Thursday Thirteen: Opportunity Equinox

by J.R.

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

This week, spring’s springing and it’s all jumping off.

1. St. Louis Blues: With the loss last night to Chicago, St. Louis wears the Crown of Fecal Matter and won’t be engaging in a 70-someodd day run with the Belt (at least not now). Still, the Blues are something like 22-1-2 against Conference III, so it’s hard to take them from this spot.

2. Chicago Blackhawks: The new wearers of the strap ended a nearly-three-month drought without a Conference III win by beating the Blues and that’s just dang absurd.

3. Otters: Listen, otters look cute with their fuzzy faces and the little funny things they do with their hands. You might think them the anti-raccoons and thus worthy of Conference III scorn. Hold up with that silliness because otters are out there tearing up fast-food restaurants and eating alligators.

4. Colorado Avalanche: Did you know Colorado is third in the league in regulation and overtime wins? Neat! Also, did you know Colorado has never won The Belt? They’ll get a chance Tuesday if Nashville beats Chicago Sunday, but so long as the Blackhawks have it, the Avs have no chance with the season series complete.

5. Caenagnathidae: This dinosaur’s name means “recent jaw,” which is not terrifying. Scientists, however, call it “the chicken from hell,” which is a far piece scarier:

Named Anzu wyliei (Anzu after a bird-demon from Mesopotamian myth and wyliei after Wylie, the grandson of a Carnegie museum trustee), the new species was put together from three separate skeletons found in North and South Dakota, forming almost one entire skeleton. The resultant dinosaur measures 3.5 metres from nose to tail-tip, weighing in at 225 kilograms, with sharp claws and a feathered body — resembling, according to the researchers, led by Dr Matthew Lamanna of Carnegie Museum of Natural History in Pittsburgh, a “chicken from hell”.

6. Minnesota Wild: Minnesota at 13-16-5 has the worst road record in Conference III and the Fightin’ Adjectives have virtually no chance of getting home ice in the playoffs.

7. B.F. Skinner: Born this day in 1904, Skinner was the father of radical behavioralism, a theory that is still debated profusely today. But B.F. makes our list for another reason: he developed pigeon-guided missiles.

8. Dallas Stars: The Stars are lurking back there, just two points out of the playoffs and with games-in-hand against everyone in the West.

9. Dave Strader and Brian Engblom: Last night, the crew of Doc Emrick, Eddie Olczyk and Pierre McGuire were calling the Blues-Hawks game for NBCSN. When Patrick Kane — a big star, an American and so on — went down with an injury and struggled off the ice, none of the three noticed it (or if they did, they didn’t mention it). This is made even more amazing with Edzo in the booth, because that guy usually injects any bit of Hawks homerism he can find into his commentary, unless he is in the midst of a six-minute diversion about the prospects of the lone filly running in the fourth race at Arlington Park. This incident reinforces that Dave Strader and Brian Engblom should be obligated to call all Conference III games broadcast nationally. That’s probably too tough an ask for NBCSN, but at the very least — and certainly during this part of the schedule — why doesn’t the NHL’s TV partner run doubleheaders on Wednesday?

10. Winnipeg Jets: The Jets could pass Vancouver in the standings. Let’s think about that for a moment.

11. Emil on Wheel of Fortune: I smell a work.

Wheel is a second-rate game show anyway, in my opinion.

12. Nashville Predators: Last road trip, Nashville scored 11 goals in three games. So far on this one, the Preds have scored but once.

13.  Bullies: Winnipeg — get your people to act right, c’mon.