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Power Rankings: Big stories just deadline sideshows

by | CBSSports.com Staff Writer

Updated Feb. 14

The big story of last week could have been the impressive recent surges of both the New Jersey Devils and Los Angeles Kings. New Jersey still needs a miracle to reach the playoffs but has gone 10-1-1 in its past dozen games and is starting to get value from $100 million man Ilya Kovalchuk.

Mike Fisher aka Mr. Underwood, is one of the first notables traded. (Getty Images)  
Mike Fisher aka Mr. Underwood, is one of the first notables traded. (Getty Images)  
Meanwhile, the Kings are on a long road trip and have gone 7-0-2 over the last three weeks, beating some the league's hottest teams along they. And Los Angeles has climbed back into the race for first place in the Pacific Division not to mention a playoff spot in the process.

Still their exploits took a back seat last week because much of the oxygen was devoted to the old-time, every-man-in fights that happened a couple of days apart. The wild game between the Bruins and Canadiens started off the brawling, but things took a farcical turn when the New York Islanders tried to exact a pound of flesh from the Penguins.

And Pittsburgh owner Mario Lemieux didn't help matters by entering into the fray with a rare but attention-grabbing statement.

But what may have mattered most was the unofficial arrival of the trade-deadline frenzy. The actual deadline rarely lives up to the hype, so some teams decided to get the jump. To no one's surprise, Toronto GM Brian Burke got things started by trading veteran defenseman Francois Beauchemin back to Anaheim for forward Joffrey Lupul, college prospect Jake Gardiner and a conditional draft pick.

Nashville made the most notable deal of the week, getting Mike Fisher from Ottawa for a first-round draft pick in a deal the Tennessean newspaper headlined: "Predators trade for Carrie Underwood's husband." But the best move with the best long-run potential may have been made by Chicago, which pried away 22-year-old Michael Frolik, who is still young enough to blossom into a 30-goal type scorer surrounded by the talent in Chicago.

The trade deadline is only two weeks away folks. In the meantime, the rankings through Sunday night's games:


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