Jan 152007
 

It is Martin Luther King day in the U.S. so there are several afternoon games today. That means if you have the day off and have NHL Center Ice you can watch NHL hockey from Noon to approximately 12:30am when the late game ends. That’s a lot of hockey but there are some good games today. The first game has Tampa facing the Islanders and both these teams are in a tough fight for the final playoff spot or two in the east. Next up is a traditional rivalry between Buffalo and Boston. The two 4:00 games aren’t that interesting as three of the 4 teams don’t look to be playoff contenders but at 6:00 Calgary and Nashville should be a stellar game. At 7:00 we have an original 6 matchup between Detroit and Montreal which is always worth watching and the late game has Colorado facing San Jose which should be good as well. So, are any of you going to watch 12 hours of hockey today?

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
NY Islanders -115 Tampa Bay 113 NY Islanders Some
Boston 104 Buffalo -104 Buffalo Some
Dallas -161 Los Angeles 138 Dallas Good
Phoenix -152 St. Louis 134 Phoenix Good
Nashville -118 Calgary 115 Nashville Some
Detroit -154 Montreal 135 Detroit Good
San Jose -171 Colorado 141 San Jose Good
Jan 142007
 

Just one game today which should see Minnesota getting a win over Chicago.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Chicago 134 Minnesota -152 Minnesota Good
Jan 132007
 

It’s Hockey Day in Canada today so if you like you can pretty much watch hockey or people talking about hockey all day long. The triple header on CBC starts with Montreal-Ottawa in the afternoon, Vancouver-Toronto in the evening and Calgary Edmonton as the late game. All of those games should be quality games. Other games to watch are the Rangers-Bruins. Both teams have struggled a bit recently and are in tight for the final playoff spot or two in the east. The Atlanta Thrashers and Carolina Hurricanes meet up as the second place Hurricanes have closed the gap to just 4 points in the southeast division. Unfortunately there isn’t really a whole lot exciting happening in the western conference besides the Edmonton-Calgary game. With Anaheim’s injury situation the Ducks-Avalanche game could be interesting but the rest aren’t to compelling at all.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Ottawa -116 Montreal 114 Ottawa Some
NY Rangers -104 Boston 104 Boston Some
Philadelphia 125 Pittsburgh -134 Pittsburgh Some
St. Louis -102 Los Angeles 102 Los Angeles Some
Buffalo -166 Tampa Bay 140 Buffalo Good
Toronto 102 Vancouver -102 Vancouver Some
NY Islanders -138 New Jersey 127 NY Islanders Good
Carolina -190 Atlanta 147 Carolina Strong
Detroit -186 Chicago 146 Detroit Strong
Columbus 120 Nashville -125 Nashville Good
Florida -107 Washington 107 Washington Some
Phoenix 111 San Jose -112 San Jose Good
Calgary -196 Edmonton 148 Calgary Strong
Anaheim -176 Colorado 143 Anaheim Strong
Jan 122007
 

There are 3 games tonight, two of them pretty good and one not so good. The first game sees New Jersey and Atlanta matching up in what is a race for second spot in the eastern conference. For most of the season Atlanta has easily been the second best team in the eastern conference behind Buffalo but now several teams are right on their tail including the Devils who are just 2 points back and have 2 games in hand. Should be a good game. The other good game is yet another northwest division matchup as the Oilers take on the Wild. Currently the Oilers sit 4th in the division and 9th in the conference just one point back of the 3rd and 8th place Wild and have a game in hand. This is a big game for Edmonton. The third game of the night sees Nashville, the top team in the central division take on Columbus, the worst team in the central division. Not much to get excited about there.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
New Jersey -135 Atlanta 126 New Jersey Some
Nashville -182 Columbus 145 Nashville Good
Edmonton -178 Minnesota 144 Edmonton Strong
Jan 112007
 

Here are tonights game predictions. Games to watch are Toronto-Buffalo, Ottawa-Rangers, Dallas-Anaheim, Calgary-Colorado, and Minnesota-Vancouver. All are either rivalry games or important games in the standings.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
Boston -134 NY Islanders 125 Boston Some
Buffalo -113 Toronto 112 Buffalo Some
NY Rangers -102 Ottawa 101 Ottawa Some
Philadelphia 142 Montreal -173 Montreal Good
Carolina -210 Florida 152 Carolina Strong
Tampa Bay -109 Washington 108 Tampa Bay Some
Dallas -104 Anaheim 103 Anaheim Some
Colorado 104 Calgary -104 Calgary Some
Phoenix 106 Detroit -106 Detroit Some
Vancouver -138 Minnesota 127 Vancouver Good
Los Angeles -115 San Jose 113 Los Angeles Some
Jan 102007
 

