Dec 132006
 

Here are tonights game predictions. Anaheim-Altanta should be a very good game. Anaheim has the stars on defense but both teams have skill and speed and can put the puck in the net and both teams have good goaltending. Should be a good game. The other 2 games won’t be so good as all 4 teams are fairly mediocre teams.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Atlanta -133 Anaheim 125 Atlanta Some
Pittsburgh -254 Philadelphia 160 Pittsburgh Strong
Colorado -330 St. Louis 169 Colorado Strong
Dec 122006
 

We are still seeing significant movement in the power rankings. Generally this week we have seen eastern conference teams drop and western conference teams rise. This is because of a generally bad eastern conference record vs. the west this past week. Carolina lost to Calgary, Edmonton, Vancouver and Colorado. Toronto lost to Detroit. Ottawa lost to Columbus. Anaheim beat Washington and Tampa.

The big risers on the week are Edmonton (16 to 6), Calgary (17 to 7), Minnesota (22 to 13), New Jersey (19 to 15), and Vancouver (21 to 15). Those going the other direction include the Islanders (11 to 18), Toronto (12 to 20), and Ottawa (10 to 21).

Rank Last Week Team AdjWinP SchedStr Power Rank
1 4 Anaheim 0.766 0.487 0.705
2 3 Detroit 0.661 0.499 0.664
3 5 San Jose 0.700 0.485 0.650
4 1 Buffalo 0.672 0.490 0.635
5 8 Dallas 0.633 0.497 0.617
6 16 Edmonton 0.552 0.511 0.584
7 17 Calgary 0.556 0.508 0.575
8 2 Carolina 0.516 0.516 0.557
9 6 Montreal 0.552 0.498 0.553
10 7 Atlanta 0.581 0.489 0.538
11 14 Nashville 0.603 0.470 0.535
12 9 Washington 0.517 0.509 0.534
13 22 Minnesota 0.466 0.518 0.515
14 19 New Jersey 0.571 0.471 0.510
15 21 Vancouver 0.467 0.516 0.509
16 13 Boston 0.500 0.504 0.507
17 18 NY Rangers 0.483 0.505 0.504
18 11 NY Islanders 0.500 0.497 0.496
19 15 Tampa Bay 0.450 0.518 0.490
20 12 Toronto 0.452 0.502 0.465
21 10 Ottawa 0.468 0.495 0.459
22 20 Pittsburgh 0.464 0.493 0.457
23 25 Los Angeles 0.371 0.535 0.435
24 23 Florida 0.391 0.512 0.417
25 24 Colorado 0.414 0.501 0.413
26 26 Chicago 0.446 0.475 0.407
27 27 Phoenix 0.357 0.525 0.400
28 29 Columbus 0.357 0.468 0.313
29 28 Philadelphia 0.293 0.509 0.313
30 30 St. Louis 0.214 0.524 0.241

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

Dec 122006
 

We have a full schedule of games tonight and here are the algorithms predictions.
If you are a betting man, definitely be cautious on the St. Louis-Chicago game as often when a team changes coaches they have a short term (3-5 games) surge in their play before falling back to where they were. I think the Blues probably win tonight. Los Angeles is being listed as the small favourite against San Jose which is quite odd. I am not sure I buy that one but the algorithm has proven me wrong before. Most of the other predictions make some sense.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
New Jersey 101 Buffalo -101 Buffalo Some
Philadelphia 123 NY Rangers -131 NY Rangers Good
Toronto -116 Tampa Bay 114 Toronto Some
Montreal -133 Boston 125 Montreal Some
Florida 128 Anaheim -140 Anaheim Good
Detroit -178 Ottawa 143 Detroit Strong
St. Louis 127 Chicago -137 Chicago Some
Nashville -111 Edmonton 110 Edmonton Some
Dallas -237 Columbus 157 Dallas Strong
Calgary -134 Minnesota 125 Calgary Some
Vancouver -228 Phoenix 156 Vancouver Strong
Los Angeles -115 San Jose 113 Los Angeles Some
Dec 112006
 

