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November 15, 2009

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Link Surfing In The Pacific Division

November 13, 2009

ARTHUR:
This is Arthur from Anaheim Calling. I never cleared a day or schedule with Gray from Couch Tarts (now at Bloguin), so you may be getting a double dose of the Pac today.

San Jose
First, I refer you to the Couch Tarts post on last night’s game with the Stars. The letdown is emblematic of the Sharks season so far. The team is definitely on top of a competitive division, but they look far more mortal than the squad that came roaring out of the gates last year. (Also, I take credit for this win, as I benched Turco on my fantasy team, thus thoroughly jinxing San Jose’s sticks for the final stanzas of the game).

Los Angeles
The Royal Half muses on a guaranteed win for the Kings, though there seem to be a lot more of those this season.

Dallas
Scott Glennie talked to Brandon of Defending Big D this week. He’s the future of pure scoring in the Pacific Division.

Phoenix
I’m not ashamed to say that I don’t know what’s happening with the Coyotes, despite the fact that the Desert Dogs were the Ducks’ opponents on each of the last two Saturdays, and despite the fact that James Wisniewski controversially Manny-Pacquiao’d Shane Doan in that first meeting. I know this is two weeks old, but I have no links, just this:

Every time I see the video above, I swear I hear Marv Albert saying Boom-shakalaka. I enjoy it only because I remember this video:

Anaheim
The Ducks are on fire sale watch right now, beset by rumors of players headed out the door for little more than a change of locker room scenery. And much of this week’s smoke damage came from Giguere, who threw a few heavy quotes to diligent and diligently under-appreciated beat writer J.P. Hoornstra of the LA Daily News. Giguere clarified everything later, but damage has certainly been done.

Anaheim fans are doing a bit of trainspotting these days, but instead of cars, we’re watching passengers. Who’s coming? Chris Higgins? Vesa Toskala? Who’s going? Jiggy? Hiller? Niedermayer? Coach Carlyle? And now that Ducks owner Henry Samueli is back, what are the chances he fires Bob Murray, the only guy who insists nobody’s going anywhere?

CLS’ #unpublishedNHLbooks entries

November 13, 2009

Inspiration for “Fight Club” by Alex Semin

Originally I was planning on compiling a “Greatest Hits” of the entire Twitterverse, but that task quickly became overwhelming. Just scroll through the entries in the #unpublishedNHLbooks feed and you’ll see that it’s a pretty mind blowing compilation of brilliance (along with squabbles between Penguins, Red Wings, Maple Leafs and Senators fans, etc.).

By no means do I think that mine are the best, but there are a few borderline gems (in my opinion). Feel free to share your favorite(s) in the comments or even share a few of your own if you still think Twitter is just about sharing your grocery lists and news about bowel movements.
Anyway, here’s a full stream of these fake book ideas. Don’t hesitate to admonish/glorify any particularly great/terrible pieces of imaginary literature. (My Twitter Feed)
  1. 50 Easy Insect Recipes by Ray Emery #unpublishedNHLbooks

  2. The Fax of Life by Dale Tallon #unpublishedNHLbooks

  3. “Fight Club” by Alex Semin

  4. “Empty Net” by Patrik Stefan #unpublishedNHLbooks

  5. Modern ILLiterature by Jacques Demers #unpublishedNHLbooks
    I assume someone’s already done “Cents and Sensibility” by Patrick Kane, right? #unpublishedNHLbooks


  6. (I ate) The Three Musketeers by Kyle Wellwood#unpublishedNHLbooks

    “Les Miserables” by Vesa Toskala and the Carolina Hurricanes#unpublishedNHLbooks

  7. “Crime and Punishment” by Colin Campbell #unpublishedNHLbooks

  8. “The Blindside” by Scott Stevens #unpublishedNHLbooks

  9. “Turn the Lights off, my head hurts” by Eric Lindros#unpublishedNHLbooks

  10. “Season on the Brink” by the Phoenix Coyotes#unpublishedNHLbooks

NW Division Link Time

November 12, 2009

Hello everyone, I’m back again for this week’s links from the NW Division. Please enjoy as I continue to search out the best of the NW Division blog writers.

Low on Oil thinks that Penner may be earning himself a spot on the Team Canada Olympic roster…
-I would think that they are mistaken, but interesting read anyways.

