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The Realignment Fiasco December 6, 2011

Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
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Just by my usage of the word ‘fiasco’ should tell you how I feel about the decision made by the NHL’s Board of Governors. Andy Boron has an excellent summary of what the realignment looks like, and what it means for the Buffalo Sabres. While looking at all the changes, just remember that all the steps taken were approved by at least two-thirds of the GMs.

So, here’s a look at the teams that will comprise the four conferences. Yes, that is not a typo, we will have four conferences – two in the East comprising seven teams each, and two in the West comprising eight teams each. One assumes they will also have some better names than the generic A-D they have right now. I sincerely hope they do not go with naming them after past ‘great’ players, that always opens up a six-pack can of worms. So basically instead of moving either Detroit or Nashville or even Columbus to the East to fill the spot vacated by Winnipeg/Atlanta, the GMs opted to go with a completely different format for the league.

As far as how the 82-game season breaks down – each team will play the other teams in the conference six times (3H, 3A), and every other team in the league twice (1H, 1A). You can bet there is going to be a lot more travel fatigue involved. That also means your team is going to see a lot less of teams that were in your conference in the current alignment.

And then there is the playoffs, where it really gets murky. The top four teams in each conference will qualify for the playoffs, and the first two rounds will be held on an intra-conference basis, i.e the winners between A1-A4 and A2-A3 will face off for the conference title, and the four conference champions will then be reseeded for the Stanley Cup semi-finals. How they will be reseeded no one knows. Personally I can’t believe that setting up a fair and reasonable system for the playoffs wasn’t a higher priority for the thinktank of the league.

How it’s fair that the two eight-team divisions in the West have four teams qualify for the playoffs while the East has four each from the two seven-team divisions go through is also another mystery. At the very least the East should have had one eight-team conference and one seven-team conference, so that there are 15 teams in each ‘region’. But then the GMs voted this in, so evidently the smaller teams in the West either think they’re fine, or else they were badly outnumbered.. I expect details on the voting will eventually leak out, especially when some teams miss out on playoffs by the skin of their teeth.

Now, how do these changes affect the Sabres? First of all the boys will get to work on their tans a bit more with an additional pair of games in the Sunshine State added to the schedule. Sabres fans from the Carolinas north to NYC though will be shorted one game. Personally I don’t mind playing the Flyers and Penguins less, but I get the feeling we’re seeing years of history slipping away. And then come the playoffs. Back between 1982-93, the NHL used to have intra-divisional playoffs, and these were discontinued because of the lack of diversity this posed. Read this article by Dave Davis on how the Sabres struggled to get past the first rounds of the playoffs thanks to this.  With the Bruins looking as dominant as they have the last couple of years, we can expect that this quickly-simmering rivalry to kick up a few more notches into a furiously-boiling feud in no time at all.

What are your thoughts on the realignment?

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You can bet on that October 6, 2011

Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
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If you’re looking to place some wagers on hockey futures Vegas has the lines for you. Even if you aren’t interested in a flutter with the bookies, it’s interesting because the odds placed on certain propositions say a lot about how hockey neutrals think the season will pan out.

As of October 6th, here are the odds for various categories for the NHL, courtesy of Bodog.com

2012 Stanley Cup champion:

2012 Hart Memorial Trophy for Most Valuable Player of the season:

Alexander Ovechkin (WAS)
4/1
Steven Stamkos (TB)
Sidney Crosby (PIT)
Daniel Sedin (VAN)
Evgeni Malkin (PIT)
Henrik Sedin (VAN)
Jonathan Toews (CHI)
Pavel Datsyuk (DET)

2012 Maurice ‘Rocket’ Richard Trophy for top goal scorer:

Steven Stamkos (TB)
7/2
Alexander Ovechkin (WAS)
Corey Perry (ANA)
Evgeni Malkin (PIT)
Sidney Crosby (PIT)
Daniel Sedin (VAN)
Jeff Carter (CBJ)
Rick Nash (CBJ)

2012 Art Ross Trophy for top points scorer:

Alexander Ovechkin (WAS)
7/2
Steven Stamkos (TB)
Daniel Sedin (VAN)
Martin St. Louis (TB)
Evgeni Malkin (PIT)
Henrik Sedin (VAN)
Sidney Crosby (PIT)
Corey Perry (ANA)
Pavel Datsyuk (DET)

2012 James Norris Trophy for best defenseman:

Shea Weber (NAS)
Zdeno Chara (BOS)
Nicklas Lidstrom (DET)
Mike Green (WAS)
Drew Doughty (LAK)
Kris Letang (PIT)
Duncan Keith (CHI)
Keith Yandle (PHO)
Christian Ehrhoff (BUF)

2012 Vezina Trophy for best goaltender:

Ryan Miller (BUF)
Tim Thomas (BOS)
Roberto Luongo (VAN)
Henrik Lundqvist (NYR)
Carey Price (MTL)
Marc-Andre Fleury (PIT)
Martin Brodeur (NJ)
Pekka Rinne (NAS)

2012 Calder Memorial Trophy for Rookie of the Year:

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (EDM)
Gabriel Landeskog (COL)
Brayden Schenn (PHI)
Nino Niederreiter (NYI)
Adam Larsson (NJ)

Note: Please bet responsibly. This author does not in any way condone gambling, and neither is this an official promotion of Bodog.com

About the Olympics… September 6, 2009

Posted by calvin in Uncategorized.
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I can see valid points from both sides of this “should they or shouldn’t they” argument regarding whether or not the players should be allowed to participate in the Olympics. That being said, since this league is really the only professional sports league with A LOT of their players from countries other than the US, not letting these players play for their countries is never going to go down well with them.

Here’s my overall thought – we have enough problems (see: CBA, potential lockout). Let’s not make this a contentious issue. Yes, it disrupts the league every four years, yes, many NHL’ers don’t play in the Olympics and so they sit around for two weeks. I understand all that. I just think the NHL has bigger fish to fry.

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