Just 3 games on the schedule tonight none of which would be considered prime games but all of which could offer some intrigue. Washington has been one of the better teams in the league and the Caoitals-Penguins game features three of the best young talents in the game. Phoenix has been playing much better the past couple weeks as well and will face a bit challenge in San Jose. Meanwhile Carolina tries to salvage something out of their northwest division road trip in Colorado after losses to Calgary and Edmonton and an overtime loss to Vancouver.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Washington -142 Pittsburgh 129 Washington Good
Colorado 109 Carolina -110 Carolina Some
San Jose -197 Phoenix 149 San Jose Strong
Dec 102006
 

Sorry these is a little later than usual but better late than never. Here are today’s game predictions. Not sure any game is a must see game so unless you are a fan of one of the teams involved take the night off from hockey and watch or do something more interesting.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Columbus 128 Ottawa -140 Ottawa Good
NY Rangers -137 Florida 127 NY Rangers Some
Chicago 147 Edmonton -189 Edmonton Strong
Dec 092006
 

Not a lot of time for analysis this morning but here are the NHL game predictions for tonight. The game of the night is an original six classic and a renewal of a former Norris division rivalry: Detroit at Toronto.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Boston -192 New Jersey 147 Boston Strong
Montreal -105 Buffalo 105 Buffalo Some
Ottawa -132 NY Rangers 124 Ottawa Some
NY Islanders -135 Florida 126 NY Islanders Some
Philadelphia 131 Washington -145 Washington Good
Atlanta -163 Pittsburgh 138 Atlanta Good
Detroit -154 Toronto 135 Detroit Good
Tampa Bay -131 Anaheim 124 Tampa Bay Some
St. Louis -107 Columbus 107 St. Louis Some
Minnesota -150 Chicago 133 Minnesota Good
Phoenix -110 Dallas 109 Phoenix Some
Calgary -186 Vancouver 146 Calgary Strong
Los Angeles -113 Colorado 111 Los Angeles Some
San Jose -142 Nashville 129 San Jose Good
Dec 082006
 

This may or may not surprise you but I think the game of the night tonight is Anaheim at Washington. This is a huge test for the overachieving Capitals. You might think there is no hope of defeating the 21-3-6 Ducks but the Capitals have won 4 in a row with their last 3 wins coming against Dallas, the easts best team Buffalo and the recently hot Ottawa Senators (8-2 in last 10). If the Caps can pull out a win tonight agianst the Ducks they will jump into a playoff spot. Should be an interesting game.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Washington -104 Anaheim 104 Anaheim Some
New Jersey -181 Philadelphia 144 New Jersey Good
Dallas -129 Edmonton 122 Dallas Some
Vancouver 103 Carolina -103 Carolina Some
Dec 072006
 

So the NHL govenors met this week to discuss making changes to the NHL schedule but came up with no solution so for now we are stuck with what we have got. Some teams want more interconference play, some teams want none at all. My problem with the schedule is that the teams who are competing with each other to make the playoffs play significantly different schedules. The northeast division may have 5 of the top 8 teams in the eastern conference but because they play each other 8 times, it is unlikely that they will all make the playoffs while a lesser team from the Atlantic or Southeast divisions would make the playoffs. If you are a fan of having the best teams in the playoffs then this is not an ideal solution.

One method to fix this problem was to have 10 teams from each conference make the playoffs with a 3 game series of seed #7 vs #10 and #8 vs #9 with the winners making the round of 8 in each conference. I have mixed feelings on this because I think enough teams already make the playoffs but it does allow for teams punished by a tougher schedule to prove themselves in this short series.

