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NHL Power Rankings Week 18 Recap – NHL All-Star Weekend Disappoints Once Again

With only eight games last week due to a combination of bye-weeks and the NHL All-Star break, there was very little movement in the NHL Power Rankings. That, and an extremely boring week with lots of downtime in the evenings.

Nevertheless, the NHL Power Rankings wait for no one and will keep on rolling through the break. This week, the big story is that once again, the All-Star weekend was a disappointing bore. And the Vegas Golden Knights look to be in a bit of a freefall. Before we get to those, here are a couple quick hits from around the league.

Quick Hits

The Carolina Hurricanes took advantage of a quiet week to gain a bit of ground on the Boston Bruins by going 3-0-0 in the midst of yet another lengthy winning streak. After winning their seventh straight game, the Hurricanes sit seven points behind the Bruins. Still a large deficit to make up, but closer than it has been in quite a while.

It is a make-or-break week for the New York Islanders. Fresh off the acquisition of Bo Horvat, the Islanders play four games this week. They are already at a games played disadvantage compared to the three teams they are most closely chasing, the Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Washington Capitals. The Sabres only play one game, the Capitals two, and the Penguins play three. This week will put the Islanders at an ever bigger disadvantage heading into the home stretch. They need to win these games to stay in the race.

The 2023 NHL Lull Star Break

At this point, the NHL All-Star break is more of a recurring joke than exciting event to look forward to. This year is no different. The most memorable part of the entire weekend for some viewers was an incredibly odd cut to commercial featuring feet in water.

Very little of significance made waves after Friday night’s skills competition. Well, aside from Trevor Zegras tweeting a sleeping emoji and Marc Methot taking shots at how boring and cringeworthy the event was.

From boring, drawn out events with poor pacing that are unable to keep the crowd’s attention to badly designed competition structures, the entire skills competition feels more like a chore that makes little sense to watch.

Events with judges scoring are subject to some..interesting criteria, such as the judge being a fan of a player’s former team and giving him a 19/10 on a breakaway challenge attempt that missed the net, like Jon Hamm did for Alex Pietrangelo last season.

If the league wants a head-to-head structure in events, that’s fine. It might add to the appearance of intensity. But it also leads to the events, like accuracy shooting, being rushed through and the person with the best performance, like Connor McDavid with the fastest and most accurate round, losing because it came in the wrong round.

The All-Star Game itself typically has the intensity of a stick-and-puck drop-in session at a local rink so it has the same struggle of being boring and unable to retain an audience’s attention. One would think it would be a showcase of the talents and a chance for players to showcase the best they can offer. That often is not the case.

Once again, the NHL’s All-Star Weekend was a disappointment and representative of the larger problem that the league has a real issue at marketing it’s star players, talents, and skills.

Just a Slump for the Vegas Golden Knights?

The Vegas Golden Knights started the season on a tear, going 13-2-0 in their first 15 games, including a nine game win streak. And since then, they had spent most of the season at the top of the Pacific Division.

But recently, they’ve started to slide. With a 5-7-3 record in their last 15 games, the Golden Knights have relinquished the division lead to the Seattle Kraken and Los Angeles Kings and now find themselves with just a two-point cushion over the Edmonton Oilers on the third divisional spot.

On a quick glance, the offense has completely dried up in Vegas. They have 38 goals in their last 15 games, an average of just over 2.5 per game. Mark Stone, who had 38 points in 43 games before being lost long-term to injury, is a huge loss. After missing most of a month to injury, Jack Eichel has been unable to contribute much of anything offensively since returning. He has just five points in 11 games, with three of those points coming in his first game back.

Those are the two most potent offensive players on the team. Chandler Stephenson does lead the team in points. And the depth contributions of William Karlsson, Reilly Smith, and Jonathan Marchessault are great, as all three have between 32 and 34 points. But with the high-end scoring talent out of the lineup, the depth beyond this second line has been unable to pick up the slack in a meaningful way.

If Vegas wants to turn things around in the short-term, they need to find a way to get Eichel scoring. Getting a point per game out of him, as would be expected given his past performances, would be a huge boost offensively. It would give the team an extra goal per game, essentially, which goes a long way when five of the last 15 games were one goal losses for the Golden Knights.

That wraps things up for this week’s NHL Power Rankings. Who is ranked too high? Drop a comment down below!

Main image credit Embed from Getty Images

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