Mar 282007
 

I don’t very often write about non-NHL stuff but when I heard about this it just disgusted me and this story deserves to get told so that those involved get thoroughly embarassed and shamed for what they have done.

The story is about Jared Murray, an eight year old hockey player in Shawville, Quebec who happens to be the son of Tim Murray, who is a scout for the New York Rangers and nephew of Ottawa Senators coach Bryan Murray. Jared Murray, who is 4’9″ and 110 pounds, has been ruled inelligable to play in the Outaouais regional playoffs because he is too good. These are eight year olds people. Nobody eight year old should be too good or too bad to play hockey. Jared is eligable to play in the league and was allowed to play all season only when it came to regional playoff time was he disqualified to play. Those who made this decision should be thoroughly disgusted in themselves.

In the eyes of Hockey Outaouais officials, Jared is just too good to compete in the regional playdowns at the B level — the sniper scored 51 goals in 17 games in his second season of novice in Hockey Outaouais’ Metro League. Jared is also the grand-nephew of Ottawa Senators head coach Bryan Murray; Jared’s father, Tim, is a New York Rangers scout, a former head coach of the Shawville Pontiacs junior B team and the nephew of the Senators coach.

Jared’s team finished with an 11-3-2 record, ended up third in the 16-team league in the Pontiac area, but then lost in the opening round of sudden-death playoffs.

Mar 282007
 

With most teams having just 5 or 6 games left to play it is really getting down to crunch time in the playoff races and there is still a lot left to be decided. Here are the predicted standings as of March 28th.

Eastern Conference Predicted Standings

Pos Team GP Points Schedule
Strength
Future
GP
Future
SchedStr
Pred.
Points
Total
Points
1 Buffalo 75 103 0.483 7 0.431 10 113
2 New Jersey 76 98 0.462 6 0.452 7 105
3 Ottawa 77 98 0.481 5 0.469 6 104
4 Pittsburgh 77 98 0.463 5 0.499 5 103
5 Atlanta 76 88 0.475 6 0.452 7 95
6 NY Rangers 77 87 0.472 5 0.432 6 93
7 Carolina 76 84 0.474 6 0.426 7 91
8 Montreal 77 86 0.486 5 0.499 5 91
9 Tampa Bay 77 86 0.477 5 0.476 5 91
10 Toronto 76 84 0.492 6 0.440 7 91
11 NY Islanders 76 84 0.469 6 0.487 6 90
12 Florida 76 78 0.478 6 0.449 6 84
13 Boston 76 76 0.491 6 0.528 5 81
14 Washington 77 65 0.484 5 0.475 4 69
15 Philadelphia 75 51 0.480 7 0.526 4 55

I think we can pretty much give Buffalo top spot in the eastern conference and I am fairly confident that Atlanta will be able to hold on to top spot in the Southeast division and the 3rd seed. After that pretty much everything is still up in the air. New Jersey and Pittsburgh are going to battle it out for top spot in the Atlantic division and the second seed and the loser there will battle it out with Ottawa for 4th spot and home ice advantage when they meet in the first round.

The Rangers, Carolina, Montreal, Tampa, Toronto and the Islanders are going to battle it out for the final 3 spots. Despite Lundqvist looking very ordinary last night against the Canadiens I still believe that the Rangers will make the playoffs and most likely will grab the final playoff spot. After that, anything can happen but with that said, I don’t like the Islanders chances with DiPietro injured. Tampa is having goaltending problems again and have lost 5 of their last 7 games and given up 12 goals in their last 2 games. Carolina looked downright horrible last night against the Leafs but have a chance to redeem themselves tonight against the lowly, but well rested, Flyers. That leaves the two Canadian teams, Toronto and Montreal, who are both playing very good hockey right now. Montreal has won 5 in a row and the Leafs, aside from 15 minutes in the third period against Buffalo on Friday have been outstanding. The Leafs have outscored their opposition 16-4 in the past 4 games not counting that 15 minute disaster. Maybe that gives the Leafs and Habs the inside track on the final couple of playoff spots but with the inconsistency shown by most of the teams in the playoff race throughout the season anything can still happen.

