Friday, April 27, 2012
1) Wow, what an exciting conclusion to the first round last night that saw 2 game 7's with one going to double OT before the NJ Devils advanced along with the NY Rangers earlier in the evening. That concludes the first round. A surprise for sure, especially in the East where we saw the 2nd, 3rd and 4th (and almost the 1st) seeds bite the dust. WE were 50:50 as far as our predictions were concerned. WE saw the Bruins and Penguins winning. Only the Caps winning was a shocker to us as we felt the Philly-Pens series was pretty evenly matched. The Bruins never seemed able to get on track and didn't exploit what appeared to be a very beatable Washington team (despite Holtby's heroics)
2) In the West we were also 50:50 but we weren't shocked at the Kings upset of the Canucks. We saw that series going 7 if Vancouver was going to win. It was surprising how rather easily the Kings beat them. The surprise for us in the other series is how Mike Smith continues to play better than we expect. He's not the sieve he was the past few seasons in Tampa bay. He's looked down right amazing. We're still not fans, but give him full credit for propelling the desert dogs into round 2 for the first time. Clearly the Black hawks need to do something about their goaltending. Only the Flyers in round 1 were able to win despite getting crappy/mediocre goaltending.
3) On to round 2:
First the East:
NY Rangers (1) vs- Washington Capitals(7): Third meeting in 4 playoff seasons. Caps have won the last 2 but we don't that to continue. They won't roll over, but these Rangers have something past teams lacked, character. WE don't see this squad falling to the upstart Capitals. Yes, all the games will be close but the rangers will prevail this time.
Rangers in 6
Philadelphia Flyers(5)-vs- NJ Devils: Won't quite be the war the penguins gave the Flyers but will be a battle nonetheless. The key will be in net ofcourse. The Devils will need Marty to play like Marty of 5+ years ago and steal games as the Flyers offense is much more potent than what the Devs saw in Florida. Can Brygalov play the way he's paid? If he plays the way he did in the first round the Flyers will be in trouble, but if he plays even decently, the Devils will have trouble keeping pace with the Broad street Bullies.
Flyers in 6
Next the West:
(2) St Louis Blues-vs- (8)Los Angeles Kings: This series, like the other West series will feature stifling defense and great goaltending if the teams' regular seasons are any indication. Both teams allowed the fewest goals in the first round of the playoffs with only eight against apiece in five games. There certainly won't be any blow outs and probably a couple of OT, but we feel the Blues have a slight edge overall and will advance.
Blues in 6
(3) Phoenix Coyotes-VS- Nashville Predators: The upstart Yotes are where few expected them before the season. Count us among the non believers who have been impressed with the job Tippett has done with this bunch. Mike Smith as we mentioned earlier deserves considerable credit as well. That said, we don't believe that they will be much of a hindrance for the Predators destiny to be in the Finals.
Predators in 5
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
1) With their playoff seasons cut prematurely two of the teams many expected to compte for the Cup are back to the drawing boards. Both have significant decisions to make this off season. For the Penguins its especially tough. If they could count on Sidney Crosby being 100% and playing a majority of their games we are told they would entertain trade offers on Evgeni Malkin whom management is not all that happy with. Sources in steel town tell Fauxrumors that they would have been happy to have gone into the 2012-13 season with Crosby and Staal as their 1-2 centers.
2) With moving Malking they not only could potentially receive back several decent assets, they also would be dumping a considerable salary (8.7 mil). Malkin's No Movement Clause (NMC) doesn't kick in until after next season (his UFA season) so in theory the Pens can deal the Russian center anywhere/anytime they wanted. They could have bolstered their weakness on the wings, especially the right side. In addition they would have loved to be able to add another mobile defender to take some pressure off Letang. However all this is up in the air with the Crosby uncertainty. Our sources tell us its still not off the table (trade of Malkin) but instead of it being a 60:40 proposition its now 70:30 against a deal getting done, unless Shero is blown away with an offer. A Malkin for Anaheim's Bobby Ryan and another asset, possibly a pick or two is something Shero will have to consider as the Ducks would be all over such a deal. A dilemma indeed for the Flightless Birds as they enter their longest of season in many years
3) Mean while in the Pacific North West the Two-time Presidents Trophy winning Vancouver Cauucks, coming off a humiliating first round defeat at the hands of the 8th seeded Kings may be looking towards some significant changes. Their dilemma is not whether they want to make a deal, but who will 'dance' with them, and what can they expect to get in return is a deal is consummated? After Cory Hirsch replaced embattled All star goalie Roberto Luongo mid way through the series it all but sealed his fate as the odd man out in Vancouver. Luongo has a very long term deal that has a cap hit of 5.33 mil for the next 10 seasons (but the deal's last 3 seasons are tack on seasons to reduce the cap hit)
that it would be a mistake for any team to acquire that long contract. Luongo has proven by his past playoff disappointments that he is NOT a solid go-to guy and certainly not worthy of a long term investment. That said, we have no doubt that some foolish GM will decide that his regular season stats will be enough to get his team to whatever "next level" they need to achieve. Whether its a playoff appearance in Columbus or a Cup in Tampa. Teams in need of a goalie will probably be blinded by is stats, overlooking that he collapses and shits the bed when his team needs him mostt. From what we have learned the Blue Jackets are the most likely destination for Roberto. Its probably the best fit for him as the expectations there are not high and if they fail, it won't be the same kind of response in the media from let's say Toronto(another team in search of a real #1 goalie. We believe that even Brian Burke is not stupid enough to try to trade for Luongo, but Scott Howson in Columbus clearly is! A dilemma for the Bluejacket owners!!
