atlanta Thrashers. It’s a big hole to dig out of.
30. Phoenix Coyotes. Alex Auld appears to have won the No. 1 goalie job.