I know, I know. Should have done this weeks ago. Anyway, here’s what we got after a month of games:
1. Kings -- Liked them in the preseason, love them now. Justin Williams and Jarrett Stoll are returning to old form and Jonathan Quick is having a breakout year.
2. Red Wings -- The usual cast of hard-working folks (Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Cleary, Filppula) getting it done. And at 40, Nicklas Lidstrom is as good as ever. Amazing.
3. Canucks -- Sedin boys are getting in gear. Bad news for the rest of the West.
4. Flyers -- Sergei Bobrovsky is certainly surprising everyone. This team is good enough to get by with a rookie in net... For a while, anyway.
5. Caps -- Speaking of untested goaltenders, the Caps are still the most talented group of skaters in the East. Goaltending won’t get it done for them, though.
6. Blues -- At the other end of the spectrum is St. Loo, which has Jaro Halak playing lights out and a group of battered skaters trying to hold the fort.
7. Canadiens -- Have to say, Carey Price’s season so far has been impressive, and a surprise.
8. Bruins -- And on the surprises front, is anyone more surprising than Tim Thomas? Wrested the No. 1 job back at age 37.
9. Blue Jackets -- Won’t hang in the top 10, but rookie coach Scott Arniel deserves praise for instilling some confidence in this group.
10. Lightning -- Vinny Lecavalier out a month will test this group after a hot start.
11. Stars -- Brad Richards either enhancing his trade value or taking charge of a changed franchise.
12. Sharks -- Only 18 goals 5-on-5? Strange start for a high-powered offense.
13. Hawks -- Really sluggish start, and this is with Marty Turco playing decently.
14. Penguins -- Another elite team that hasn’t gotten it going -- mostly because the goaltending has been lousy.
15. Rangers -- Marian Gaborik’s return definitely will change things. For the better.
16. Avalanche -- Up and down start in a crowded Western field.
17. Ducks -- Winning some games, but the losses have been ugly.
18. Senators -- Sergei Gonchar’s -9 rating will only get worse playing so many minutes.
19. Thrashers -- Slowly turning things around, but still too many holes.
20. Wild -- Too much trouble scoring to compete in the West over the long haul.
21. Predators -- Hot start fizzled fast.
22. Hurricanes -- Jeff Skinner seizes the Calder Trophy race lead, but he doesn’t seem to have much help on the roster.
23. Panthers -- Tomas Vokoun standing on his head and they’re still down near the bottom of the East.
24. Coyotes -- Reality smacking these guys in the face, early.
25. Sabres -- Couldn’t do much with Ryan Miller early, now struggling mightily without him.
26. Flames -- Only 7-7 so far, but the bad mix of players will catch up with them.
27. Leafs -- Hot start has only made the inevitable decline so much worse for the hounds in TO.
28. Islanders -- Scott Gordon may indeed be on the hot seat, but what would change if he’s canned?
29. Devils -- Showing flashes of recovery, but Ilya Kovalchuk’s shootout failure the other night said it all.
30. Oilers -- Tom Renney’s crew comes to the Garden on Sunday after stumbling across the country.