Archive for the ‘Bottoms Up’ Category

Bottoms Up is a weekly feature on Backhand Shelf that admits that sometimes the underdog doesn’t win: sometimes they just lose and lose and lose some more. In this edition, the losers are going to lose a few players.

We are just over a week away from the NHL trade deadline, which you already know because the hockey media won’t shut up about it. Don’t get me wrong, I like trades and the trade deadline itself can be exciting. What I don’t like is the constant rumour-mongering leading up to the deadline. The vast majority of trade rumours not only never come to fruition, but were also bollocks to begin with.

Eric Duhatschek drove the point home in a recent article, pointing out the massive amount of work that trade rumours create despite their absurdity. Harrison Mooney produced a step-by-step “How To” guide to creating your own trade rumours to show how truly easy it is to fabricate them.

The immediacy of social media has made trade rumours even more infectious, as blogs and media place far too much importance on being the first to report rumours and trades and far less importance on ensuring that those rumours and trades are factual.

With that said, it’s still worth looking at what might happen at the deadline, particularly for the teams wallowing in the league’s basement. While everyone else is wrapped up in Rick Nash and Jeff Carter speculation, I want to look just at the pending unrestricted free agents.

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Bottoms Up is a weekly feature on Backhand Shelf that admits that sometimes the underdog doesn’t win: sometimes they just lose and lose and lose some more. In this edition, we look at when the underdogs are going under.

Here’s a hockey truism: teams that lose a lot tend to get outscored. There’s actually a cause and effect relationship there: if you score fewer goals than the opposition, you will lose.  Score fewer goals than your opposition a whole bunch of times, you will lose a whole bunch of times.

That’s not exactly breaking new ground. The teams with the worst records in the NHL also have the worst goal differentials, headlined by the Columbus Blue Jackets, who have been outscored by a whopping 54 goals this season. But I want to get a bit more specific.

When are things going wrong for the NHL’s basement dwellers? In what period are they getting outscored the most?

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Bottoms Up is a weekly feature on Backhand Shelf that admits that sometimes the underdog doesn’t win: sometimes they just lose and lose and lose some more. In this edition, what is this I don’t even

Weeks like this almost make me believe that hockey gods actually exist, that the gods of Mount Olympus turned to sports and athletics when people stopped worshipping them. These hypothetical hockey gods were capricious this week, making a series of bizarre events take place for which I simply do not have an explanation.

The four teams bunking in the bottom of the Eastern and Western Conferences each had something bizarre, unlikely, and unusual happen this past week. For two of them, it was positive, for the other two, not so much. Here’s what confounded me this week.

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Remember when I said the Columbus Blue Jackets are the Charlie Brown of the NHL? They proved it again Wednesday night against the LA Kings, finding a bizarre new way to lose: time clock malfunction.

Take a look at Drew Doughty’s game winner with 0.4 seconds remaining.

Did anything catch your eye? How about the play clock pausing briefly at 1.8 seconds?

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Bottoms Up is a weekly feature on Backhand Shelf that admits that sometimes the underdog doesn’t win: sometimes they just lose and lose and lose some more. In this edition, we look at their representatives at the NHL All-Star Game.

John Tavares was a steal in the 16th round for Team Alfredsson.

The stars of the NHL descended on Ottawa for the NHL All-Star Weekend on Thursday, with the festivities kicking off in earnest later today with the Skills Competition. Every year, representatives from all 30 teams take part in the highly anticipated contest, competing to be the fastest skater, the hardest and most accurate shooter, the most creative on the breakaway, and the best relay-er. Okay, that last one doesn’t really work.

This year, not all 30 teams are represented, and while you might expect that the league’s worst teams might be lacking in All-Star representation, the two teams without a single player participating in the All-Star Weekend are both in playoff contention. Neither the Winnipeg Jets nor the New Jersey Devils are represented, though both had players invited who could not attend due to injury.

Many players were unable to attend due to injury (or vacation plans), but no players were invited from the Jets and Devils to replace them.  But all the teams in the basement of the league are represented, so lets take a look at which players are having All-Star seasons for the worst teams in the NHL.

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Bottoms Up is a weekly feature on Backhand Shelf that admits that sometimes the underdog doesn’t win: sometimes they just lose and lose and lose some more. This week, two new teams joined the ranks of the underest of underdogs.

This week, two teams managed to escape the clutches of the cellar, if only temporarily. Both the New York Islanders and Anaheim Ducks have won 6 of their last 10 games and have managed to move into 13th in their respective conferences. In their place, we welcome the Tampa Bay Lightning and Edmonton Oilers to Bottoms Up.

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Bottoms Up is a weekly feature on Backhand Shelf that admits that sometimes the underdog doesn’t win: sometimes they just lose and lose and lose some more. In this edition, we look at what miracles would need to occur for these teams to stop losing and what they’ll get if they keep losing.

The light at the end of a very, very dark tunnel. (ontariohockeyleague.com)

On Tuesday, Scott Howson finally accepted reality and fired Scott Arniel. Somehow, it took him half a season to figure out that being in last place in the NHL was not a good thing. Yes, the Blue Jackets have had some terrible luck this season and absolutely horrid goaltending, both of which are not Arniel’s fault, but it was still remarkable how long Arniel managed to last behind the bench of the Blue Jackets.

After 43 games, the Blue Jackets have a measly 29 points. The next worst team, the Anaheim Ducks, have 35 points in the same number of games. Columbus is on pace for just 55 points, 7 fewer than the Edmonton Oilers managed last year when they were the worst team in the NHL.

The Blue Jackets are well on their way to drafting Nail Yakupov of the OHL’s Sarnia Sting, the consensus number one pick  for this summer’s draft. It would take a concerted effort (say, a Bobby Ryan trade) by one of the other basement dwelling teams to catch them.

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