This morning on the Team 1200 Pierre McGuire commented that the Colorado-Detroit game last night was an entertaining game. He was then asked if that rivalry was still there and his immediate comment, almost before the question was finished being asked, was and emphatic no, not like before and that none of the players or personalites are there anymore. That got me to thinking, are any rivalries as good now as before? I can tell you that the rivalry hatred between the Senators and Leafs isn’t what it used to be pre-lockout. Sure, Sens fans still love to boo the Leafs, but it doesn’t seem the same. They don’t have the hatred for the team or the players like they did in the past. The Leafs-Habs still have a rivalry going but I am not sure it is quite the same either. Toronto has played 7 games with division rival Boston so far this season and I have a hard time saying any of the games were played with much passion or with any sense of rivalry hatred towards each other. Same for Ottawa-Boston last night. It was a complete yawner for 2 periods. Ottawa-New Jersey on Sunday wasn’t all that great either and they have had a bit of a rivalry in the past too. Detroit-Colorado, Colorado-Vancouver, Edmonton-Dallas, have all developed rivalries to some extent in the past but I can’t say any of them are really considered rivals anymore. Is the Flames-Oilers rivalry as good now as it was in the past? Have any new rivalries developed in the past year and a half?

So, I have to ask you all, is the new NHL killing rivalries? Do the teams you follow now have as big of rivalries now as they did pre-lockout? Has the strict (overly in some cases) calling of penalties caused so much of the physical play to be eliminated from the game reduce the sense of rivalry? Does not having guys like Tie Domi in the NHL crashing and banging reduce the sense of rivalry? Even Darcy Tucker is a shell of his former pesty self. Has the salary cap promoted so much mediocrity that every team is so much like every other team? Are there are no more big spenders to hate (Toronto) or small market underdog teams to cheer for (Ottawa)? Is all this killing the NHL? I have always contended that the New York Yankees are good for baseball because it gives a team for everyone to hate (if they don’t love them). Has the NHL eliminated this and is it going to hurt the league?

That’s a lot of questions, but I am curious as to what you all think. My opinion is skill and fancy goals are fun and all, but intensity and passion (for your team or against another team) in my mind is really what sells sports and what entertainment is all about and to some extent I think that is gone in this new NHL.

On a related note, Ottawa had a 40% discount night last night and didn’t sell out and still have 2000 tickets available for next weeks 40% discount night against Washington and one of the most skilled players in the game today in Ovechkin. Ticket sales are down across the NHL. The buzz from last season seems to have worn off. Is this a sign of things to come? Is this a result of the lack of intensity and passion in most NHL games now?

Jan 102007
 

Summary of last nights Ottawa-Boston game that I attended:

First Period: Boston is bad, but Ottawa is horrific. Boston scored 2 goals.
Second Period: Boston joins Ottawa in the horrific category. No goals, shots are 6-3 Ottawa.
Third Period: Boston still horrific, but Ottawa plays well, gets some bounces capitalizes on horrific defense by Boston (who were missing Chara and Stuart), and scores 5 goals including an empty netter.

First 2 periods were complete yawners.

Anyway, tonight we will see New Jersey get an easy 2 points over St. Louis and Buffalo get an easy 2 points over Chicago, while a couple of mediocre teams in Florida and Pittsburgh meet up and in the late, and most interesting game, Edmonton takes on San Jose.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
New Jersey -263 St. Louis 162 New Jersey Strong
Florida -164 Pittsburgh 139 Florida Strong
Chicago 114 Buffalo -117 Buffalo Good
San Jose -155 Edmonton 135 San Jose Good
Jan 092007
 

Here are the NHL Power Rankings through games of last night. Anaheim has managed to maintain top spot though just barely over division rival San Jose.

Rank Last Week Team AdjWinP SchedStr Power Rank
1 1 Anaheim 0.693 0.515 0.692
2 4 San Jose 0.667 0.521 0.691
3 3 Detroit 0.631 0.526 0.658
4 2 Buffalo 0.655 0.464 0.602
5 8 Calgary 0.550 0.537 0.594
6 5 Dallas 0.570 0.523 0.591
7 9 Vancouver 0.535 0.534 0.590
8 7 Nashville 0.631 0.491 0.580
9 12 New Jersey 0.595 0.469 0.549
10 13 Minnesota 0.452 0.552 0.537
11 15 Edmonton 0.488 0.536 0.536
12 6 Montreal 0.548 0.475 0.521
13 10 Carolina 0.523 0.475 0.496
14 16 Ottawa 0.511 0.478 0.492
15 24 Phoenix 0.439 0.537 0.488
16 14 Boston 0.500 0.479 0.483
17 11 Atlanta 0.523 0.464 0.478
18 20 Washington 0.488 0.483 0.472
19 23 Colorado 0.476 0.511 0.466
20 17 Toronto 0.465 0.488 0.462
21 27 Los Angeles 0.375 0.561 0.453
22 25 Pittsburgh 0.488 0.465 0.441
23 26 NY Rangers 0.465 0.470 0.434
24 18 NY Islanders 0.451 0.474 0.428
25 21 Chicago 0.440 0.500 0.422
26 19 Tampa Bay 0.442 0.473 0.416
27 22 Florida 0.409 0.483 0.404
28 28 Columbus 0.393 0.518 0.402
29 29 St. Louis 0.317 0.535 0.359
30 30 Philadelphia 0.274 0.475 0.262