Wednesday, April 18, 2012
Monday, April 16, 2012
Thursday, April 12, 2012
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
the first-overall selection for the third year in a row. The Oilers had the
second-worst record in the NHL and only an 18.8 percent chance to come out on
top in the lottery. The Blue Jackets who had more than a 44% to get the top pick were screwed over just as they are about to bid adieu to the captain Rick Nash. A top overall pick would have been a nice salve to give their suffering fans (in addition to the likely high pick(s) they should get for the likely Nash trade. They will have to 'settle' for picking 2nd, in a what most scouts are calling a very impressively deep draft
2) Only one other NHL team - the Quebec Nordiques from 1989 to 1991 - ever had three No. 1 overall picks in a row. Even though they never won there, the Nords then Avalanche used those picks to assemble quite a bit of talent to make them a power house squad for a decade. With the last two first-overall selections, the Oilers took winger Taylor Hall and centre Ryan Nugent-Hopkins. The NHL draft is scheduled for June 22-23 in Pittsburgh, where Nail Yakupov
of the OHL's Sarnia Sting is expected by many to be taken No. 1 overall. Undoubtedly there will be much intrigue surrounding the Oilers pick. Many will surmise that perhaps in an effort to speed along their rebuild they will be open to trading the pick, or at the very least move down. Whatever they decide unless they pull a series of Milbury-type dumb trades, the Oilers should be a perennial contender within the next 2-3 years.
1) The NHL will conduct its Draft Lottery today, Tuesday, April 10th. The lottery will take place in-studio with NHL deputy-commissioner Bill Daly revealing the results live on-air. This will be the 5th time the draft lottery will been aired live on television since the 'Crosby Draft' of 2005, and for only the 6th time in 16 years. The 2012 Scotiabank NHL Draft Lottery, live at 8pm The lottery will also be simulcast live on the TSN.ca, NHL Network, NHL.com.
2) The bottom 14 (non-playoff) teams in the NHL will be eligible for the lottery, where odds are weighted by least amount of regular season points. The winning lottery team can move up no more than four spots in the draft and no team can move back more than one. Tonight's lottery will feature representatives from each of the five teams eligible to win the first overall pick:
- Columbus Blue Jackets Executive Vice-President of Hockey Operations and GM Scott Howson
- Edmonton Oilers GM Steve Tambellini
- Montreal Canadiens Assistant GM Larry Carriere
- New York Islanders Director of Pro Scouting Ken Morrow
- Toronto Maple Leafs President and GM Brian Burke
3) Here's the breakdown: •The five lowest-finishing teams that have a crack at the No. 1 pick: The 30th place team has a 25% chance of winning the drawing, followed by 18.8% for the 29th place team, 14.2% for 28th, 10.7% for 27th and 8.1% for 26th. •The other nine non-play-off teams also have a diminishing chance of winning the lottery, but if they win they just move up four positions in the draft. For example, the 25th place team has a 6.2% chance of winning and would shift to the No. 2 spot in the draft. And, if a 25th to 17th place team wins the lottery, the first overall pick remains with the 30th place team. That's why, when all the math is done, finishing last provides a team with a 48.2% chance of picking first.
4) Here's are a few odd facts:
•In 15 draft lotteries since its inception in 1995, the team finishing 30th has been rewarded with the first pick just five times.
•The team finishing in third-last has been promoted to the first pick four times, even though the odds of that happening are just 14.2%.
•The second to worst finisher has NEVER won the draft lottery! Not only has the second-worst team never won the draft lottery in 16 attempts, but on four occasions it is has been pushed back one drafting spot when the third-worst team won the lottery. If we were betting folks we'd say that this will be the year the second suckiest team wins the lottery.
5) Of course we will renew our objection to the whole lottery process. Our position, though radical and controversial, would eliminate all possible doubt, and no longer reward failure/incompetence. That is do what was done in the 'Crosby sweepstakes' (2005 draft). Have ALL teams' draft order determined equally by a lottery. It would be a great/exciting show, like then, to have every team a chance at the 1st pick, and it eliminates once and for all any chance that teams would be disincentivized from playing their best/best players at all times!
6) It forces GM's/teams to improve by making good decisions, not by tanking a season or two to rebuild and getting good picks. It eliminates ANY notion that teams aren't playing their best each and every night. Also, and as importantly, it stops once and for all the idiotic notion of reward for failure. While we're a it stop the 'loser point' in games. You lose, you get zero points for your effort!
Sunday, April 8, 2012
2) Now on with the playoffs. Of course we and/or FR2 will break down each series and make our predictions on who will win and how many games it will require. We have had decent success in the past so be sure to check in on that before the drop of the puck Wednesday!!
As always, keep it here for all the latest!
Saturday, April 7, 2012
Chicago vs Detroit: Redwings
New Jersey vs Ottawa: Devils
Thursday, April 5, 2012
Sunday, April 1, 2012
2) Anyway we are looking forward to the last week of the season. FR2 states that he may produce a late season Power rankings. other posts are also in the works.
As always keep it here for all the latest!