Here are the six teams remaining schedules.

Rangers(5): at Phi, vs Tor, at NYI, vs Mtl, at Pit
Toronto(6): at Atl, vs Pit, at NYR, vs Phi, at NYI, vs Mtl
Montreal(5): at Ott, vs Buf, vs Bos, at NYR, vs Tor
Islanders(6): at Buf, vs Ott, vs NYR, vs Tor, at Phi, at NJ
Carolina(6): at Phi, vs TB, at Fla, at TB, vs Atl, vs Fla
Tampa(5): at Car, vs Was, vs Car, vs Fla, at Atl

Western Conference Predicted Standings

Pos Team GP Points Schedule
Strength
Future
GP
Future
SchedStr
Pred.
Points
Total
Points
1 Detroit 76 103 0.510 6 0.487 8 111
2 Nashville 77 105 0.508 5 0.555 6 111
3 Anaheim 76 100 0.512 6 0.456 8 108
4 Vancouver 76 99 0.528 6 0.484 8 107
5 Dallas 76 98 0.509 6 0.528 7 105
6 Minnesota 77 98 0.526 5 0.528 6 104
7 San Jose 77 98 0.507 5 0.554 5 103
8 Calgary 76 92 0.526 6 0.543 7 99
9 Colorado 76 85 0.529 6 0.568 6 91
10 St. Louis 76 74 0.528 6 0.529 5 79
11 Columbus 76 71 0.520 6 0.607 4 75
12 Edmonton 77 69 0.544 5 0.475 5 74
13 Los Angeles 77 66 0.532 5 0.514 4 70
14 Chicago 75 63 0.525 7 0.581 5 68
15 Phoenix 76 63 0.532 6 0.511 5 68

It was a nice late season surge but I am now prepared to call the Colorado Avalanche’s playoff hopes as good as done. Yes, I realize that the Avalanche and Flames still play each other twice but even if the Avalanche win both of those games they will still have to make up 3 points in 4 games. Certainly not impossible but 3 of those 4 games are against Minnesota, Vancouver and Nashville. Even getting 2 wins against those teams is going to be tough.

Despite the playoff race being all but done, the race for playoff positioning is still going down to the wire on several fronts. Detroit and Nashville are in a dog fight for top spot in the central division and in the conference with the Ducks. Vancouver and Minnesota are in a battle for top spot in the Northeast division and it isn’t out of the question that Vancouver could even get into the fight for top spot in the conference or at least over take the Ducks for second seed.

Mar 272007
 

It is the second last power rankings of the regular season and the Vancouver Canucks have jumped into top spot with a slim lead over Detroit. That is pretty remarkable for a team that was 17-18-1 at Christmas but they have an almost unbelievable 28-5-6 record since then.

Rank Last Week Team AdjWinP SchedStr Power Rank
1 4 Vancouver 0.593 0.526 0.635
2 1 Detroit 0.632 0.510 0.631
3 2 Nashville 0.618 0.507 0.613
4 3 Anaheim 0.605 0.514 0.612
5 5 San Jose 0.612 0.508 0.611
6 7 Minnesota 0.566 0.525 0.598
7 6 Dallas 0.580 0.512 0.584
8 8 Buffalo 0.600 0.483 0.583
9 10 Calgary 0.553 0.526 0.583
10 9 Ottawa 0.612 0.479 0.582
11 11 Colorado 0.513 0.527 0.543
12 12 New Jersey 0.573 0.464 0.521
13 13 Carolina 0.540 0.475 0.510
14 15 Montreal 0.507 0.485 0.499
15 16 Toronto 0.500 0.489 0.495
16 14 Pittsburgh 0.539 0.465 0.487
17 17 Atlanta 0.493 0.476 0.472
18 19 Edmonton 0.408 0.544 0.464
19 23 Tampa Bay 0.480 0.476 0.453
20 20 NY Rangers 0.480 0.472 0.451
21 18 St. Louis 0.413 0.526 0.447
22 22 Florida 0.460 0.480 0.445
23 21 NY Islanders 0.473 0.468 0.437
24 26 Columbus 0.413 0.523 0.435
25 24 Boston 0.420 0.491 0.424
26 25 Chicago 0.380 0.526 0.404
27 28 Phoenix 0.367 0.531 0.403
28 27 Washington 0.408 0.482 0.394
29 29 Los Angeles 0.355 0.531 0.390
30 30 Philadelphia 0.300 0.481 0.292

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

Mar 232007
 

Here are the predicted NHL standings after last nights games.

