Kukla's Korner Hockey
from Jonathan Wllis of Sportsnet,
At the 2012 Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, PhD candidate Adam Gold presented a simple solution. Instead of relying on a lottery that actually serves to diminish the value of games late in the season, Gold proposed that draft order should be determined by total points recorded after a club is eliminated from the post-season.
“In a way, the season ends once teams can no longer win a championship, yet fans are still asked to pay a premium to go and see their favourite teams perform,” Gold said. “In an attempt to inspire fans, to maintain interest, passion and optimism in their favourite teams while still giving the worst teams that need the most help the best picks to get the best players, I respectfully propose that draft order should be determined based on how teams perform after becoming mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.”
A bad team would have a longer time period to rack up points, while teams on the playoff bubble might have just one or two games.
via Hometown Hockey,
On October 25, Kris Versteeg scored a goal. It wasn’t a game winner or a highlight reel play or a career milestone… just another NHL goal like dozens scored that night throughout the league. But to Rochelle and Sara Knapp of Missoula, Montana, it wasn’t just another goal: it was the fulfilment of a promise Kris made to them only hours earlier in memory of Rochelle’s late mother, who died of cancer.
NEW YORK (March 30, 2015) – Minnesota Wild goaltender Devan Dubnyk, Columbus Blue Jackets right wing Cam Atkinson and Colorado Avalanche center Ryan O’Reilly have been named the NHL’s “Three Stars” for the week ending March 29.
from Ian Mendes of TSN,
What a difference a week makes.
Last Monday, the Ottawa Senators beat the San Jose Sharks and climbed past the Boston Bruins and into the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. The confidence was at an all-time high. The city was alive with a buzz that is usually only reserved for the playoffs.
But as we sit here today, the Senators – and their fan base – appear to be an emotionally fragile group. Three consecutive losses will tend to do that.
So what happened to the uber-confident Senators who went on one of the greatest runs in franchise history? There are a few theories floating around as to why Ottawa's playoff bubble has burst. The answer probably lies with a combination of all five of these answers, but here's a look at the top reasons why the Senators have probably lost three games in a row – and their mojo at the same time:
The Senators look like a shell of the team that stormed back with four third-period goals against San Jose last Monday for a convincing 5-2 victory. In the three games since, Ottawa has looked tired, flat and tentative – and that's being as polite as possible.
BLACKHAWKS, FLAMES CLIMB IN DIVISION RACES
Both the Blackhawks and Flames won on Sunday to climb into third place in their respective divisions:
* Jonathan Toews scored the tiebreaking goal with 30.8 seconds remaining in regulation to help the Blackhawks snap a two-game skid overall and pick up their seventh consecutive road victory over the Jets/Thrashers dating to Dec. 11, 2005 (including a 4-0-0 mark in Winnipeg).
* Toews, a Winnipeg native, has 5-7—12 in 11 games against the Jets since the franchise relocated to his hometown in 2011-12. He ranks second on the Blackhawks with 25-37—62 this season, including five game-winning goals.
* Behind 3-2 after 40 minutes, Patrick Sharp scored the tying goal early in the third period. Brad Richards and Andrew Shaw supplied the other goals.
The NHL doesn’t sell winning to its fans. Only one franchise gets to deliver on that advertising each season. The league sells hope – the hope that winning all the games that matter is something that will happen this season, or in the case of sad-sack teams, that it will take place in the near-future. When you see fans start to abandon teams – as they did in recent years in Florida and Arizona after years of either mismanagement or relocation rumors – it’s because the hope pipeline has run dry. That’s what the points system is working to do: keep each of the 30 spouts from the main pipeline open for as many days as possible.
You can criticize the NHL for many things – and goodness knows, I do – but it’s difficult to envision the NHL’s system working much better than it does at the moment. Hockey still matters in virtually all of the league’s cities, and nearly every game on the calendar still means something. Not every league can boast of such good fortune.
-Adam Proteau of The Hockey News where you can read more on this topic.
Just under four minutes long.
from Pierre LeBrun of ESPN,
Just when you start to believe a little more in the Vancouver Canucks after some stretches that impress you, they give you the other side of the coin and do something like lose back-to-back home games to the Colorado Avalanche and Dallas Stars.
Vancouver sits at 91 points and has a tenuous hold on the No. 2 spot in the Pacific Division, followed by Calgary (89 points, winners at Nashville on Sunday), and hard-charging L.A. (88 points).
Winnipeg (90 points) also figures in when it comes to the wild-card race, but we know for a fact two teams from that the Pacific trio of the Canucks, Flames and Kings will end up in the playoffs.
Here's the daunting reality for the Canucks, though: they are heading on the road for a four-game trek through St. Louis, Nashville, Chicago and Winnipeg. Now, the Canucks' 22-12-3 road record suggests they can play well away from home, but the chips are really down now. This trip will make or break their season.
read more NHL topics fromt the ESPN hockey writers...
from WesGilbertson of the Calgary Sun,
WILL THEY PUNCH A PLAYOFF TICKET?
At this point, it’s the only question that really matters.
Thanks to Sunday’s triumph, the Flames once again leapfrogged the Los Angeles Kings, moving one point ahead of the Stanley Cup champions for third spot in the Pacific Division standings. The Kings do have one game in hand.
The Flames are also just one point behind the Winnipeg Jets, who are clinging to the final wildcard position in the Western Conference.
The crew from Calgary has six games remaining on its schedule, and it’s made it clear the goal is to win all of them. That’s probably not necessary, but they certainly can’t afford many losses.
The Flames host the Kings in Game 81 and then travel to Winnipeg for their regular-season finale, so fans might want to start growing out their fingernails for what could be a nerve-wracking win-to-get-in scenario.
What’s left in the tank?
from Todd D Milewski of USCHO.com,
One side of the Frozen Four bracket features teams that have combined for 12 national championships and 43 Frozen Four appearances.
On the other side, the national championships column is empty and Frozen Four experience is slight.
Boston University will play North Dakota in a semifinal matchup of two of the most accomplished programs in college hockey history. Providence and Omaha are matched in the other semi, with the Friars making their first Frozen Four appearance in 30 years and the Mavericks their first ever.
The Terriers and UND are both No. 1 seeds; Providence emerged from the East Regional as a No. 4 seed, while UNO was the No. 2 seed in the Midwest.
They’ll meet at TD Garden in Boston for the Frozen Four on April 9 and 11.
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