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NHL Rankings...By Jerry Butler

For March 10, 2003

1-Ottawa The Senators are not the same team defensively when towering defenseman Zdeno Chara is not in the lineup.

2-Dallas The Stars need goalie Marty Turco and winger Bill Guerin healthy and back in the lineup to have a legitimate shot at the Cup.

3-Vancouver Veteran Peter Skudra has been very shaky between the pipes since taking over for injured Dan Cloutier.

4-New Jersey Leading scorer Jamie Langenbrunner has had a very strong season for the Devils.

5-Detroit Nicklas Lidstrom is the odds on favorite for another Norris trophy award.

6-Colorado Here.s a stat for the ages; the Avalanche have a record of 108 wins, 16 losses and 18 ties in the last 142 games that Peter Forsberg has scored a goal.

7-St. Louis Rookie goalie Curtis Sanford gave the Blues a huge boost with 4 straight wins before running into a buzz saw in Detroit.

8-Philadelphia GM Bobby Clarke is going to have to add some offense before the trade deadline or it will be another early Playoff exit for the Flyers.

9-Toronto The additions of power forward Owen Nolan and defenseman Glen Wesley makes the Leafs a much better team.

10-Minnesota Goaltender Dwayne Roloson has been the Wild.s best player this season.

11-Tampa Bay Vinny Prospal has finally developed into the kind of player that everybody thought he could be when he came up with the Flyers in the mid 90.s.

12-Anaheim With just 3 points in 68 games and a minus 24 plus-minus rating, defenseman Kurt Sauer has not had a very promising rookie season for the Ducks.

13-Washington Coach Bruce Cassidy has been less than pleased with the defensive play of Robert Lang.

14-Nashville The loss of leading scorer David Legwand to a regular season ending collarbone injury couldn.t have come at a worse time for the hard charging Predators.

15-Edmonton With only 1 goal in 14 games, speedy forward Mike Comrie has not been the same player since returning from the injured list.

16-Boston The Bruins will only go as far as the offense of Glen Murray and Joe Thornton take them.

17-NY Rangers Journeyman defenseman Cory Cross has been playing rock solid defense for the .on a roll. Rangers.

18-NY Islanders Underachieving Brad Isbister is rumored to be getting a one way ticket out of town.

19-Phoenix Brian Savage is another one of the Coyotes key vets who has been taking money under false pretenses.

20-Los Angeles Imagine where the Kings would be in the standings if star forwards Adam Deadmarsh and Jason Allison hadn.t missed 90games between them.

21-Calgary Rugged Bob Boughner and Dennis Gauthier don.t provide a lot of offense but they have been the Flames most reliable defenseman this season.

22- Chicago It is hard to consider yourself a Playoff team when you are last in the League on the power play and third from last on the penalty kill.

23-Florida The power struggle between GM Rick Dudley and Coach Mike Keenan is really starting to get interesting.

24-Montreal In Donald Audette, Bill Lindsay, Joe Juneau and Marius Czerkawski the Canadiens have as much overpaid dead wood as any team in the NHL.

25-Columbus Highly touted Rick Nash has had a lot of problems in the defensive end of the ice.

26-San Jose Winger Marco Sturm has quietly been the Sharks best offensive player this season.

27-Buffalo Young Mika Norenen is starting to show that he has the kind of talent to be the number one goalie for the Sabres.

28-Atlanta With Heatley, Kovalchuk, Kozlov and Savard the Thrashers have a very strong offensive foundation but if they are going to continue their improvement they will definitely have to upgrade their talent level on the blueline.

29-Carolina Back to back shutout wins over the Wild and the Penguins show just how valuable goalie Kevin Weekes is to this team.

30-Pittsburgh There appears to be a lot of interest in talented forward Martin Straka but the Penguins insist they are not looking to move him.

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