Eastern Conference Predicted Standings

Pos Team GP Points Schedule
Strength
Future
GP
Future
SchedStr
Pred.
Points
Total
Points
1 Buffalo 73 101 0.479 9 0.438 13 114
2 Ottawa 75 96 0.478 7 0.456 9 105
3 New Jersey 74 94 0.461 8 0.438 10 104
4 Pittsburgh 74 92 0.463 8 0.478 9 101
5 Atlanta 75 88 0.474 7 0.445 8 96
6 NY Rangers 74 83 0.472 8 0.420 10 93
7 Tampa Bay 75 86 0.473 7 0.498 7 93
8 Carolina 74 82 0.471 8 0.455 9 91
9 NY Islanders 73 81 0.467 9 0.467 9 90
10 Montreal 75 82 0.484 7 0.485 7 89
11 Toronto 73 80 0.486 9 0.484 9 89
12 Florida 74 75 0.477 8 0.460 8 83
13 Boston 73 73 0.487 9 0.507 8 81
14 Washington 75 65 0.482 7 0.475 6 71
15 Philadelphia 74 51 0.478 8 0.517 5 56

The race is still extremely tight in the east with 6 teams predicted to finish with between 89 and 93 points. Looking at each teams remaining schedules we find that those 6 teams play each other an awful lot.

Toronto(9): at Buf, vs Buf, vs Car, at Atl, vs Pit, at NYR, vs Phi, at NYI, vs Mtl
Montreal(7): vs Was, vs NYR, at Ott, vs Buf, vs Bos, at NYR, vs Tor
Islanders(9): at Phi, vs NYR, vs NJ, at Buf, vs Ott, vs NYR, vs Tor, at Phi, at NJ
Rangers(7): at Bos, at NYI, at MTL, at Phi, vs Tor, vs Mtl, at Pit
Carolina(8): vs SJ, at Tor, at Phi, vs TB, at Fla, at TB, vs Atl, vs Fla
Tampa(7): vs Ott, vs Fla, at Car, vs Was, vs Car, vs Fla, at Atl

If I had to handicap the race I would say that the Rangers are in the best shape as they have a fairly easy schedule but more importantly Henrik Lundqvist has been playing awsome in goal for them and Shanahan has returned from his concussion. I am fairly confident the Rangers make the playoffs. Tampa is in pretty good shape too but with their goaltending you can never get too comfortable. With DiPietro back I like the Islanders as a team but with 2 games against New Jersey and one each against Buffalo and Ottawa it won’t be easy for them to make up the ground lost while he was out. And then we have the Hurricanes, Canadiens and Leafs who need something to go right for them make the playoffs. For the Hurricanes they need someone to really step up and take control. Last year Staal was that guy but he has been pretty ordinary this year. If he can step up his game for the final two weeks then the Hurricanes have a chance to move into a playoff spot. For Montreal it is all about goaltending. They aren’t that good of a team so need top tier goaltending to be competitive. Halak has provided that the past few games and because of that they have remained in the playoff race but can he, or a soon to return Huet keep that pace up? If they can, they have a chance. For the Leafs it is all about smart, hard working team play and getting some secondary scoring after the top line. Kaberle returning should certainly help but O’Neill, Stajan, Steen, Battaglia, Devereaux, Pohl and Kilger have combined for 3 goals and 8 points in March and that is not going to cut it. They need to pick up their game for the Leafs to be able to grab a playoff spot.

