He swears frequently, has been known to wear a mask in arenas, and always gives the proverbial 110 per cent when performing.
Yet Hockeytown’s Eminem is not a hockey player.
In anticipation of the rap god’s first major project in four years — new album Revival drops Friday — we’ve scoured Marshall Mathers’ back catalogue to compose our NHL Power Rankings: Eminem Edition.
As usual, all 31 teams are ranked top to bottom in order of current strength. As an added bonus, we’ve picked a song title from Slim Shady’s extensive body of work that embodies the state of each club. (Click on the linked tracks at your own NSFW risk.)
After sitting out nearly an entire season, Steven Stamkos (who conspicuously shares the same initials as Slim Shady) has combined with Nikita Kucherov to form the most dangerous duo in hockey. They’re first and second, respectively, in the Art Ross race.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Bad Meets Evil“
On a mission for the Pacific Division crown, the Kings won an incredible eight consecutive games prior to Tuesday’s loss to the Devils. Their plus-25 goal differential is the best in the West.
Appropriate Eminem song: “On Fire“
No one in the Central Division has more victories over the past 10 games (seven) than the Predators, who easily commit the most penalties in the league (13.6 PIM per game).
Appropriate Eminem song: “Bully“
Who knew Brayden Schenn could lead a contending team in scoring? Who knew the St. Louis Blues would be this good? Who knew GM Doug Armstrong would still be looking for an extension after orchestrating the Schenn deal?
Appropriate Eminem song: “Who Knew“
Backstopped by Connor Hellebuyck — whose save percentage has swelled from .907 to .920 year over year — Winnipeg has gone from bubble team gone bad to a legit contender in the tough Central.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Stronger Than I Was“
Just when you thought Alex Ovechkin had lost a step, the man has 21 goals through 32 games and is hungry to reclaim the Rocket Richard Trophy.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Remember Me?“
The Knights’ consistency and perseverance is remarkable, but is a serious run at the playoffs — which becomes more possible with every passing day — the smart play when you have this many tantalizing trade rentals?
Appropriate Eminem song: “Just Lose It“
Artemi Panarin registered a crazy five primary assists in a single game last week for the Metropolitan-leading Jackets. We still can’t believe Chicago let him go.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Insane“
Were it not for a horrid start, the Rangers would be the toast of their division. The Blueshirts have points in eight of their past 10 outings. Big things.
Appropriate Eminem song: “The Apple“
Five of high-scoring Toronto’s top six point-getters — Auston Matthews, Nazem Kadri, William Nylander, Morgan Rielly, Mitch Marner — were drafted and developed by the team.
Appropriate Eminem song: “We Made You“
With the Islanders unveiling their plans for Belmont Park and Doug Weight’s group battling for the Metro’s top seed, you have to believe John Tavares’s chances of re-signing in New York are pointed upward.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Loyalty“
No NHL team dresses more U.S. citizens than the New Jersey Devils, whose season could well share the title of Eminem’s new LP: Revival.
Appropriate Eminem song: “We As Americans“
13. Dallas Stars
Alexander Radulov fell down during a shootout attempt Monday, picked himself up and still scored on Ondrej Pavelec.
Appropriate Eminem song: “You’re Never Over“
14. Minnesota Wild
Under Chuck Fletcher, Minnesota has made headlines with big trades, massive free agent signings, and a name-brand coaching change… and yet something is preventing the Wild from being great, not good. A three-game string of wins is a promising sign.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Never Enough“
15. Boston Bruins
Winners of eight of their past 10, the Bruins are healthy, hold games in hand, and look like the best bet to take the final seed in the Atlantic.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Chance to Advance“
16. San Jose Sharks
After a sluggish start, ageless, shirtless, knee-cartiledge-less Joe Thornton is back to his rightful spot atop the Sharks’ assist leaders and San Jose is back in the playoff mix.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Deja Vu“
All due respect to Casey DeSmith, but the Pittsburgh Penguins’ goalie depth isn’t quite the same since the departure of Marc-Andre Fleury, the World’s Greatest Teammate™. Thankfully, Matt Murray and Fleury are both healthy enough to face each other Thursday.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Without Me“
Corey Crawford’s health is essential to the Blackhawks’ playoff bid, but the threat of the perennial power house missing an invite to the dance is real after GM Stan Bowman traded away Niklas Hjalmarsson, Scott Darling and Artemi Panarin.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Stan“
19. Calgary Flames
Jaromir Jagr, 45, doesn’t own a key to the Flames practice facility, but he does have the guy with the keys on speed dial and has rang him up at ungodly hours so he can squeeze in a late-night workout. Considering hockey’s eldest pro has scored just once this season, there’s a growing sense this might finally be his last NHL campaign.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Till I Collapse“
20. Anaheim Ducks
Ryan Getzlaf is back this way, Ryan Kesler shouldn’t be far behind, and the Adam Henrique trade is paying off dividends. Anaheim appears to have remained within striking distance after stumbling through what should be the toughest portion of its schedule.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Survival“
GM Ron Hextall backed his coach when “Fire Hakstol!” calls rained during Philly’s 10-game losing skid, and the Flyers responded with a perfect 3-0 trip through Western Canada, then tacked on a home win versus Toronto.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Anger Management“
22. Edmonton Oilers
Not unlike the lead single from Mr. Mathers’ new album, Connor McDavid is burdened with the task of living up to the perfection those on the outside expect from him every time the bright lights shine.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Walk on Water“
The healthy return of Carey Price jolted the Canadiens back from the dead, but with Montreal dropping three in a row, we remember this team will only go as far as its goalie takes it.
Appropriate Eminem song: “I’m Back“
The NHL’s longest playoff drought may be extended once again, but the good news in Carolina is the securing of a new majority owner.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Business“
The Sedins are now both members of the 1,000 Point Club and have become more valuable to Vancouver right now with the painful injuries to Bo Horvat and Sven Baertschi.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Legacy“
A big victory over Pittsburgh here, and a bounce-back season from Nathan MacKinnon there, and yet the Avalanche still needs so many pieces to be taken seriously.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Searchin’“
27. Florida Panthers
The Roberto Luongo injury certainly doesn’t help, but the Panthers have been in a downward spiral since ownership started picking at a good thing about a year ago at this time.
Appropriate Eminem song: “How Come“
In the battle of Detroit vs. Everybody, the odds are on Everybody. The hockey team repping Eminem’s stomping grounds got off to a hot start but has tumbled down to the earth fast. One win over its past 11 games won’t help populate the D’s beautiful new arena.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Welcome to Detroit City“
29. Buffalo Sabres
The Sabres rang in December with their third consecutive shutout loss and haven’t defeated a team in playoff position in well over a month. Buffalo is reportedly willing to trade anyone and everyone not named Jack Eichel.
Appropriate Eminem song: “Cleanin’ Out My Closet“
30. Ottawa Senators
This weekend’s big outdoor game at the capital to celebrate the NHL’s 100th birthday comes at an awkward time, as Elliotte Friedman reports that the free-falling Senators have requested yes-trade lists from all players with movement protection in their contracts. Erik Karlsson backtracked and said he was taken out of context when he said, “When I go to market, I’m going to get what I’m worth, and it’s going to be no less, no matter where I’m going.”
Appropriate Eminem song: “Love the Way You Lie“
31. Arizona Coyotes
Losers of four straight (again) and owners of an NHL-worst minus-39 goal differential, the Coyotes are languishing 20 points behind the desert’s expansion team and Houston is licking its chops.
Appropriate Eminem song: “So Bad“