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The Times' Rankings

Helene Elliott's Nhl Rankings And Comments:

February 24, 2004

GAME OF THE WEEK

PHILADELPHIA at OTTAWA, THURSDAY

*--* Rk. Team (Rec.) Comment 1 DETROIT (35-16-9-2) Return of McCarty reunites Grind Line, adds grit and muscle. 2 OTTAWA (34-15-8-5) Bondra deal a great move for classy, consistent scorer. 3 NEW JERSEY (32-17-11-1) Defending Devils miss leadership, savvy of Stevens (concussion). 4 TAMPA BAY (32-17-7-5) At least a point in 16 of 17. St. Louis (30 goals) three from tying career high. 5 BOSTON (30-15-12-6) Murray-Knuble-Thornton line hot. Rookie Raycroft steady in net. 6 TORONTO (34-17-9-3) Will go as far as Belfour's balky back will allow -- maybe not far. 7 PHILADELPHIA (32-15-11-5) Roenick (concussion) still out. Missed by Flyers, media. 8 SAN JOSE (30-16-11-5) Won four of five but Pacific lead over Stars is shrinking. 9 DALLAS (30-22-10-0) Stars 2-0 to start eight-game home stand. Power play 6 for 14 in last three. 10 NASHVILLE (30-23-7-2) The little team that thinks it can play with the big boys. 11 COLORADO (33-14-10-4) Sauer a good pickup after injuries KO Blake, Foote. 12 VANCOUVER (32-19-7-4) Sedin twins look better by the game. Cloutier doesn't. 13 BUFFALO (28-27-6-1) Things aren't all bad in the NHL if Briere scores 21 for hot (9-2-1) Sabres. 14 N.Y. ISLANDERS (29-22-8-2) Take away five losses to Rangers and they'd have a playoff spot. 15 KINGS (24-17-14-7) Scrappiness, persistence outweigh injuries and soft goaltending -- so far. 16 CALGARY (30-23-5-3) Offense stalls, producing one goal in each of three straight losses. 17 EDMONTON (25-26-10-1) Wins over Colorado, Vancouver give them hope for playoff push. 18 MONTREAL (30-25-6-2) More fight in practice than on ice in losing five of last seven. 19 MINNESOTA (21-23-16-2) Couldn't overcome Gaborik's contract woes. Tough to gain ground now. 20 ST. LOUIS (29-23-7-2) Injury-ravaged defense helpless in 3-10-1-1 slide. Goaltending woeful too. 21 FLORIDA (22-25-13-3) Cutting ticket prices next season -- if there is a next season. 22 ATLANTA (24-31-6-2) Defense is Thrashers' downfall. Outscored, 53-32, in 3-10-2 nosedive. 23 DUCKS (21-25-9-8) Skoula moves puck well but must be more intense more often. 24 N.Y. RANGERS (22-29-7-4) Sather says he'll remain coach and GM. That a threat or a promise? 25 WASHINGTON (19-33-8-2) Sharp Kolzig helps trade value. Devils could be eyeing Gonchar. 26 PHOENIX (20-24-15-3) Nagy (dislocated wrist) done for season. So are Coyotes, in 2-9-2-1 skid. 27 CHICAGO (17-31-7-5) Dumping Zhamnov, Sullivan cut $8 million. Now Blackhawks must draft well. 28 CAROLINA (19-27-12-3) Hurricanes say they won't sell off best assets. Why not? 29 COLUMBUS (17-33-8-4) International Ice Hockey Federation to hear Zherdev case this week. 30 PITTSBURGH (11-42-5-4) Not just bad but historically bad: 18 straight losses, only one in OT.

*--*

The Flyers got an early jump on the March 9 trading deadline by acquiring Sean Burke from Phoenix and Alexei Zhamnov from Chicago. Ottawa responded by stealing Peter Bondra from Washington for a prospect and a pick. Burke has been shaky, twice giving up five goals and twice giving up four among 21 scored on him in six starts, but Robert Esche (sprained knee) is expected back soon. Zhamnov, who was also pursued by the Red Wings, should provide depth while Jeremy Roenick recovers from a concussion. The Senators got a reliable scorer in Bondra, 36, who's on his way to a 10th season of 30 goals or more. Backed by the fat wallet of owner Eugene Melnyk, the Senators will pay the rest of the $4.5 million Bondra is owed this season and might exercise an option that will pay him $4.5 million next season. They seem to have it all, if their goaltending holds up.

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