Western Conference Predicted Standings

Pos Team GP Points Schedule
Strength
Future
GP
Future
SchedStr
Pred.
Points
Total
Points
1 Detroit 74 100 0.510 8 0.513 10 110
2 Nashville 75 101 0.511 7 0.534 9 110
3 Anaheim 74 98 0.513 8 0.498 10 108
4 Vancouver 74 96 0.529 8 0.506 10 106
5 Dallas 73 93 0.515 9 0.504 11 104
6 San Jose 75 96 0.512 7 0.525 8 104
7 Minnesota 75 95 0.528 7 0.537 8 103
8 Calgary 74 88 0.530 8 0.525 9 97
9 Colorado 73 82 0.530 9 0.562 9 91
10 St. Louis 73 72 0.530 9 0.516 9 81
11 Edmonton 74 67 0.543 8 0.526 7 74
12 Columbus 74 67 0.525 8 0.567 6 73
13 Los Angeles 74 64 0.537 8 0.507 7 71
14 Chicago 73 63 0.526 9 0.573 7 70
15 Phoenix 74 62 0.533 8 0.540 6 68

With a pair of wins against Detroit and Nashville the Calgary Flames are now in pretty good shape to hold on to the last playoff spot as Colorado has a tough schedule and a lot of ground to make up. The one positive for the Avalanche though is that they still have 2 games to play against the Flames. But they also play Vancouver 3 times, Nashville and a hot Minnesota team which is bad news for the Avalanche.

Mar 202007
 
Rank Last Week Team AdjWinP SchedStr Power Rank
1 2 Detroit 0.639 0.512 0.640
2 3 Nashville 0.630 0.510 0.630
3 1 Anaheim 0.616 0.516 0.624
4 5 Vancouver 0.589 0.524 0.623
5 4 San Jose 0.610 0.515 0.623
6 6 Dallas 0.583 0.518 0.599
7 9 Minnesota 0.548 0.528 0.586
8 7 Buffalo 0.597 0.479 0.574
9 10 Ottawa 0.596 0.478 0.569
10 8 Calgary 0.535 0.526 0.560
11 12 Colorado 0.507 0.530 0.542
12 11 New Jersey 0.590 0.465 0.538
13 13 Carolina 0.527 0.471 0.493
14 17 Pittsburgh 0.534 0.466 0.485
15 15 Montreal 0.486 0.485 0.481
16 14 Toronto 0.493 0.483 0.476
17 19 Atlanta 0.507 0.470 0.475
18 18 St. Louis 0.430 0.529 0.467
19 16 Edmonton 0.418 0.539 0.465
20 22 NY Rangers 0.466 0.477 0.448
21 20 NY Islanders 0.472 0.470 0.440
22 25 Florida 0.458 0.477 0.439
23 21 Tampa Bay 0.473 0.471 0.437
24 23 Boston 0.437 0.486 0.434
25 24 Chicago 0.401 0.528 0.428
26 26 Columbus 0.396 0.529 0.423
27 28 Washington 0.425 0.478 0.405
28 27 Phoenix 0.361 0.532 0.396
29 29 Los Angeles 0.356 0.536 0.396
30 30 Philadelphia 0.312 0.481 0.305

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

Mar 162007
 

Here are just some random observations about the NHL that you may not realize.

1. The Nashville Predators currently have no players with more than 25 goals while the Washington Capitals have three.

2. Dallas is the only team with a defenseman leading the points race with Sergei Zubov leading the way. Another defenseman, Philippe Bouche, is second.

3. Shane Doan currently leads the Phoenix Coyotes with 47 points, the lowest of any NHL team.

4. The Philadelphia Flyers have used 47 different players this season and 33 of them have played at least 10 games.

5. Kyle Calder was a -31 with 21 points while playing 59 games for the Philadephia Flyers. With Detroit he is a +7 with 10 points in 8 games. What a turn around.

6. Vincent Lecavalier has 48 goals and 94 points so far this season to set new career bests. His previous career bests were 35 goals and 78 points.

