Nov 102006
 

We have 7 games on the schedult tonight with several worth keeping an eye on. The Ottawa Senators look to break their 5 game losing streak against a significantly improved Pittsburgh team. This is going to be a big challenge for the Senators as the Penguins have the offensive punch to kill weak goaltending or poordefensive plays, both of which have troubled the Senators the past few games. Another game worth watching is Anaheim at Calgary. Calgary has been looking a bit better recently and are coming off a pair of wins against St. Louis and Dallas. A win over Anaheim would be a huge boost in confidence for the Flames and would be a good indication that they have their season back on track. With the Ducks having played last night I definitely see this game as being ripe for an upset.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Columbus 151 Edmonton -208 Edmonton Strong
Pittsburgh -163 Ottawa 138 Pittsburgh Good
Atlanta -171 NY Rangers 141 Atlanta Good
Detroit -160 Nashville 137 Detroit Good
Buffalo -176 Florida 143 Buffalo Strong
Chicago -127 St. Louis 121 Chicago Some
Calgary 102 Anaheim -102 Anaheim Some
Nov 102006
 

Being possibly the biggest Nik Antropov supporter I was happy to seehim have a big game vs. Boston tonight. In Toronto’s 6-4 win, Antropov had 2 goals and an assist and was a +4. He has generally been pretty good since returning from injury although he was given very limited ice time until tonights game where he got almost 16 minutes. His linemate Ponikarovsky had a goal and 2 assists and was also a +4. No one else on the team was better than a +2. These two guys just seem to work real well together and I really hope the Maurice will keep them together. I think Antropov has shown that he deserves more ice time. And I also hope that Leaf fans will soon realize that Antropov is actually a pretty useful player.

Nov 092006
 

Not a lot of real intriguing games tonight. I can’t really get too excited about New Jersey-Chicago, St. Louis-Columbus or Dallas-Phoenix. My gut tells me that the Flyers will break out with a win against the Islanders tonight. Carlolina-Washington would be a good game to watch as should Vancouver-Anaheim but neither I would call must see games unless you are a fan of one of the teams.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Boston -117 Toronto 115 Boston Some
Philadelphia 139 NY Islanders -166 NY Islanders Good
Carolina -126 Washington 120 Carolina Some
New Jersey -195 Chicago 148 New Jersey Good
St. Louis -137 Columbus 127 St. Louis Some
Phoenix 140 Dallas -167 Dallas Strong
Vancouver 100 Anaheim -100 Anaheim Some
Los Angeles 141 San Jose -172 San Jose Strong
Nov 082006
 

You may have noticed the new search bar at the top-right of this page. That search bar is set up to do a google search on all hockey/NHL fan blogs and you might find it a useful tool to keep up to speed on what your fellow hockey fan is writing or has written about. Right now it searches 99 different blogs covering most teams and I have generally stuck to fan blogs and stayed away from the mainstream media blogs. You can also access the blog search from this page.

Nov 082006
 

The game to watch tonight will be the Ottawa at Atlanta game. This is the second game of a four game road trip that the Senators hoped would be the turning point in their so far dissapointing season. But Atlanta will be a huge challenge for Ottawa as the Thrashers are probably the second best team in the east right now (behind Buffalo). A loss where the Sens look lethargic again could push Muckler over the edge forcing him to pull the trigger on a trade or two as the GM meetings wrap up.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Atlanta -184 Ottawa 145 Atlanta Strong
Pittsburgh -154 Tampa Bay 135 Pittsburgh Good
Florida -126 NY Rangers 121 Florida Some
Detroit -196 Edmonton 149 Detroit Strong
Nov 072006
 

Here are the November 7th, 2006 power rankings. Teams moving up significantly in the standings include Buffalo (6 to 2), Nashville (18 to 10), NY Islanders (20 to 16), Toronto (22 to 17), Boston (25 to 19), and NY Rangers (27 to 21). Those falling in the standings include Anaheim (1 to 6), Vancouver ( 7 to 14), Colorado (9 to 15), Washington (12 to 18), Ottawa (17 to 22), Los Angeles (19 to 24), Chicago (16 to 27) and Columbus (24 to 28). As you can see there is still a lot of fluctation in the rankings but we should start to see things stabalize more now. More of the eastern conference teams moved up and the western conference teams fell as the east generally did well against the west the past week. This is good because it was a little unbalanced the last couple of weeks.

