Archive for the ‘Graphs’ Category

After 28 games in the '95 season, the Oilers were the only team in a playoff position to drop out.

By now you’ve already seen some sort of variation on what the NHL standings would have looked like after 48 games last season. The way I have it calculated, there would have been no changes in the Eastern Conference as far as teams making the playoffs. There would have been some qualms with seeding, but the same eight teams would have reached. In the Western Conference, the one difference would have been Minnesota replacing Phoenix for a spot.

Again, seedings change, but it doesn’t make too big of a difference anymore. Teams are probably closer together in talent than they were six or seven years ago, and in each of the last two years, the 8th seed in the Western Conference has been touted as “not your traditional 8 seed”.

The Stanley Cup winning team and players won’t also have asterisks engraved next to their names, although there will be some form of debate, because of the shortened season. It’s funny because for the most part, playoff spots are won and lost after about 45-50 games. The remainder is about seeding, and hope. The single point for a loss in overtime or a shootout was carefully crafted to keep playoff races tight and down to the wire.

So, since it will be so close this year, every game matters, right? Well…

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Rarities in this image: The fight in the playoffs, and the underage fan in Philadelphia who doesn't appear to be interested.

Don’t think any of this is normal.

In last season’s first round, I went through and counted up three major penalties total: an elbow by Mike Richards, a boarding call on Milan Lucic, and a charge by Jamie McGinn. I don’t remember those particular offences, but what’s important is that, in the 49 games that were played in last season’s first round, there were just three major penalties that were for an infraction other than fighting.

This year in the first round, in 19 games, we’ve seen a board by Byron Bitz, an elbow by Carl Hagelin, a charge by Andrew Shaw and a crosscheck by Arron Asham, probably the most egregious of the four penalties. That’s already four major penalties, and it could have been five it we also factor in Matt Carkner’s unrequited fighting major on Brian Boyle in Game Two of New York and Ottawa.

They call it “playoff hockey” but it’s anything but. When a good hard game is played between October and March, announcers will jump on clichés like a Scotsman on Haggis. A “playoff-type atmosphere” is a favourite up in the press box, but that really begs the question. What is a playoff-type atmosphere? Brayden Schenn, when prompted, said that Game 3 between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia qualifies. I’d have to ask him: ‘Do you actually watch any playoff hockey? Why are there so many more major penalties in the playoffs compared to the regular season than every before?’

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The importance of tanking

The one time the guy makes a save, and it hurts his team. Come ON!

First off, I don’t necessarily endorse tanking, nor do I really think it exists at a player level in a way that interferes with the way games are played. I would love for the system to not reward the team that loses the most games down the stretch to be one that gets a better pick; it doesn’t make the games more fun to watch as a fan when you’re actively rooting for your team to lose.

You see this save by James Reimer?

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