7. Marc-Edouard Vlasic of the San Jose Sharks leads all rookies with 21:58 minutes of ice time per game.

8. Jordan Staal not only leads the NHL with 7 short handed goals, he also leads the NHL in shooting percentage scoring on 25.9% of the shots he takes.

9. David Vborny has scored 68.8% of his points on home ice despite playing an equal number of games on the road as at home.

10. Miroslav Satan has scored 64% of his points on the road.

11. 71.9% of Sheldon Souray’s points have come on the power play and another 5.3% have come short handed leaving just 22.8% of Souray’s 57 points coming even strength.

12. The Buffalo Sabres have been out shot 36 times this season but are 23-9-4 in those games.

13. Tampa, Buffalo and Minnesota lead the NHL with 10 shoot out wins each while Carolina has yet to win a shoot out. No wonder Carolina can’t catch Tampa in the standings.

14. Atlanta has the best shootout shooting percentage scoring 12 goals on 21 shots for 57.1%. Carolina has just 1 goal on 17 shots for 5.9%. Ouch.

15. Tampa goalies have a phenominal .936 save % in shootouts stopping 44 of 47 shots but only have a league worst .886 save percentage during regular play. How does that happen?

Mar 162007
 

I am going to post updated predicted standings a little more often now that we are closing in on the seasons end. Here is how things look today.

Eastern Conference Predicted Standings

Pos Team GP Pts Schedule
Strength
Future
GP
Future
SchedStr
Pred.
Points
Total
Points
1 Buffalo 70 96 0.481 12 0.436 18 114
2 New Jersey 71 94 0.462 11 0.446 15 109
3 Ottawa 71 89 0.483 11 0.439 15 104
4 Pittsburgh 70 88 0.464 12 0.481 14 102
5 Atlanta 72 84 0.466 10 0.488 11 95
6 Tampa Bay 71 82 0.468 11 0.495 12 94
7 NY Islanders 70 78 0.470 12 0.463 13 91
8 NY Rangers 70 76 0.476 12 0.433 14 90
9 Toronto 70 77 0.487 12 0.476 13 90
10 Carolina 72 78 0.468 10 0.452 11 89
11 Montreal 71 76 0.486 11 0.477 11 87
12 Boston 70 73 0.487 12 0.495 12 85
13 Florida 71 71 0.475 11 0.452 11 82
14 Washington 71 61 0.477 11 0.479 9 70
15 Philadelphia 71 51 0.480 11 0.506 7 58

The east is just crazy but a lot could happen this weekend. I am prepared to say Florida is done and barring a miracle Boston is done. Montreal’s playoff hopes could all but die this weekend as well with a tough game against Pittsburgh tonight and then Toronto tomorrow. Should they lose both, which is very possible, I think their playoff hopes are done. That would leave Carolina, Toronto, the Rangers and Islanders fighting for 2 spots. But it potentially could get more interesting too. The Rangers play the Thrashers tongiht and should they win, it isn’t unrealistic that the Thrashers playoff spot becomes up for grabs. The Lightning also have a tough game against the Sabres and a very tough schedule for the remainder of the season so their playoff spot is anything but secure as well.

Western Conference Predicted Standings

Pos Team GP Pts Schedule
Strength
Future GP Future
SchedStr
Pred Pts TotalPts
1 Detroit 71 99 0.511 11 0.524 14 113
2 Anaheim 71 96 0.515 11 0.486 15 111
3 Nashville 72 98 0.511 10 0.552 12 110
4 Dallas 70 89 0.517 12 0.500 15 104
5 Vancouver 71 90 0.526 11 0.523 14 104
6 San Jose 71 89 0.517 11 0.490 14 103
7 Minnesota 72 89 0.528 10 0.518 12 101
8 Calgary 71 84 0.523 11 0.559 12 96
9 Colorado 70 76 0.531 12 0.532 13 89
10 St. Louis 70 70 0.534 12 0.523 12 82
11 Edmonton 71 66 0.537 11 0.539 10 76
12 Columbus 70 63 0.530 12 0.553 10 73
13 Chicago 70 63 0.527 12 0.572 9 72
14 Los Angeles 71 60 0.538 11 0.525 9 69
15 Phoenix 70 59 0.531 12 0.553 9 68

In the west, Colorado is doing everything it can to keep its small playoff hopes alive and Calgary’s horrible road record is doing everything it can to give the Avalanche a glimmer of hope. Detroit with their back to back wins over Nashville have opened up a small lead for top spot in the west but Anaheim and Nashville are still in the hunt.

