Thursday Thirteen: The Silly Season

by J.R.

Every Thursday we bring you the III Communication’s Conference III Power Rankings, the Thursday Thirteen.

This week, the first rankings of the 2013-14 season.

1. Chicago Blackhawks: Please note that this week’s rankings are based entirely on performance to date in the preseason and are not indicative of the official Conference III predicted order of finish (which will be posted ahead of the start of the actual season, not this silliness). The Blackhawks defeated the evil, retrograde Red Wings and earn the top spot — which, of course, isn’t to say that they won’t top the predicted order of finish (SPOILER ALERT: They are going to top the predicted order of finish).

2. The harvest moon: The September full moon — in Conference III territory, the moon went full just before sunrise this morning — is the “Harvest Moon,” so named because its extra light is beneficial to farmers needing to squeeze in a few more minutes of work when its time to bring in the crops. We understand that in Conference III because we are, after all, agricultural country. Don’t let stick-in-the-mud geniuses like Neil deGrasse Tyson tell you the harvest moon is meaningless:

I hate to tell him he’s wrong, because the harvest moon is special: the progression of moonrises is much shorter than average (30 minutes as opposed to 50 in most months), thus in the days after the moon goes full, the period of darkness between sunset and moonrise is shorter.

Also, Jason & The Scorchers only wrote one song about a moon:

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3. St. Louis Blues: One of two teams at 1-0-1 thus far, the Blues get the edge because they beat a Conference III foe and because they managed to leave Orlando without eating its most famous resident.

4. Kangaroos: Unique, tough, athletic. An ability to fight when needed, but not simply a one-dimensional pugilist. If the NHL ever expands to Australia, put the team in Conference III. After all, Aussie legend Steve McKenna played for the Minnesota Wild and the Adelaide Avalanche.

5. Dallas Stars: Lose the tiebreaker because their loss was to the aforementioned Blues and because their win was…in a shootout…against Florida.

tumblr_m0jb5tnT2Q1qeu6ilo1_4006. Edward, the Black Prince: On September 19, 1356, Black Eddie led the English troops into the Battle of Poitiers, the second of three key victories for England in the Hundred Years’ War.

During the battle, King Jean II of France was taken prisoner and Eddie wrote this letter to the people of England:

It was agreed that we should take our way, flanking them, in such a manner that if they wished for battle or to draw towards us, in a place not very much to our disadvantage, we should be the first … the enemy was discomfited, and the king was taken, and his son; and a great number of other great people were both taken and slain.

In other words — “We struck first, dictated the action, killed a bunch of Frenchies and stole the king and also his heir. Also this war is 100 years long and we’re just getting started.” Conference III-ey, Eddie. Very Conference III-ey.

Edward is a top-notch two-way forward, excelling on both ends of the action and leads Conference III in Chevauchée and Ostrich Feathers/60.

7. Winnipeg Jets: The Frigid Airs have played more preseason games than the rest of Conference III — three, appropriately — and have one of each in the trio of games. They re-signed Chevy, for some reason, so we’re still a little skeptical here.

Friedrich_Zweite_Alt8. Frederick The Great of Prussia: Frederick The Great was a unifier of sorts — bringing together disparate Prussian armies, for one thing, but also espousing religious tolerance, with a quote that more or less sums up enlightened absolutism:

All religions must be tolerated… for every man must get to heaven in his own way.

I like that quote because it can be used in a variety of situations. There are lots of ways to be a fan — we can be smartasses or stats guys or doom-and-gloom or Pollyannas or, like the late Chuck Ross, we can only hope to beat ’em and beat ’em bad. Over at Grantland, Sean “DGB” McIndoe encourages us to be a little more tolerant:

But the truth of it is, the NHL has great fans in every one of its markets. What it doesn’t have is enough of those fans, and that’s a different issue. You can blame that on ownership, or Gary Bettman, or geography, or history. But you can’t blame it on the fans themselves.

If anything, those fans deserve our support. Imagine being a die-hard hockey fan in a market that barely knew you existed. Back of the sports section. Nothing on talk radio. Bartender looks at you like you’re crazy when you ask if they’re showing the game. It has to be brutal.

So mock the teams if you must. But maybe go easy on the fans themselves.

Frederick slips in the rankings a bit because he also said “He who defends everything defends nothing,” which would have gotten him demoted from a Barry Trotz team, although “If my soldiers were to begin to think, not one of them would remain in the army” makes me think he would have made a helluva system center. Heck, maybe he would have made a great coach:

My people and I have come to an agreement which satisfied us both. They are to say what they please, and I am to do what I please.

9. Nashville Predators: Unlike the remaining two teams to be ranked, at least Nashville got a point. OK, it was off Florida. And OK, it was via a shootout overtime loss. But one’s better than none (this also doubles as Trotz’s offensive strategy).

10. Thomas Marrone: We applaud the gumption of Thomas Marrone of Murraysville, Penn. After all, we love George Jones and The Possum was known to take a ride on his lawnmower when he was no longer allowed to drive. But cruising on the mower is supposed to come after the DUI, not cause it. Bonus points for drinking Coors Light, straight from the Rockies, just like the Avs.

11. Colorado Avalanche: Kudos for only holding the Ducks to two. Score more than one next time.

12. Minnesota Wild: Don’t lose to Columbus. It’s embarrassing to all of us.

13. Kevin Klein’s Fishing Shorts: Dude.

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