One of the writer’s for Hitting the Post, aptly named Wild Road Tripper is following the Wild on their roadtrip. They started in Toronto, will miss Tampa Bay, but be in DC for the Capitals game for Friday’s nights game.
-Love the idea of hockey game roadtripping. The best part about the post is that when they hit Canada, because everyone up here clearly knows someone who knows someone who played with someone in the NHL:
The customs inspector played hockey with the brother of
Cal Clutterbuck and still plays locally in and around Niagara Falls with his cousin, and also has met Owen Nolan, another Niagara region native. “You have tickets?” he asked. “Yes, sure do” was our reply. I thought for a minute that we were going to do a live version of ‘Leafs Lunch’.

Hit the Post travels down to St. Louis and discovers that ‘all you can eat snacks’ really mean all you can eat popcorn, peanuts, ice cream, cheeseburger, turkey sandwich, dibs ice cream treats, pepsi, diet pepsi, sierra mist….

Mozy19 from Canucks Hockey Blog compares Forsberg vs Sundin and makes a case as to why it IS a good idea for the Canucks to try to sign him.

And for you stats heads out there (not me), Five Hole Fanatics explains how to calculate your own team’s scoring chances yourself, which sounds to me as exciting as learning derivatives in Math 101…but hey, to each their own.

Do you think that you’ve written something worthy of next week’s list? Are you a reader of a smaller blog and feel it deserves some attention? Drop me an e-mail at thevancitycanuck [at] gmail.com and maybe you’ll end up in the next NW Links around the League.

Northeast Division Roundup

November 11, 2009

Greetings, hockey fans. This is Meaghan from the illustrious (humour me) Ottawa Senators blog known as Sens at Land’s End with the first of what should be many whirlwind tours of blogs covering the NHL’s Northeast Division.

Without further ado:

Let’s begin with one of the teams furthest from my heart, the Montreal Canadiens. Topham over at Habs blog Lions in Winter has thoughtfully taken on the now infamous Allan Walsh-Jaroslav Halak vs. Carey Price Twitter incident in a post puntastically titled “The Price of Being a Twit.”

Over in the Barilkosphere, Down Goes Brown claims to have revealed the NHL’s top secret flow chart for handing out suspensions. I’m not sure I believe the document posted is authentic, but it seems quite accurate. (This isn’t strictly speaking a story about the Leafs, but I imagine a team that truculent will at some point encounter Colin Campbell and his magical wheel of justice.)

With the Sens being the best the most interesting my favourite team in the league, I was able to find a huge amount of fascinating, high quality material about them. It was hard for me to narrow it down to just one story to post here, but in the end I thought The 6th Sens’ piece about the potential ripple effects of the Steve Yzerman to Ottawa trade that never happened was the most timely, with Yzerman’s well-deserved induction into the Hockey Hall of Fame having taken place on Monday.

Most Bruins blogs appear to be focused on happy things this week. David Krejci has recovered from the dreaded swine flu, and everyone is generally feeling joyful because the Bruins have won their last two games and may finally be getting on track. However, According to Cameron Frye uncovers the darker side of Boston, making the disturbing discovery that Patrice Bergeron may have been replaced by his evil twin.

Finally, the entire Buffalo Sabres blogosphere is evidently too shocked over the fact that Adam Mair was placed on waivers this week to write about much else.

And that’s what’s what in the Northeast this week. If you have any suggestions for posts I might link to in next week’s roundup, shoot me an email at sensatlandsend [at] gmail [dot] com and let me know. I’m sure there are tons of worthy blogs I’m not aware of, and I’d appreciate any tips pointing me in the direction of great material.

Central Division Schtuff.

November 10, 2009

Wow, quiet week, apparently. Main stories? Hm.

Outstanding summary of Hull’s career and what he means to both St. Louis and hockey. The complete speeches of the gentlemen inducted into the hall are available at NHL.com. Hull’s was pure class, as was Yzerman’s. Congrats to the two reps most associated with the Central Division.

As a Thrashers fan as well as a Blues fan, I’m pretty sensitive to rumors of teams moving and reports of impending doom. Apparently there’re rumblings out of Columbus that the team is in financial trouble and could be looking at a move without a tax hike for the residents of the city. Well, Mike McLean over at The Cannon takes a look at the situation. Welcome to club of writers that has to defend their team constantly. Enjoy.

Apparently Jason Williams has broken his right fibula. Personally, I think it’s karma for putting Beyonce on a locker room playlist. But that could just be me.

