Rising Red Wings land at No. 1

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Get those Motor City references warmed up. We have a new team at the top of our latest Power Rankings. It's certainly one that's familiar with being No. 1. The Detroit Red Wings, what a story they are, when you think about it. Really, they've been excellent for nearly 20 straight years, and they're a lock to get 100 points for an incredible 12th straight season -- which would extend their own NHL record. There are some skeptics who doubt these Wings are any better than the team that has bowed out in the second round of the playoffs against San Jose the last two years. For now, Detroit is the best in the league again. We'll see what happens this spring. NOTE: Due to the All-Star break, Power Rankings will return on Tues. Feb. 7.

A DISCLAIMER (of sorts): These rankings are based not just on each team's record, but an empirically tested formula that includes a) realistic near-term future expectations; b) consensus talent level and payroll considerations and; c) whatever the Magic 8-Ball I've had since I was seven years old tells me will happen. One more thing: Rest assured that I don't have it in for your team. OK, so I once hated the Philadelphia Flyers with a passion bordering on the psychotic, but that was 30-something years ago and Dave Schultz has long since retired. I welcome your emails to the link attached to my name above, and I always respond -- even to the ones that start with "Dear Idiot."

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