Mar 132007
 

Here are this weeks Power Rankings. Anaheim has jumped into top spot but there really isn’t much separating Anaheim, Detroit and Nashville. The list has been pretty stable the past several weeks though Edmonton has really begun to drop in the standings and currently sit in 16th spot. The way they are playing I’d expect them to drop several more spots before seasons end. Probably to around 20th or so.

I have also updated the player rankings and adjusted hits/giveaways and takeaways pages on so check them out by clicking on the appropriate link in the menu to the left.

Rank Last Week Team AdjWinP SchedStr Power Rank
1 3 Anaheim 0.621 0.516 0.632
2 1 Detroit 0.638 0.509 0.631
3 4 Nashville 0.643 0.506 0.630
4 2 San Jose 0.601 0.518 0.624
5 5 Vancouver 0.580 0.522 0.610
6 7 Dallas 0.574 0.518 0.590
7 6 Buffalo 0.596 0.483 0.580
8 8 Calgary 0.558 0.522 0.578
9 10 Minnesota 0.529 0.528 0.569
10 9 Ottawa 0.580 0.483 0.563
11 11 New Jersey 0.601 0.463 0.544
12 12 Colorado 0.486 0.529 0.519
13 15 Carolina 0.521 0.469 0.482
14 16 Toronto 0.493 0.486 0.481
15 14 Montreal 0.486 0.486 0.481
16 13 Edmonton 0.436 0.534 0.477
17 18 Pittsburgh 0.529 0.463 0.475
18 17 St. Louis 0.428 0.531 0.470
19 19 Atlanta 0.500 0.471 0.470
20 20 NY Islanders 0.493 0.470 0.460
21 22 Tampa Bay 0.493 0.469 0.451
22 23 NY Rangers 0.464 0.476 0.445
23 21 Boston 0.442 0.488 0.443
24 26 Chicago 0.412 0.529 0.442
25 24 Florida 0.464 0.474 0.439
26 25 Columbus 0.406 0.530 0.437
27 27 Phoenix 0.377 0.528 0.408
28 28 Washington 0.407 0.479 0.390
29 29 Los Angeles 0.336 0.538 0.377
30 30 Philadelphia 0.312 0.480 0.303

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

Mar 122007
 

There are only four weeks left in the schedule so the playoff races are getting down to crunch time with teams having between 12 and 14 games left to play.

Eastern Conference Predicted Standings

Pos Team GP Pts Schedule
Strength
Future GP Future
SchedStr
Pred Pts Total Pts
1 Buffalo 68 93 0.484 14 0.435 21 114
2 New Jersey 69 92 0.463 13 0.454 17 109
3 Ottawa 69 85 0.486 13 0.443 17 102
4 Pittsburgh 68 84 0.464 14 0.495 16 100
5 Atlanta 70 82 0.472 12 0.465 14 96
6 Tampa Bay 70 82 0.471 12 0.495 13 95
7 NY Islanders 68 78 0.471 14 0.466 16 94
8 NY Rangers 69 76 0.477 13 0.447 15 91
9 Toronto 69 75 0.489 13 0.479 14 89
10 Carolina 70 76 0.470 12 0.471 12 88
11 Montreal 70 74 0.487 12 0.479 12 86
12 Boston 69 71 0.489 13 0.489 13 84
13 Florida 69 71 0.475 13 0.471 13 84
14 Washington 69 60 0.482 13 0.472 11 71
15 Philadelphia 68 49 0.482 14 0.502 9 58

The race is still extremely tight in the eastern conference. Buffalo, New Jersey, Ottawa and Pittsburgh should easily make the playoffs while Atlanta, Tampa and the Islanders are in pretty good shape. The Rangers currently look to be int he best shape for 8th spot with by far the easiest schedule of any in the group looking for that final playoff spot but Toronto and Carolina are right on their tails with Montreal,, Boston and Florida needing to go on a hot streak to realistically get back in the race.