Links around the Web, since the league didn’t do much for me this week

November 7, 2009

I am not a baseball fan. Of all the “major” sports, America’s ex-pastime is the one I have the most difficulty commenting on. Really, the most pointed analysis I provided in the Yankees’ run to the World Series was “C. C. Sabathia reminds me of a brontosaurus when he extends his neck.”


Maybe I’m just seeing things.

That being said, I couldn’t help but feel a little uneasy about the Yankees’ championship victory. It was as if the blond haired evil skiing high school quarterback steals the leggy blonde, but John Cusack is nowhere to be found.
Vance from Bangin Panger brought a great blog post by Joe Posnanski to my attention … it accurately captures my feelings of unrest. Even Chicago Blackhawks fans should be glad the NHL went with a salary cap after reading a piece like that.

Although ESPN the Magazine is at best the ugly stepchild of Sports Illustrated, they had an offer for a $3/year subscription so I thought, “Why not?”

I’m not sure if you’ll be able to read these because they’re “Insider” stories (let me know in the comments), but the “Player X” columns have been some of the more interesting/odd pieces I’ve read in a while.

On a bittersweet note, it’ll be pretty shocking if the magazine survives my 3 year, $9 commitment …

By now you’ve already seen Ohlund‘s vicious (but perfectly legal) hit on Phil Kessel, but it’s been a slow week in me caring about the hockey blogosphere so let’s bask in its barbarism:

Daaaang.

It would be useless – and quite futile – to point out a specific post; instead, I will just implore you (if you’re a blogger, a writer, a business person, if you have a pulse) to take a look at Seth Godin‘s blog. You might feel better about yourself, but you’ll probably also feel the need to do a little soul searching.

I know I’m far from being done with that, myself.

***

Did you write something interesting this week? Or maybe you read something that simply should not be allowed to float off into the wild blue irrelevant? E-mail me your links at cyclelikesedins@gmail.com. Please?

Links! Links! Thursday NW Division Link Time

November 5, 2009

Thanks to James for giving me the keys to CLS, I’m pretty sure he’s gonna regret it. My name is Vancity Canuck, and you may know me from previous CLS writings or my other blog tHB. I’m gonna start off small here with a little tour around the Northwest division. I didn’t realize that signing up to find some stories about the NW Division would actually require me to read about other teams besides the Canucks.

Let’s start our tour, shall we?


The KB has compiled a list of Getting to Know Your Backup Goalies. If you haven’t ever read the Kurtenblog before, well let me introduce the j-ckasses that are paid to write about sports and chat on messenger by the MSM. In this week’s list they introduce the Swedish backup, who learns that “The biggest difference in the NHL is how all the players can skate forwards and backwards.

Jibblescribbits has also complied a list! Their is about Why the Flames received their Flu shots. As a Canadian, Albertans seem like they would be the type to do anything for Kevin Sorbo’s Nerdy Little Brother, Jay Bouwmeester.

Hitting the Post did not have a list. Disappointing. But they did address the question: is their team the Least Intriguing team in the NHL? So what about this Wild team is interesting, right now? Their answer: nothing. Nada. Nathan. Nil. Bopkus. At least we’re all on the same page.

Low on Oil looks at being an Oilers fan and compares it to Myth Busters, exes and Mac Ads.

And if you want to read the latest issue of Tigerbeat, or Teen Beat or whatever they have Lipgloss/Tswizzle’s face all over, I put together a collection of underage, androgynous faces of popstars and teen actors attending recent hockey games, so I ask the question is the NHL celebrity trendy these days? Maybe I should have asked the question: why are these people famous?

Do you think that you’ve written something worthy of next week’s list? Are you a reader of a smaller blog and feel it deserves some attention? Drop me an e-mail at thevancitycanuck [at] gmail.com and maybe you’ll end up in the next NW Links around the League, I promise to be relatively nice.

CLS shares its "NHL BCS" (First Week of Nov.)

November 5, 2009

I’ve been throwing some fun little statistics at you lately, but numbers are only fun when they lead to people writing angry comments. That (along with porn and pirating music/movies/ships) is what the Internet is for, right?


So to cause you a conniption or two, I took the composite average of each teams rankings in the four categories (Net Goals, True PP, True PK and Special Teams Plus/Minus). Granted, some stats are more important than others … and it is still a small sample … but let’s see where each team stacks up.

The Excel Spreadsheet will be listed at the bottom of this post so you can see for yourself.
Please Note: these rankings are based on stats taken before Tuesday’s games, just like the stats from yesterday’s post.

