Dec 212005
 

Team Canada men’s olympic team has been announced and while different than the one I would have chosen I understand almost all selections made. That is, except for Shane Doan and Kris Draper. It was obvious the team was based significantly on past experience in both the World Cup in 2004 and Olympics in 2002. This philosophy makes sense, except when those players are not playing well and are clearly being outplayed by others.

Kris Draper is having a poor year in Detroit this year. He has just 1 goal and 7 points and has by far the worst +/- on the Red Wings at -6 (next worst is -2). Shane Doan is not having a spectacular season in Phoenix either with just 6 goals, 22 points and the second lowest +/- on the Phoenix at -7. These guys were selected to be defensive players but there are clearly better choices to play this role. Brenden Morrow (10g, 27pts, +9) and Jason Arnott (11g, 27pts, +7) are both solid defensive players and are having much stronger seasons this year. If Brenden Morrow was good enough to be selected to the 2004 World Cup team he certainly was good enough to make this one. The rest of the team I can accept but there is no way Doan and Draper should have made this team.

Dec 212005
 

Here are this weeks NHL Power Rankings. The biggest gainers on the week are the Edmonton Oilers who moved into 12th position from 17th while the biggest fallers are the Vancouver Canucks who fell from 3rd to 7th. Interestingly these two teams will be playing each other tonight as the Oilers hope to continue that momemtum while the Canucks hope to stop it.

Rank Last Week Team Win-Loss Power Rank
1 1 Ottawa 23- 8 15.0
2 2 Dallas 21-10 13.7
3 4 Nashville 21-10 13.0
4 5 Carolina 22-11 12.8
5 6 Buffalo 23-11 12.7
6 8 Los Angeles 21-14 12.1
7 3 Vancouver 20-13 12.1
8 7 Detroit 23-12 11.9
9 10 Calgary 19-14 11.6
10 9 Philadelphia 19-13 11.5
11 11 Montreal 17-15 11.2
12 17 Edmonton 19-15 11.1
13 14 Toronto 17-16 10.9
14 12 Colorado 17-17 10.8
15 13 NY Rangers 20-15 10.5
16 15 Tampa Bay 18-16 10.1
17 16 Phoenix 16-18 9.7
18 18 NY Islanders 16-16 9.7
19 20 San Jose 15-17 9.5
20 21 Anaheim 15-20 9.4
21 19 New Jersey 15-18 9.0
22 23 Minnesota 14-19 8.5
23 22 Chicago 13-19 8.1
24 24 Atlanta 14-20 7.9
25 25 Boston 11-22 7.1
26 27 Florida 12-23 7.1
27 26 Washington 10-21 7.0
28 28 Columbus 9-24 5.8
29 29 Pittsburgh 8-25 5.4
30 30 St. Louis 7-23 5.1
Dec 212005
 

Here are today’s game predictions. I am short on time for an in depth analysis but like Minnesota-Dallas the other day, Chicago-Nashville being a pick-em game is interesting. Nashville is definitely the better team. The other game worth keeping an eye on is Edmonton at Vancouver. This should be a very entertaining game. Finally, the New Jersey-Islanders game could also be provide an upset as the Devils should continue to play better under a new coach.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
NY Islanders New Jersey NY Islanders Good
Columbus Dallas Dallas Strong
Chicago Nashville Pick N/A
Calgary Los Angeles Calgary Some
Vancouver Edmonton Vancouver Some
Anaheim St. Louis Anaheim Strong
Dec 202005
 

Yesterday’s predictions had Dallas-Minnesota as a pick-em game and I commented that it seemed odd considering Dallas seems to be a much better team. But apparently my predicting formula knew something I didn’t as Minnesota did win what was a fairly close 2-1 game.

