NHL Power Rankings: That’s What He Said Edition

All the top goals from the past seven days in the NHL, including Kailer Yamamoto finishing off some great Oilers passing, beauty individual effort from Devils' Jesper Bratt, and Mika Zibanejad's quick hands for his 3rd of 5 goals against the Caps.

As concern over COVID-19 increases, dressing room access has vanished.

For the foreseeable future, hockey players will be conducting interviews from behind podiums or beyond ropes — too far to sneeze on.

These safety measures are only temporary, of course, but they have served reminder of the value of the reporter’s job as conduit between players and fans.

I appreciated how Joey Votto summed up this relationship:

Thoughts from those directly involved in the emotions, agonies and thrills of our game drive our stories. These words wouldn’t be out there online for us to highlight were it not for the beat reporters who bombard the athletes, coaches and execs they cover with questions. (A hearty shoutout to all the microphone holders keeping a sanitized distance from their subjects.)

With that in mind, we present our NHL Power Rankings: That’s What He Said Edition.

As always, teams are ranked in order of current level of awesome. For each team, we’ve plucked a recent dressing room (or podium) quote that captures the mood around the club or an issue it’s facing.

1. Boston Bruins

“I think both of us feel we’re the best team in the Atlantic.” —Bruce Cassidy on the Bruins-Lightning rivalry.

2. St. Louis Blues

“When you see a friend — a close friend for a lot of us — go through that, I guess without even realizing, it rallies everyone together.” —Alex Pietrangelo on Jay Bouwmeester.

3. Colorado Avalanche

“Simple answer is, ‘No.’” —Jared Bednar on if he’s ever seen a run of bad injuries like the Avalanche is enduring.

4. Tampa Bay Lightning

“You learn from how much it hurts, and you try and alter your behaviour to make sure that doesn’t happen again.” —Jon Cooper on avenging last spring’s sweep.

5. Philadelphia Flyers

“The guy never stops smiling.” —Matt Niskanen on Oskar Lindblom.

6. Washington Capitals

“Adversity is something that can make you stronger, but it seems like it is taking some time to make us stronger.” —Braden Holtby.

7. Vegas Golden Knights

“Sometimes you just throw it to the net and good things happen.” —Shea Theodore on scoring back-to-back game-winners.

8. Winnipeg Jets

“He knows how to handle the locker room. He knows when to get guys going. He knows when to give guys a little bit more room.” —Patrik Laine on Paul Maurice.

9. Pittsburgh Penguins

“Right now, we don’t have a lot of it, and we’ve got to get it back.” —Mike Sullivan on the Penguins’ confidence.

10. Edmonton Oilers

“This is as disconnected as we’ve been in a long time.” —Dave Tippett on his team collecting points in spite of itself.

11. Carolina Hurricanes

“I called my parents and my girlfriend right away. Said, ‘Come on down. I got called up.'” —Morgan Geekie, overnight sensation.

12. Dallas Stars

“When you’re not scoring and you try to open it up, it usually backfires.” —Joe Pavelski, whose Stars have combined for three goals over four games.

13. Calgary Flames

“We still control our own destiny.” —Milan Lucic.

14. Toronto Maple Leafs

“The margin for error is as small as it can be.” —John Tavares on the hunt.

15. New York Rangers

“My phone almost burned up.” —Mika Zibanejad on his five-goal bonanza.

16. Vancouver Canucks

“I was doing everything I can to get back as fast as I could.” —Brock Boeser, back in effect.

17. Nashville Predators

“The thing that has separated him a lot is his rebound control has been exceptional.” —Dave Hakstol on Juuse Saros, who’s earning critical starts over Pekka Rinne.

18. Florida Panthers

“No. 1 in your programs, No. 1 in your hearts.” —Roberto Luongo, No. 1 in the rafters.

19. Columbus Blue Jackets

“It was a game in the mud for a lot it. We liked that game to be played that way for us.” —John Tortorella on Monday’s win in Vancouver but really any win.

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20. Minnesota Wild

“These games we’ve been playing against some other teams have been very competitive and tight-checking, so it’s kind of playoff-like. We have to get used to that, because if we do get in, we’re going to be in for a battle.” —Matt Dumba.

21. New York Islanders

“Ninety stitches is a lot, but the end result, 90 stitches is a lot better than losing an eye.” —Barry Trotz on Johnny Boychuk, who returned to practice after getting his face sliced open by a skate blade.

22. Arizona Coyotes

“We need some more guys to feel the whip and go at it. There’s no other choice.” —Rick Tocchet, four points out of a wild-card spot.

23. Chicago Blackhawks

“Losing sucks.” —Connor Murphy.

24. New Jersey Devils

“I’m not a great player in this league yet… not even close.” —Jack Hughes, feeling the first-overall burden.

25. Buffalo Sabres

“We’re just not finding ways to bury them, and the other team is. That’s the difference in most of the games lately.” —Jeff Skinner, who buried 40 last season and has buried 14 this season.

26. Los Angeles Kings

“They play the right way, they’re well-coached, they’ve got some good veteran leaders, and the young guys that they’ve got coming up work extremely hard.” —Colorado’s Jared Bednar on the Kings.

27. Montreal Canadiens

“I’d say Kotkaniemi hit the wall a lot earlier than Suzuki.” —Claude Julien on Montreal’s young stars, who are still future stars.

28. San Jose Sharks

“It would be kind of weird. It would be really, really quiet.” —Aaron Dell on the possibility of tending goal in an empty arena.

29. Anaheim Ducks

“They understand the points are big on the other side.” —Dallas Eakins on his players.

30. Ottawa Senators

“There’s got to be a human side to how we do our business here.” —Pierre Dorion.

31. Detroit Red Wings

“You feel sorry for yourself for a little while… then you start training and get ready for next year.” —Steve Yzerman.

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