Final Note: This is a COMPLETELY impartial list based strictly off the numbers. There may be Power Rankings based on projections and opinions in the future, but for now this is just rankings along with commentary.

(The commentary is delightfully biased, however.)

The Elite

1. San Jose Sharks

Average: 5

My fearful Stanley Cup pick is doing pretty well so far. They’re the second ranked team in Net Goals and Special Teams Plus/Minus. Maybe they won’t stay at #1 all season but they’re likely to be an elite team in just about any numerical system barring catastrophes.
2. Philadelphia Flyers
Average: 5.25
Much like last year, the Flyers stand out once you consider True PP and True PK. They’re also pretty damn solid at 5-on-5, to boot. So far people who chose a SCF run for Philly are looking fairly bright.
3. New York Rangers
Average: 5.5
Their True PP and Net Goals Scored could be altered quite a bit if Marian Gaborik cannot stay healthy and their young D slows down. Still, their strong showing is a sign that Torts knows what he’s doing.
4. Colorado Avalanche
Average: 6.25
While only being solid on the PP, the Avs have been an elite team in the other three categories. Who knows how long they can keep this up, but so far the numbers say “top 10 team.”
5. Atlanta Thrashers

Average: 7
An Ilya-free team could drop precipitously, but the chink in Atlanta’s armor has been Net Goals instead of Penalty Kill. Can their out-of-nowhere strong goaltending continue? Who knows.
Strong Contenders

6. Pittsburgh Penguins

Average: 10.5
Injuries to Evgeni Malkin, Sergei Gonchar and others will probably mean that the Penguins’ numbers will fall a bit (or dramatically) across the board. It’s still pretty impressive that the Penguins have managed a 7-0 road record, so far.
7. (tied) Phoenix Coyotes
Average: 11.25
The only below average unit appears to be their Penalty Kill (seventeenth best True PK%). Phoenix might not be playing a crowd-pleasing style, but winning is a good thing, too. Good luck ‘Yotes.
7. (tied) Calgary Flames
Average: 11.25
A highly efficient (third best True PP) powerplay is what makes the Flames dangerous so far this season. I’d also like to say “not employing Mike Keenan” is another strength in their favor.
9. Columbus Blue Jackets
Average: 12.75
Oddly enough, the Blue Jackets are a little bit weak in Net Goals Scored (19th best) while having strong special teams. Don’t be shocked if this club makes the playoffs again this year.
10. Chicago Blackhawks
Average: 13.75
A surprisingly tepid PP (ranked 20th in True PP) underscores just how scary this group will be whenever they get healthy returns from Captain Serious and Marian Hossa. The John Madden acquisition looks like a smart move.
11. (tied) Ottawa Senators
Average: 14
The Heatley-free Senators are pretty weak with a man advantage (25th in True PP) but sport the best True PK in the league. Hell, they’ve only allowed seven PP goals while scoring four shorthanded!
11. (tied) New York Islanders
Average: 14
Perhaps the biggest hole in this ranking system, the Islanders have at least shown a notable friskiness so far this season. They’ve managed to stay in a lot of games with efficient special teams but lack the talent level to do much 5-on-5. You cannot ask NYI to do much better than 5-5-5 in 15 GP.
13. (tied) Vancouver Canucks
Average: 15
The Canucks’ numbers are all over the place, but ultimately they’re fittingly middle-of-the-road. It’s going to be tough for Vancouver to make the playoffs this year, let alone win their division, with the schedule and obstacles (Luongo injury) they are facing.
13. (tied) Minnesota Wild
Average: 15
The Wild make it this high because of their absolutely excellent PK and a respectable PP. The bottom line, though, is that they’re 27th in the NHL in Net Goals Scored. Middle-of-the-road is probably their ceiling at this point.
15. Washington Capitals
Average: 16.75
There was a time when it seemed like Washington might compile the greatest PP unit ever. That unit slowed down considerably, but the Caps rank highly in Net Goals Scored (7th) and should be a top-1o team in these rankings by the end of the season. Even if Ovie misses a few weeks.
16. (tied) Buffalo Sabres
Average: 18
Buffalo is playing over their heads right now, with the sixth best ranking in Net Goals Scored despite mediocre special teams numbers. Let’s hope Ryan Miller and friends can keep it together, though.
Ham and Eggers