Rank Last Week Team AdjWinP SchedStr Power Rank
1 2 Minnesota 0.654 0.541 0.759
2 6 Buffalo 0.750 0.488 0.723
3 5 San Jose 0.667 0.516 0.713
4 4 Dallas 0.808 0.482 0.707
5 3 Detroit 0.679 0.504 0.690
6 1 Anaheim 0.750 0.498 0.689
7 8 Edmonton 0.538 0.522 0.598
8 10 Montreal 0.615 0.480 0.579
9 11 Atlanta 0.625 0.464 0.557
10 18 Nashville 0.615 0.489 0.549
11 13 Carolina 0.500 0.499 0.532
12 14 Pittsburgh 0.636 0.465 0.529
13 15 New Jersey 0.538 0.479 0.526
14 7 Vancouver 0.467 0.533 0.525
15 9 Colorado 0.500 0.519 0.514
16 20 NY Islanders 0.423 0.528 0.489
17 22 Toronto 0.531 0.474 0.481
18 12 Washington 0.500 0.485 0.473
19 25 Boston 0.455 0.494 0.457
20 23 Florida 0.467 0.481 0.453
21 27 NY Rangers 0.429 0.500 0.450
22 17 Ottawa 0.375 0.522 0.434
23 21 Tampa Bay 0.393 0.484 0.377
24 19 Los Angeles 0.281 0.565 0.368
25 28 St. Louis 0.308 0.521 0.337
26 26 Calgary 0.346 0.489 0.330
27 16 Chicago 0.308 0.504 0.319
28 24 Columbus 0.292 0.513 0.301
29 29 Phoenix 0.286 0.512 0.298
30 30 Philadelphia 0.231 0.492 0.240

AdjWinP is a teams winning percentage when shootouts are considered ties and there are no points awarded for overtime losses
SchedStr is an indication of a teams relative difficulty of schedule
Power Rank is the teams expected winning percentage if team played all .500 teams

Nov 072006
 

Here are the game predictions for tonights games. Most games should have some solid entertainment value but the San Jose-Minnesota game will probably be the best. Montreal-Edmonton should be good too despite being an inter-conference game which means a little less in the standings.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
New Jersey -110 Carolina 109 New Jersey Some
Montreal -109 Edmonton 108 Edmonton Some
Colorado -180 Los Angeles 144 Colorado Good
Calgary 114 Dallas -117 Dallas Some
San Jose -108 Minnesota 107 Minnesota Some
Nov 062006
 

The number 4 seems to be a big number for the Ottawa Senators these days.

-It was 4 minutes in penalties to #4 Chris Phillips that allowed Carolina to steal the win on Saturday
-It was another penalty to #4 Phillips that gave the Capitals the chance to send the game into overtime tonight.
-It was the Capitals 4th goal of the game and Chris Clark’s 4th goal of the season that gave them the overtime win.
-It was Ottawa’s 4th loss in a row.

But it goes beyond that. The Senators can hardly ever win when they score fewer than 4 goals and they can hardly lose when they score 4 or more goals. When scoring 4 or more goals the Senators were an outstanding 46-0-2 last season. When scoring 3 or fewer goals they were a lowsy 6-21-7. In the playoffs they were 3-1 when scoring 4+ goals and 2-4 when scoring 3 or fewer goals. This year they are 4-0 when scoring 4 or more goals and 1-7-1 when scoring 3 or fewer goals (the win being a shootout win).

