1. DETROIT (2 last week): 9-1-2 start was best in team's 71 years.
2. COLORADO (1): Patrick Roy moved into seventh place on the all-time wins list for goalies. If he finishes with four more victories than Grant Fuhr this season, and five more than Andy Moog, he'll be fourth all-time.
3. DALLAS (3): Stars are 1-0-1 versus Avalanche this season.
4. WASHINGTON (5): Caps will retire Rod Langway's jersey in final game at USAir Arena on Nov. 16.
5. NEW JERSEY (6): Devils starting to scare, and Andreychuk and Thomas, both out with injuries, are close to returning.
6. PHILADELPHIA (4): Paul Coffey had two points in first 13 games.
7. MONTREAL (8): Started 6-4-2 but was 1-2 against teams that missed playoffs last season.
8. N.Y. RANGERS (9): A stat that must be repeated: Gretzky has more assists than any player in NHL has points. And, oh, he is also the leading goal-scorer in NHL history. Mind-boggling.
9. OTTAWA (11): Remember when people used to compare Lightning and Senators, then laugh at the Senators?
10. ST. LOUIS (14): 10-2-2 start was best in the team's 31 years.
11. PHOENIX (10): Coyotes howl late at night: They lead league in third-period goals.
12. ANAHEIM (13): Paul Kariya and Ducks are barely speaking these days.
13. PITTSBURGH (15): Longest road trip in team history ends with 5-2-1 record.
14. EDMONTON (12): Much-anticipated sophomore season has turned ugly for Mike Grier. No goals in the first month.
15. VANCOUVER (7): Think Messier wishes he could rewind clock to August?
16. BOSTON (17): GM Harry Sinden announced '97 No.
1 draft pick Joe Thornton will not be sent back to juniors.
17. BUFFALO (16): Who would've thought a team with Dominik Hasek would be ranked next to last in goals-against average?
18. N.Y. ISLANDERS (19): After years of hearing their team taunted at Madison Square Garden, Isle fans chant "Messier, Messier, Messier" to Rangers GM Neil Smith.
19. FLORIDA (18): In the past, these cats were boring but successful. Now they're only boring.
20. LOS ANGELES (21): Construction has begun on new building. Expected opening: fall 1999.
21. CHICAGO (22): No.
1 goalie Jeff Hackett is not expected back soon after spraining an ankle.
22. TORONTO (23): GM Ken Dryden says Mike Murphy's coaching job is not in jeopardy.
23. CAROLINA (24): Hot rumor: Jacques Demers will replace Paul Maurice behind the bench.
24. SAN JOSE (25): Sharks are 0-12 during regular season at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit.
25. CALGARY (26): This would be the worst team in the NHL if not for 26. TAMPA BAY (20): Yes, folks, this is the worst team in the NHL.
_ TOM JONES