(Dave Reginek, Getty Images)
It seems like every hockey fan online, other than those in Detroit, Dallas and Minnesota, has jumped on the Columbus Blue Jackets bandwagon, rooting for them to make the playoffs. Fans on Twitter have latched on to the #Lumbus hashtag, started by the Los Angeles Kings’ twitter account, with every improbable victory leading to eruptions of virtual support.
I admit, I have a purely selfish reason to be rooting for Columbus. At the start of the season, I made the absolutely crazy prediction that the Blue Jackets would make the playoffs, before they had played enough games to make any statistical analysis worthwhile. I was just going with my gut. A month later, the Blue Jackets were 5-12-2 and I was feeling like the biggest idiot in the blogosphere.
Then the Blue Jackets started grinding games into overtime and the shootout and began stringing wins together. They currently sit in eighth in the Western Conference, tied with the Minnesota Wild in points and just one point ahead of the Detroit Red Wings. The Wild and Red Wings both have a game in hand, as do the Dallas Stars, who sit three points back. If the Blue Jackets make the playoffs, I get to play the only-guy-who-predicted-the-Blue-Jackets-would-make-the-playoffs card. If they don’t, I get to play the at-least-I-was-close card, which isn’t anywhere near as fun.
Here are 5 much better reasons why it would be awesome for the Blue Jackets to make the playoffs.
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Jonathan Toews and Jake Muzzin watch Evil Dead. “Ah! No, she cut her tongue in half! Why? Why would she do that?” (Bill Smith, Getty Images)
There’s no disputing that the Chicago Blackhawks are the best team in the West, if not the entire NHL, this season. They are 10 points ahead of the second-place Anaheim Ducks and lead the league in goal-differential by a wide margin. Starting the season with 24 straight games without a regulation loss tends to have that effect and the Blackhawks are currently on another streak, winning 6 straight and going 9 games without a regulation loss.
Everything’s going right for the Blackhawks: their offence, defence, and goaltending are among the best in the league. Astonishingly, they’ve had incredible success this season with a thoroughly mediocre powerplay. Considering the offensive talent they have at their disposal, I shudder to think of how good the Blackhawks could be in the playoffs if their powerplay starts clicking.
So, if the Blackhawks are so clearly the best team in the Western Conference, which team is second best? That question is a lot more difficult to answer.
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Disclaimer: if you’re a fan of say, not the New York Rangers, your team may not have actually been given an outdoor game.
Last night TSN and ESPN both shared the news that NHL is going to have (queue Lebron James) not one outdoor game. Not two. Not three, not four, not five. But six, yes, six outdoor games next season.
Six. Six outdoor games.
Here’s what we’re looking at:
* Leafs / Red Wings will still be held on January first in Michigan at the Big House
Add: Read the rest of this entry »
Today Jonas Siegel of TSN wrote a column on Jake Gardiner, which included a few quotes from the Leafs’ struggling young defenseman. And by “struggling,” I mean “struggling to earn the games and minutes some think he deserves.” If you haven’t picked it up yet, I’m among those people (I wrote this, after all.)
And, with Ryan O’Byrne in tonight, it’s possible he could once again find himself in the press box.
Here’s what Gardiner had to say in the piece, which caught my eye (emphasis mine): Read the rest of this entry »
You know how the trade deadline is. Hell, you know how sports coverage in general is, of which I’m a part: thing happens, instant reaction, definitive statements. “The Penguins were the big deadline winners,” “Tampa Bay should fire Yzerman after that deal,” “the Predators got great return in their trade,” yada yada yada. (“I mentionnned the bisque.”)
But as with all trades, it’s almost impossible to know who won and who lost for a decade-plus. We don’t know what the teams will end up doing with the draft picks, we don’t know which rookies will have storied careers, and we don’t know which veterans have more gas in the tank.
So without further ado – and that seemed like a whole bunch of ado – let’s look at the major deals from yesterday and assess the knowns and unknowns. From guarantees to guesses, here’s what unfolded yesterday. Read the rest of this entry »
Anything you can do I can do better. Even if it’s nothing. (Bruce Bennett, Getty Images)
A grand total of 17 trades were made on April 3rd, most of them happening close to the noon (Western) deadline, making it utterly pointless for TSN Tradecentre to start at 8 AM and making it even more pointless for me to wake up at 5 AM Pacific to run a livechat for Pass it to Bulis. If you thought Archi Zuber and Kyle Smith had it tough with their trade deadline drinking game, I was mainlining Beaver Buzz after 3 hours of sleep and taking care of a 16-month-old child at the same time. You punks in the East have it easy.
Ah, the hard knock life of a blogger.
The biggest criticisms on trade deadline day are frequently reserved for the teams that do nothing. Since I was running a Canucks-centric trade deadline chat, I saw a lot of frustration when the deadline came and went without a single trade for the Canucks, particularly with Roberto Luongo still sitting on the bench with a $5.3 million cap hit. But the Canucks didn’t really do nothing. The Derek Roy trade may not have happened on trade deadline day, but it was still a deadline deal.
So let’s extend things back to March 22nd, when the New Jersey Devils acquired Matt D’Agostini from the St. Louis Blues. That essentially gives us a two-week window of “trade deadline” trades. Things really kicked off in earnest when Pittsburgh traded Joe Morrow for Brendan Morrow and had me secretly hoping they were bringing Ethan Moreau out of retirement simultaneously.
There were 37 trades made during the 2 weeks leading up to the deadline. So which teams did the least? Six teams made just one trade: the Colorado Avalanche, Detroit Red Wings, Florida Panthers, Montreal Canadiens, Toronto Maple Leafs, and Vancouver Canucks. Two teams, however, did absolutely nothing — the New York Islanders and Winnipeg Jets — and they’re both in very similar situations.
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