It seems really strange that the Senators can’t win when they don’t score 4 or more goals. It is strange because this team should be able to do well in low scoring games. They have a good defense and have generally had pretty solid goaltending last year and this year. But something just isn’t right with this Senators team and hasn’t been for a long time. The Ottawa Senators just cannot win the close, hard fought games. They can be easily frustrated by good goaltending and don’t seem to have the leadership and work ethic to fight for every point. It’s generally hasn’t cost them in the regular season until now but it has cost them in several playoffs over the past decade. Most of the players have changed but the result has remained the same. The Senators just can’t get it done.

A few weeks ago (just prior to their 3 game 21 goal outburst) I had a theory that the fans and media might bear some of the blame. Well, maybe blame is a strong word, but lets say maybe they are a factor. You see, the Ottawa Senators fan is pretty much an eternal optimist. Even when they were scoring 10 goals in their first 6 games I heard fans calling in to the local radio station saying things like ‘this slump is might actually be a blessing in disguise. A little adversity will do this team good and once they learn to win again everything will once again be hunky dory and we can gun for the Stanley Cup again’. The local hockey media said many of the same things and even after tonights game a couple of the hosts on the Ottawa post game show (on TV) reiterated the same thing. Well, maybe this is not the right line of thinking. Maybe the fans should criticize this team the way they deserve. And I am not talking about ‘Alfredsson sucked tonight, lets trade him’ I am talking about ‘This team is not good enough to be a Stanley Cup contender and will be in a fight for the playoffs’.

Why do I say this? Well, because I see what happens in Leaf Land. In Toronto the Leafs get bashed for everything they do or don’t do. Nothing is ever good enough for most in the media and many of the fans. They are too old. They are too slow. They defence is horrible. Pat Quinn never talks to John Ferguson Jr. There are rifts in the dressing room. Just read a Steve Simmons column on the Leafs. He hardly ever has anything good to say. Even in a recent article where he was praising Pat Quinn for some of his draft picks he was making subtle jabs at JFJ for his lack of drafting ability. For some in Toronto nothing is ever good enough. And yet they generally win. Not so much in the regular season, but in the playoffs when it counts. Before this season everyone had written them off but they are now sitting with a 9-5-3 record. I am thinking that all this pessimism has given the players a reason to play hard; they want to prove everyone wrong. Maybe the Senators players believe everything that they hear, that everything will be better soon and that they will be better for it once they get through these tough times. But the reality is, maybe they won’t.

So maybe Senators fans should start realizing reality that this team is not good enough. They haven’t and aren’t good enough to win in the playoffs and maybe now they aren’t good enough to win easily in the regular season. Maybe then the players will work harder to prove the fans and the doubters wrong. Maybe mass doubt amongst the media and fans is the adversity the players really need.

Oh, and can someone tell the Senators play by play guy (Dean Brown?) that the worst lead in hockey is 2 goals not 3. I have heard him say the worst lead is a 3 goal lead several times this season and it is flat out wrong.

Nov 062006
 

Here are the predictions for tonights games. The two games out west might be the most entertaining games to watch but the eastern conference games have some intrigue as well. Ottawa looks to break out of their slump against Washington and Philadelphia looks to break out of their slump against Toronto. Both Ottawa and Philadelphia have been playing well below expectations and one has to wonder when they are going to figure it out. I have more hope for Ottawa because Philadelphia is a disaster right now and I think probably needs a complete overhaul to become a true contender again.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Washington -132 Ottawa 124 Washington Some
Atlanta -148 Boston 132 Atlanta Good
Toronto -244 Philadelphia 159 Toronto Strong
NY Islanders -157 Tampa Bay 136 NY Islanders Good
Vancouver 109 Dallas -110 Dallas Good
Anaheim -158 Pittsburgh 136 Anaheim Good
Nov 052006
 

Just one game today but it should be a good one. Buffalo looks to rebound after their first regulation time loss and the Rangers return home after 5 road trip and a pair of wins against the wests best in Anaheim and San Jose. Not they look to topple the easts best in Buffalo.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
NY Rangers -106 Buffalo 106 Buffalo Some