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LinkSpeak: Central Division Power Ratings: The Scents of Autumn

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I don’t like power rankings. They are more arbitrary and less valuable than a JC Penney necktie. Despite my aversion there is something appealing about blandly ranking NHL teams on a regular basis and pretending that it means something. I stole chocolate from the gods and peanut butter from the hallowed walls of science itself, mashing them together into the Central Division Power Ratings.

Tom Pennington/Getty Images

Little has changed in the past few weeks for the Central Division as the teams in the cream that is the NHL’s Oreo continue to be considered the finest NHL teams in all of the Americas. Though the simple presence of the Central Division improves the very environment around us, there are a couple stinkers in the vast wastelands of Colorado that defy the elegance of division. Today we’ll discuss who is fresh and who is fetid.

These are the Central Division Power Ratings: Scented Autumn Candles Edition. Autumn is my favorite time of year by far. Hockey is in full swing, people stop insisting that spending time standing in 99 degree weather is fun, and the light scents and flavors of Spring and Summer give way to the richness and depth of the colder months. What better way is there to express the change in seasons and magic of a slowly dying world than through scented candles. For today’s Central Division Power Ratings I will be specifically referencing scents from Target’s line of Nature's Wick candles.

  1. Bonfire Nights: Bonfire Nights has a rich, spicy scent that screams Autumn in every way. While the candle smells more like raw wood soaked in some perfumes and then set on fire, it combines into something surprisingly pleasant. What elevates this scent above all the others is the staying power. The scent rarely gets cloying and remains pleasant year-round. I often buy an extra or two near the end of winter so that when July rolls around I can hide indoors and pretend it’s still winter.

    1. Dallas Stars: They are number one in the division, but they earn this spot for the one big thing they have in common with Bonfire Nights, staying power. The Stars are fun to watch, win or lose. What the Stars lack in defense then more than make up with in terms of adequate goaltending and truly world class forwards. It's hard not to be fun to watch when your team leads the league in goal scoring, while also being middle of the pack in goals against. It’s a fun combination.

  2. Pumpkin Nutmeg: Code for pumpkin spice, this is the flavor that rules the Fall. Love it or hate it, the blend of pumpkin pie spices that make pumpkin pie are hugely popular. By emphasizing nutmeg over other spices, one gets the essence of pumpkin spice without the overpowering sweetness that comes with a Starbuck’s latte. What limits the candle is that the ubiquitous of pumpkin spice leads to burnout. At some point enough is enough and you have to move on.

    1. St Louis Blues: The Blues certainly have staying power. Given injuries, odd goaltending decisions, and suspect player deployment they are still right near the top of the Central Division. A 5-4-1 record in their last ten is respectable, but maybe a little worrisome with Nashville only thress points down, with two games in hand. Ultimately, we will all grow tired of the Blues as they again manage to disappoint everyone except me since I deeply fear the team every winning a Stanley Cup.

    2. Nashville Predators: The Predators have achieved staying power through a bit of a seesaw effect. Sometimes they can’t score at all, others they score seven goals as if that’s something that happens all the time in the NHL. Either way, the Predators find themselves with a very balanced 6-4-3 over their last 13 games. If they can establish more consistency than they could elevate themselves to Bonfire Nights level, especially since they’ve played fewer games to date than any other team in the Central.

  3. Holiday Wreath: Do you like pine? Do you like shoving your face into pine trees? Do you like the idea of someone who once saw a pine tree going into a lab and blending something that smells like someone liquified a pine forest and sprayed it straight in your face like so many Macy’s cosmetic department associates? If you answered yes to either of the first two questions then the Holiday Wreath scent will probably be a fine, if not temporarily enjoyable candle scent. If you answered yes to the third question then you’re probably a Minnesota Wild fan.

    1. Minnesota Wild: They are tied for third in the division? When you actually take time to realize that they’re a hockey team you notice how they are making a habit of very quietly being decent at the sport. Though their recent record isn’t much different than the Predators’, their goal scoring and defense have been bland and all but breakeven. They’re good enough to get the job done, and if that doesn’t describe pine-based scents then I don’t know what else would.

  4. Christmas Time: I honestly don’t know what this is. It smells like everything that is wrong with Christmas and the holiday season in general. This is the candle you burn at the point in a party when you want everyone to leave, but you’re too passive aggressive to actually end the party. This candle is the scent of Santa’s elf morgue in the basement of his North Pole toy factory.

    1. Chicago: If it weren’t for Patrick Kane this team might not exist anymore, or at least revert to a state akin to the 2004-2005 Chicago team. The price of success in the NHL is watch as your team slowly bleeds quality depth players until your fair weather fans disappear and deprive your organization of the funds needed to restock the shelves. Ultimately Chicago isn’t as poor as they’ve shown, but the rest of the Central may be just that good. Also, Chicago’s goal song is the sonic equivalent to the Christmas Time candle scent. The second you hear Chelsea Dagger you just want to leave and never, ever comeback.

    2. Winnipeg Jets: What goes better with faux-Christmas Cheer than faux-military branding and portraits of Queen Elizabeth II? The Jets have a lot of the right pieces to be successful (except goaltending). They lack depth and a layer of subtlety that teams need to find true success in the NHL. They also can’t seem to score enough goals, and that’s the real problem. The Jets will just bum you out. They are the personification of the Christmas Time candle because you invite the Jets to a party in hopes that no one else will want to come and you can cancel the stupid thing and binge watch Jessica Jones instead.

  5. Fallen Leaves: You may be wondering how something could possibly be worse than Christmas Time scented candles, let me address it directly: The Autumn has long been defined by the turning of the leaves. From the rich reds, oranges, and yellows blended together on the branches down to the vibrant carpet of fiery hues that coat the browning grasses, Autumn is a beautiful time of year. One would hope that a fallen leaves scent would capture the contradictory energy of the passing leaves with the subtle changes in the scents of the cool air, but instead we’re subjected to something more sinister. Deception. The Fallen Leaves candle is nothing but lies trapped in wax, freed by flame to offend the nostrils through sickening scents of sugary spice layered over a hint of a woodsy smell that makes burning down a rainforest seem like a decent idea.

    1. Colorado Avalanche: Who else? This team is a disaster. We all knew they would be a disaster. Edmonton and Columbus are ranked lower than the Avalanche, but they can passably use the excuse of runs of notable bad luck. The Avs are just broken. Their defense is bad, their depth is bad, and Roy and Sakic seem to be actively looking to ruin the careers of exciting and promising young talents. Colorado should be a fun team, but instead they’ve been turned into some dark and forlorn. The league and Avalanche fans deserve so much better.