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

Jan 092007
 

There are 11 games on the schedule tonight with some key matchups and a few yawners. I’ll be at the Sens-Bruins game tonight so I am hoping it will be a good one and it should as these two teams are battling it out in the standings. The Islanders-Rangers game is worth whatching too as the Islanders look to be falling apart while the Rangers are starting to look like they might be getting things going again. Tampa Bay and Pittsburgh meet each other both hoping to get a win to show they deserve to still be contenders for the final playoff spot or two. Out west a struggling Anaheim has a tough matchup against Nashville and the Iginla-less Calgary Flames face division rival Minnesota. The yawner of the night sees St. Louis facing Columbus.

Home Team Fair
HTOdds
Road Team Fair
RTOdds
Predicted Winner Confidence
NY Rangers -123 NY Islanders 119 NY Rangers Some
Washington -218 Philadelphia 154 Washington Strong
Columbus -136 St. Louis 126 Columbus Some
Toronto -113 Carolina 111 Toronto Some
Montreal -132 Atlanta 124 Montreal Some
Ottawa -124 Boston 119 Ottawa Some
Tampa Bay -114 Pittsburgh 112 Tampa Bay Some
Nashville -102 Anaheim 102 Anaheim Some
Dallas -147 Phoenix 132 Dallas Good
Colorado 113 Detroit -115 Detroit Good
Calgary -134 Minnesota 125 Calgary Some
Jan 082007
 

There is some discussion on the Battle of Ontario blog about predicted standings and since I have the code already written from last season I figured I’d chime in and give the results I have through yesterdays games. The preditions they made on the Battle of Ontario are fairly accurate and working in schedule strength doesn’t have a major impact on their predicted standings for the east. But the playoff race is real tight with just 7 points separating 5th spot from 11th spot so everything is still wide open.

Eastern Conference Predicted Standings

Pos Team GP Pts Schedule Strength Future GP Future SchedStr Pred Pts Total Pts
1 Buffalo 42 63 0.462 40 0.470 59 122
2 New Jersey 42 54 0.468 40 0.435 55 109
3 Atlanta 44 56 0.461 38 0.479 46 102
4 Montreal 42 51 0.475 40 0.475 48 99
5 NY Rangers 43 48 0.469 39 0.457 44 92
6 Boston 39 43 0.476 43 0.479 47 90
7 Carolina 44 48 0.474 38 0.461 42 90
8 Ottawa 44 48 0.478 38 0.478 41 89
9 Pittsburgh 40 43 0.466 42 0.461 45 88
10 Washington 42 43 0.484 40 0.461 43 86
11 Toronto 43 44 0.490 39 0.473 41 85
12 NY Islanders 41 41 0.474 41 0.455 42 83
13 Tampa Bay 43 42 0.474 39 0.481 37 79
14 Florida 44 39 0.483 38 0.471 34 73
15 Philadelphia 42 26 0.474 40 0.488 24 50

Western Conference Predicted Standings

Pos Team GP Pts Schedule Strength Future GP Future SchedStr Pred Pts TotalPts
1 Anaheim 44 64 0.515 38 0.528 53 117
2 Detroit 42 55 0.525 40 0.483 56 111
3 Nashville 42 59 0.491 40 0.537 51 110
4 San Jose 42 56 0.523 40 0.525 53 109
5 Dallas 43 53 0.523 39 0.541 46 99
6 Calgary 40 46 0.535 42 0.518 49 95
7 Vancouver 43 49 0.537 39 0.520 45 94
8 Minnesota 42 45 0.553 40 0.512 46 91
9 Colorado 41 44 0.509 41 0.569 39 83
10 Edmonton 41 42 0.540 40 0.530 41 83
11 Phoenix 41 40 0.540 41 0.546 39 79
12 Chicago 42 39 0.499 40 0.557 33 72
13 Los Angeles 43 37 0.561 38 0.525 34 71
14 Columbus 42 36 0.517 40 0.542 32 68
15 St. Louis 41 33 0.537 41 0.533 33 66