There are a couple of important divisional games tonight, the most important probably being Tampa at Carolina as both those teams look like they will battle it out for the southeast division title. Carolina is favoured in this game but don’t count out Tampa as I think this game could go either way. The rest of the games you can’t really argue with the predictions too much.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
NY Rangers New Jersey NY Rangers Good
Carolina Tampa Bay Carolina Good
Montreal Ottawa Ottawa Good
Detroit Columbus Detroit Strong
Nashville Colorado Nashville Good
Phoenix St. Louis Phoenix Strong
San Jose Anaheim San Jose Good
Dec 192005
 

Before I get to today’s game predictions let me update everyone on my game prediction success rate. I think I am going to start doing this every monday.

Strong: 70 of 97 predictions correct – 72.2%
Good: 86 of 130 predictions correct – 66.2%
Some: 59 of 106 predictions correct – 55.7%
97 games too close to predict

Those numbers are just the algorithm generated results. With some additional knowledge like injuries and back up goalie use you should be able to improve on them.

Now for today’s games. There are several interesting games being played tonight. The Buffalo Sabres try to continue their hot streak against the Philadelphia Flyers. This game is a pick-em and for good reason but I think Buffalo takes the loss tonight. Toronto and the NY Islanders battle it out for the 8th and final playoff spot in the eastern conference. Toronto currently has a 1 poitn lead. Toronto is listed as the slight favourite and I’d have to agree with that. After some poor play in recent games I think they are going to play with some determination and consistant effort tonight. Surprisingly the Dallas-Minnesota game is listed as a pick-em. You’d think Dallas would be the favourites but maybe the algorithm knows something we don’t. Dallas should win this game. Los Angeles at Vancouver should also be an entertaining game but Vancouver is definitely the better team so they should win easily on home ice. And the most entertaining game of the night is the Battle of Alberts – Calgary at Edmonton. Edmonton is the slight favourites in this game which is also a bit surprising to me. I think Calgary is the better team but with most rivalry games, they are often close and can go either way.

IT should be a good night of hockey. Enjoy.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
Philadelphia Buffalo Pick N/A
Toronto NY Islanders Toronto Some
Minnesota Dallas Pick N/A
Edmonton Calgary Edmonton Some
Vancouver Los Angeles Vancouver Some
Dec 182005
 

I am a little late with these today but better late than never right? The game to watch today is Colorado at the Rangers. Both teams have some skilled players and it should be a close game. In the pick-em game I’ll pick San Jose to win. They have been playing great since the trade for Thornton and I see that continuing for a while.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
NY Rangers Colorado NY Rangers Some
Washington Florida Washington Some
Chicago Dallas Dallas Good
Anaheim San Jose Pick N/A
Dec 172005
 

The entertaining game of the night has to be Toronto at Ottawa. This is a rivalry that few other rivalries can rival. Although Ottawa is listed as a Strong favourite I expect Toronto to have a decent chance in this game. Why? Well, because rivalry games are usually close games. The key for Toronto is Ed Belfour (or Tellqvist if Belfour’s groin isn’t fully healed). Belfour has had a bit of an up and down season this year and if you aren’t on your game against the Senators, they can really run up the score. The key for Ottawa is to have their top forwards step up and produce more offense than they have in the past couple weeks (Alfredsson – 1 goal, 4pts in December, Spezza – 2 points in Dec., Heatley-3g, 6pts in Dec.). The other key for Ottawa is to stay out of the penalty box.

But Ottawa-Toronto isn’t the only game worth watching tonight. Edmonton at Vancouver should be very entertaining and Detroit at Tampa Bay could prove to be fun to watch as well. Finally, the pick-em games are pick-em games for good reason. They all could go either way and I am having a difficult time making a choice who will win. When I can’t choose I generally take the home team so I’ll go with the Islanders over Colorado, Tampa over Detroit and Los Angeles over Phoenix. I don’t forsee any upset happening in the other games although Pittsburgh at Buffalo could be close likes last nights game was and Atlanta has such inconsistant goaltending that Florida could have a chance if they get good goaltending themselves.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
Ottawa Toronto Ottawa Strong
NY Islanders Colorado Pick N/A
Carolina New Jersey Carolina Good
Atlanta Florida Atlanta Some
Buffalo Pittsburgh Buffalo Strong
Tampa Bay Detroit Pick N/A
St. Louis Philadelphia Philadelphia Good
Nashville Columbus Nashville Strong
Minnesota Montreal Montreal Some
Calgary Boston Calgary Strong
Vancouver Edmonton Vancouver Good
Los Angeles Phoenix Pick N/A
Dec 162005
 