Tom Benjamin has offered up some ideas himself but I’d like to take a different tact in fixing the schedule. Why do we need a 100% fixed, set in stone schedule? Why not allow teams to set a portion of their schedule themselves? Here is what I am proposing:

Each conference plays every other team in their conference 4 times. With 14 other teams in the conference this would equate to 56 conference games. Each team would then play every team in the other conference once per season. By playing every other team once per season and alternating home vs road games every other year, every team will play in every city in the other conference at least every other year. Not every year will Sidney Crosby visit Calgary but every year he will play Calgary and every other year he will play in Calgary. Adding the 15 interconferene games to the 56 conference games we now have a total of 71 games. Now to get the schedule up to 82 games like we currently have, the teams will be allowed to schedule the other 11 games however they see fit with the condition that no more than 2 games can be played against the same team (i.e. The Rangers won’t be able to play the Islanders all 11 games). So, for example, Toronto could play those 11 games using a 3 game road trip to Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver, 2 extra games againt Ottawa, Montreal and Buffalo and maybe a couple of original 6 games against Detroit and Chicago. I know as a Leaf fan I’d rather see a few more games against teams like Detroit than 8 games against Boston (5 in one month is rediculous). Los Angeles could play Anaheim and San Jose a couple of extra games or maybe start a cross country big city rivalry with the New York Rangers by playing an extra couple of games each season. The 4 teams in the southeast (Tampa, Florida, Atlanta and Carolina) could focus on playing each other and developing those rivalries further and could even bring Nashville into the mix. Teams could choose to have playoff re-matches whether they face a team they met in the playoffs the previous years playoffs to renew hostilities. With 11 free games teams would have a ton of options on how to develop rivalries and promote their team.

At the end of the season all teams will have played 82 games and the top 8 teams in each conference make the playoffs and the playoffs get played just as they do now.

What does everyone think?

Dec 072006
 

There are several intriguing games on the schedule tonight. We start off with the ‘not another game’ game as Toronto takes on Boston for the 5th time since November 9th (and the NHL wonders why people get tired of seeing the same teams over and over again). Next up is the up and down Rangers taking on the struggling (one win in 7 games) Penguins as the Rangers look to get back up into a playoff spot (they currently sit in 9th). I have a hard time getting excited about the Islanders facing Canadiens but both teams seem to be playing above what one might have expected prior to the season so maybe there is a story line there. Tampa takes on Atlanta in a southeast division matchup. I like Atlanta in this game because they are just a much better team in all aspects of the game but if Tampa plays well they could make an interesting game of it. Buffalo should easily hand Florida another loss just as Detroit should easily defeat St. Louis. Calgary-Minnesota should be a good divisional game in the tightest division in the NHL and a Calgary win will put them in a tie with the second place Wild. In the battle of bad teams we have Chicago taking on Phoenix. Phoenix is actually playing better lately having won 4 of 6 and Chicago is 3-0-1 in their last 4 so it probably won’t be as bad of a game as their records might indicate. The not very good but rested Kings are probably in a pretty good position to hand the struggling Nashville another loss after the Predators were shutout against the Ducks last night. And in the final game of the night I expect San Jose should have a relatively easy time against the mediocre Avalanche.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Boston -124 Toronto 119 Boston Some
NY Rangers -135 Pittsburgh 126 NY Rangers Some
NY Islanders -159 Montreal 137 NY Islanders Good
Tampa Bay -102 Atlanta 102 Atlanta Some
Florida 125 Buffalo -135 Buffalo Good
Detroit -315 St. Louis 168 Detroit Strong
Minnesota -102 Calgary 102 Calgary Some
Chicago -171 Phoenix 141 Chicago Strong
Los Angeles -140 Nashville 128 Los Angeles Good
San Jose -192 Colorado 148 San Jose Strong
Dec 062006
 

Here are tonights game predictions as decided upon by my prediction algorithm. Thre should be some really good games tonight as even the Dallas-Phoenix might be better than one might expect as Phoenix has won 3 in a row and 4 of 5. All of the other games have the potential to be very close games with lots of goals (except maybe NJ-Montreal).

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Washington -172 Ottawa 141 Washington Strong
New Jersey 103 Montreal -103 Montreal Some
Dallas -188 Phoenix 146 Dallas Strong
Edmonton -147 Carolina 132 Edmonton Good
Anaheim -156 Nashville 136 Anaheim Good