Thursday, March 3, 2011

Canucks Cup Contenders


Unlike Charlie Sheen, I've had a rather quiet week. I've watched with increasing disinterest as the Canadian media dissected the rather tedious NHL trade deadline, the US media decried the end of the NBA as we know it, the Japanese media went on and on about rookie pitcher Yuki Saito, and the NFL owners continue to fritter away their future. In the meantime, I've left the commenting to those who think they have something insightful to say, which is why it has been a bit quiet here.

I'm also working a couple of temp jobs to save up for the next big trip. Not sure exactly where and when that will be, but there will be something posted here shortly. But two jobs means little time to post. I'm sure you are all heartbroken, but you need not fret any longer. The NHL has passed the 3/4 pole, and so it is time to look at the standings and forecast the Stanley Cup winner. I know just how much all my readers look forward to these prediction posts like Leaf fans anticipating their team's playoff run. You'll likely be similarly disappointed, but here goes anyway.

As usual, I take each team's record at exactly the same point and then run the playoffs with some simple rules: the team that is winning the season series will win the playoff series (with overtime wins less valuable than regulation wins but more valuable than shootout victories), and if the season series is tied, the better team advances. When I did this back at the halfway mark, I made a mistake on the tiebreaker rules. If teams are tied in points, the first tiebreaker is now total wins excluding shootout wins. After that, head-to-head results matter, and then goal differential.

Here are the standings at the 62-game mark:
East GP W  L  O Pts
Phil 62 40 16 6  86
TB   62 37 18 7  81
Bos  62 36 19 7  79
Pitt 62 36 20 6  78
Was  62 32 20 10 74
Mtl  62 32 23 7  71
NYR  62 32 26 4  68
Buff 62 30 25 7  67
-------------------
Car  62 29 24 9  67
Tor  62 27 27 8  62
Atl  62 25 26 11 61
Flo  62 26 29 7  59
NJ   62 27 31 4  58
NYI  62 23 31 8  54
Ott  62 21 32 9  51

West GP W  L  O Pts
Van  62 39 14 9  87
Det  62 38 18 6  82
SJ   62 35 21 6  76
Phx  62 33 20 9  75
LA   62 35 23 4  74
Minn 62 33 23 6  72
Dal  62 33 23 6  72
Chi  62 33 23 6  72
-------------------
Nsh  62 31 23 8  70
Cal  62 31 23 8  70
Ana  62 32 25 5  69
Cmb  62 31 24 7  69
Stl  62 28 25 9  65
Col  62 26 29 7  59
Edm  62 20 34 8  48
I won't bother going over the predicted playoffs - Philly defeats Washington in the East and Vancouver knocks off Phoenix out West to reach the finals with the Canucks taking the Cup based on their victory over the Flyers back in late December. Nothing too shocking there.

Instead, I'd like to look into the numbers a bit more closely. What amazes me about these standings is just how close these teams are. With only 20 games left, just 7 points separate teams 3 through 12 in the West. The bottom three playoff teams have identical records, with Minnesota taking 6th due to only having 2 shootout wins while Dallas takes 7th due to a superior head-to-head record.

In the East, there's 7 points between teams 5 and 9 with Carolina, Buffalo, and the Rangers the only teams fighting for the playoffs. But that was then! In the ensuing two games, the Leafs managed to notch 3 points and are still in the running! Unfortunately, the Sabres and Hurricanes have three games left against each other which hurts those teams behind them. It's going to be a great 6 weeks of hockey, which I'll be mostly missing due to those aforementioned jobs.

Next Up

Nothing. I did see a Tokyo Apache game last week which was mildly entertaining, but also the last game I'm going to watch until the bj League playoffs. At 3,000 yen, it's just a bit overpriced. I'm already bored with the 2011 Japanese baseball season so let's forget about that. That leaves only the J League, and I might try to check out a game or two there. Otherwise it will be quiet until I plan my next journey to somewhere warm. Stay tuned, there'll be something posted here soon.

Best,

Sean

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