16. (tied) Edmonton Oilers

Average: 18
Despite finishing with the same average as Buffalo, the Oilers are the quintessential mediocre NHL team. They rank middle of the road in all four categories. They average one point earned per game played (15). Yawn.
18. New Jersey Devils
Average: 18.25
Nothing surprising about these Devils, really. My guess is they make it to the playoffs and then find their thin defense unable to support anything more than a second round run at best. Still, with all the turnover in this decade it’s amazing this team can keep up year after year.
19. (tied) Los Angeles Kings
Average: 18.5
The Kings ultimately are brought down by a fairly awful penalty kill (28th ranked True PK%) but are around the top third in the league in Net Goals Scored and True PP. The Kings really could be primed for a playoff run this season.
19. (tied) Dallas Stars
Average: 18.5
Dallas is in an odd spot this year. Yes, they do have some serious talent but this team is far from elite. It’s ultimately unclear what direction the Stars want to take. Is simply making the playoffs the only goal year after year?
21. Detroit Red Wings
Average: 18.75
These stats were taken before Chris Osgood managed a nice shutout of the fledgling Boston Bruins, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the Red Wings have left a lot to be desired in their own end. Their PP is still pretty damn deadly, though. They’ll be OK. Will they be great? That remains to be seen.
Government Cheese

22. Toronto Maple Leafs

Average: 21.5
Toronto is an odd duck in these stats: the best True PP% and the worst True PK% on one team. Let’s face it, though, those special teams numbers won’t really mean much if Toronto remains the fourth-worst team in Net Goals.
23. St. Louis Blues

Average: 21.75
Quietly one of the league’s most disappointing teams.
24. Carolina Hurricanes
Average: 23.25
The worst team in the league in Net Goals and that’s before the team was shutout. Yikes. Their plight shows that you shouldn’t make team building decisions based off of nostalgia.
25. (tied) Boston Bruins

Average: 25
An absolutely abysmal special teams and a general lack of firepower (not to mention some crucial injuries) leave the Bruins among the dregs of society. The truth is that this team is somewhere between their current state and their euphoric year in ’08-’09. My bet is that they make the playoffs, but it’s going to be tough.
25. (tied) Nashville Predators
Average: 25
Is there a team more in need of a top draft pick than the Predators? All those years of barely making/missing the playoffs left them with a shallow pool of genuine NHL talent. Time to tank, I’d say.
Just Ugly

27. (tied) Montreal Canadiens

Average: 25.25
All that money spent for a team that will need to fight and claw desperately to secure a 7th or 8th seed. Without Andrei Markov, the Canadiens don’t even have a particularly effective PP.
27. (tied) Anaheim Ducks
Average: 25.25
It’s been an ugly season for the quackers so far. With the league’s worst special teams plus/minus and some serious blueline issues, the Ducks will need even better work from their 14th-best powerplay. Anaheim managed a near-miraculous run to the playoffs last year, but can they really affordable to dig such a big hole with Los Angeles and Phoenix emerging and Dallas showing some life?
29. Tampa Bay Lightning
Average: 26.25
A real oddball team. Steve Stamkos looks like the real deal while I’m starting to wonder if Vincent Lecavalier is really overrated.
30. Florida Panthers
Average: 28.5
What happens to Florida if Vokoun walks? This team is grasping at straws as is, but without Vokoun’s elite-ish goaltending they would be in some serious trouble. Then again, I guess they already are?

Here’s the spreadsheet:

Return to Stat Nerdia: An Update on True PP, True PK, Net Goals and Special Teams Plus/Minus

November 4, 2009

The sample size is still pretty small, but I thought it would be a good time to take another look at two of the stats I made up (True PP and True PK) as well as where each team ranks in Net Goals and Special Teams Plus/Minus. The original posts can be found here and here. Each screen capture will have an explanation of the stats that are included. Click on them to get a better look.

Net Goals (all stats taken before Tuesday’s games)

Net Goals refers to a simple formula: a team’s total goals for minus a team’s total goals against.

Special Teams Plus/Minus (all stats taken before Tuesday’s games)

(Powerplay Goals For subtracted by Shorthanded Goals Allowed) minus (Penalty Kill Goals Allowed subtracted by Shorthanded Goals For) is the formula for Special Teams Plus/Minus.

True PP%

To simplify things, True PP% is a lot like PP% except it factors in the Shorthanded Goals a team allows along with the PP goals it scores.

True PK%

Much like True PP%, except this considers the SHG a team scores along with the PP goals it allows.


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