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Respect Ranking: Special Edition!

Do I owe Sean Roarke an apology? Just hours after taking him to task for his revisionist history, I stumble across his NHL Mid-Term Grades. Roarke's first grouping - "Head of the Class" (a tribute, no doubt, to Howard Hesseman) - contains the usual suspects: the Ducks, Sabres, Predators, Sharks and... the Capitals?! Sure enough. Quoth Roarke:
Yes, they have just 45 points; but that is still an impressive showing for a team that was left for dead by many before the season ever started. If the season ended Tuesday, the Capitals would make the playoffs for the first time since 2001 and that should be an accomplishment in anybody's book. Plus, they are one of the most entertaining teams to watch in the League today.
I know this is based largely upon dire preseason expectations, but it is still impressively high-praise. One wonders, however, how Roarke will remember this seven months from now...

UPDATE: More grades, these from Professor Cazeneuve at SI.com.