Four games on the schedule tonight, but none that I can really say are a must see. There was once a time where Chicago-St. Louis would have been an outstanding geam to watch but St. Louis is horrible this year and Chicago hasn’t been very good for quite a few years. It’s really sad to see how that Chicago franchise has been destroyed over the years. Chicago should be a big hockey city but bad management decisions (like not showing games on local TV) has ruined that.

I guess if you live in the Los Angeles area the Kings-Ducks game is a big game but as an outsider it isn’t of great interest. It should probably prove to be an entertainign game but for those of us in the east we don’t see much of either team so it is pretty much just another game on the schedule. It is the only pick-em game though and I’ll pick the Kings to win. They’ve been struggling recently but I think they are the better team.

BTW, if you would like to play along, feel free to post your game predictions in the comments.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
Pittsburgh Buffalo Buffalo Good
Chicago St. Louis Chicago Some
Anaheim Los Angeles Pick N/A
San Jose Washington San Jose Good
Dec 152005
 

A busy night in the NHL tonight with 9 games on the schedule. Interestingly the home team is the favoured winner in every game except Detroit at Florida and the pick-em game, Vancouver at Philadelphia, which I will predict the road team, Vancouver, will win because of Philadelphia’s injury issues. An upset possibility is Chicago beating Nashville since Nashville will likely still be without top goalie Tomas Vokoun.

But the biggest game of the night is Dallas at Ottawa. This might be the best of the west vs the best of the east. Ottawa still has some injury problems as Spezza and Redden won’t play, but they gain an advantage because Dallas played last night. This should be a fairly close game but because Dallas played last night I think Ottawa should be able to pull out the win in the third period.

Home Team Road Team Predicted Winner Confidence
Philadelphia Vancouver Pick N/A
Carolina Columbus Carolina Strong
Ottawa Dallas Ottawa Good
New Jersey Atlanta New Jersey Good
Florida Detroit Detroit Good
Nashville Chicago Nashville Good
Minnesota Boston Minnesota Some
Edmonton Montreal Edmonton Some
Phoenix Tampa Bay Phoenix Some
Dec 142005
 

Here are this weeks NHL Power Rankings. The Vancouver Canucks are this weeks big movers after securing wins against Ottawa and the Rangers. Vancouver rose from 10th position to 3rd. No other team rose or fell more than 3 spots.

Rank Last Week Team Win-Loss Power Rank
1 1 Ottawa 22- 6 15.0
2 2 Dallas 19- 8 13.9
3 10 Vancouver 19-11 12.2
4 3 Nashville 18-10 12.0
5 4 Carolina 19-11 11.9
6 7 Buffalo 19-11 11.9
7 5 Detroit 21-11 11.8
8 8 Los Angeles 18-13 11.7
9 6 Philadelphia 18-11 11.7
10 13 Calgary 18-13 11.6
11 9 Montreal 16-13 11.4
12 11 Colorado 16-15 11.1
13 12 NY Rangers 20-13 10.8
14 14 Toronto 16-15 10.7
15 18 Tampa Bay 17-13 10.6
16 16 Phoenix 16-15 10.5
17 15 Edmonton 16-15 10.3
18 17 NY Islanders 15-15 9.7
19 19 New Jersey 14-16 9.3
20 21 San Jose 13-16 9.3
21 20 Anaheim 13-18 9.3
22 24 Chicago 12-17 8.2
23 23 Minnesota 12-18 8.1
24 26 Atlanta 12-20 7.7
25 22 Boston 10-21 7.4
26 25 Washington 9-19 7.4
27 27 Florida 10-22 7.0
28 29 Columbus 9-21 6.4
29 28 Pittsburgh 8-23 5.8
30 30 St. Louis 6-21 5.4