The good news for Leaf fans is they just came through an extremely tough period of their schedule (Buf, at NJ, Buf, Was, Ott, Ott) and managed to stay in the race. They have an easier week this week with games against Tampa, Washington and Montreal followed by a tough week next week with a game against New Jersey and a pair against Buffalo. After that they finish the season with Carolina, Atlanta, Pittsburgh, Rangers, Philadelphia, Islanders and Montreal. The games against Carolina and the Rangers could be huge.

It could be a tough week for the Hurricanes with a game against the suddenly red-hot Florida Panthers tomorrow followed by back to back games against the Devils on Thursday and Saturday. The Rangers have a tough game against the Senators tomorrow night then play Atlanta Friday and Boston Saturday.

The only good news for the Montreal Canadians is that they play both the Leafs and the Rangers two more times this season as well as Boston 3 times and Washington once. But they desperately need to start playing some good, consistent hockey if they want to turn their freefall around.

The Bruins are in much the same situation as the Canadiens but they have to make their move in the next two weeks because the end of their schedule is very tough. This week they play Washington and the Rangers followed by Montreal twice and the Rangers again next week. If they don’t get right into a playoff spot with those 5 games it will be tough to gain ground with Pittsburgh twice, Ottawa twice, Atlanta, New Jersey Montreal and Buffalo to play in the final 2 weeks of the season. Ouch, that’s a tough way to end the season.

The Panthers meanwhile are 9-2-2 in their last 13 games to keep their remote playoff hopes alive. They have 3 games left against Carolina which will be huge for them. They have a mixed schedule otherwise with some tough games against Ottawa, New Jersey and Buffalo but some easier games against Washington (twice) and Philadelphia.

All in all, it should be an fun race to the finish line.

Western Conference Predicted Standings

Pos Team GP Pts Schedule
Strength
Future GP Future
SchedStr
Pred Pts TotalPts
1 Anaheim 70 95 0.512 12 0.481 17 112
2 Nashville 70 98 0.505 12 0.565 14 112
3 Detroit 69 95 0.507 13 0.540 16 111
4 Dallas 68 85 0.516 14 0.497 18 103
5 Vancouver 69 87 0.524 13 0.524 16 103
6 San Jose 69 85 0.517 13 0.479 17 102
7 Minnesota 70 85 0.528 12 0.518 14 99
8 Calgary 68 82 0.521 14 0.543 16 98
9 Colorado 69 74 0.528 13 0.543 13 87
10 St. Louis 68 68 0.531 14 0.522 14 82
11 Edmonton 69 66 0.536 13 0.527 12 78
12 Chicago 68 61 0.527 14 0.548 12 73
13 Columbus 69 61 0.527 13 0.550 11 72
14 Los Angeles 69 57 0.537 13 0.521 11 68
15 Phoenix 68 57 0.530 14 0.539 11 68

The western conference playoff race is all but over. Only a miracle will save the Avalanche now. But there are some good playoff positioning races. Nashville and Detroit are fighting it out for top spot in the central division. Anaheim seems pretty secure in the pacific division title race but are in a dogfight with Nashville and Detroit for the conference title. Meanwhile, the northwest title is far from settled as well with Vancouver holding a slight edge over Minnesota and Calgary.

Mar 112007
 

I was watching some of this afternoons NY Rangers-Carolina game in which the Rangers won 2-1 in a shootout. With the game tied 1-1 in the second it Carolina Hurricane goalie John Grahame got caught out of his net when he played a puck from the corner right to a Rangers player. The Ranger player shot the puck at the empty goal and John Grahame appeared to make a spectacular diving save with the puck deflecting off his goal stick, off the cross bar and out. The play went to video replay and the official announcement was ‘no goal as the puck hit the cross bar’. But upon my further review the puck did in fact enter the goal.
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