Saturday, March 31, 2007

A BIG Saturday Night

First, here is my updated "chart" involving the Eastern Conference playoff race...

6th - Tampa Bay - must go 2-2 in their final 4 games to make the playoffs
7th - NYR - must go 2-2-1 in their final 5 games to make the playoffs
8th - MTL - must go 3-1 in their final 4 games to the make the playoffs
9th - TOR - must go 3-1-1 in their final 5 games to make the playoffs
10th - NYI - must go 4-1 in their final 5 games to make the playoffs
11th - CAR - must go 4-0 in their final 4 games to make the playoffs

Tampa's win last night gave them a good step on the playoffs, as they now really only need to finish at .500 to make the post season. When your final four games are against Washington, Carolina, Florida and Atlanta you would think splitting those games would be easy, while even coming out with 5 or 6 points is possible. I think at this point it would be hard for Tampa Bay to miss the playoffs.

The Rangers can play at less than .500 to make the playoffs, as long as one of those losses is in overtime. Tonight's game in Philly is very winable and will put them in very good shape heading into the final week of the season. They then play Toronto tomorrow night, followed by the Islanders, Habs and Penguins. While they have a VERY tough week ahead, maybe the toughest, a win tonight and they would be left with only having to go 1-2-1 in that stretch, which shouldn't be too hard for the red-hot rangers. A loss tonight, however, would really put the pressure on this team.

Montreal suffered a tough loss last night, and now must go 3-1 to reach 92 points on the season, the estimate required to make the playoffs. A big game against the Sabres tonight, though Conklin starts for Buffalo so this game is winable. A loss tonight and it's all up hill. Boston, NYR and Toronto await next week.

Toronto plays a Pittsburgh team that has beat them up all season long. The good news for Toronto is they've won six straight at the ACC, which is where they play tonight. The leafs then play the Rangers tomorrow in a very key matchup that could possibly by tomorrow be for 6th spot (or could be for much lower). They finish the season off against Philly, followed by two huge games against NYI and Montreal. Both winable games, but both just as easily lost.

The Islanders loss last night may have finished them off. DiPietro will not play tonight, and we may even see them play their AHL goalie as starter tonight. Ottawa is playing red-hot and a loss tonight would likely put the Islanders out of it (though if they could beat Toronto and NYR next week, yes both of them, not just one) they may find their way back in. That being said, if DiPietro isn't back, the Islanders should be easy pickings for the Rangers and Leafs. Ottawa, NYR, Toronto, Philly and New Jersey is what the Islanders have to look forward to. Not looking good considering they have to win four of those five games to get to the next stage of the season.

Finally Carolina, who will become the first team to win the cup one year and miss the playoffs the next. 4-0 t0 end the season is what they need to prevent that, and even then that may not be enough. Can the Hurricanes go 4-0 against Florida twice, Atlanta and Tampa? It's possible, but even an overtime loss would cripple the Canes. Better luck next year...

So tonight, here is what we're looking at

Pittsburgh @ Toronto - A win could move the leafs as high as tied for 7th, or it could leave them in 9th (with game in hand on possible 8th place Montreal). A win tonight would put the Leafs in great shape, while a loss wouldn't cripple them, unless everyone else won which is doubtful as a lot of teams face up-hill battles tonight. A win for the Penguins would likely keep them even with fourth place ottawa, but more importantly would put them into 2nd place as they'd pass NJ for the division lead. Big game for both teams tonight.

Buffalo @ Montreal - This will be a great game. Buffalo wants the win to expand their presidents trophy lead, while Montreal needs the win to not only move up the Eastern Standings but to hold off Toronto and NYI. Conklin and Halak are the netminders, should be a great game.

Ottawa @ Long Island - Still no Dipietro, so I'd put solid money on the Senators. A win tonight by the Islanders could put them tied for 8th, or keep them in 10th depending on what those in front of them do tonight. An Ottawa win would keep them in fourth place, a loss and they could possible fall to 5th.

NYR @ Philly - Ask Carolina, Philly isn't a team that is just going to roll over. The Rangers could jump into 6th with a win tonight, while a loss and they could be tied for 8th. This is a game the Rangers really need to win.

Washington @ Tampa Bay - Revenge time for Tampa, as they got blown out by Washington last week. A win is likely necessary if Tampa wants to keep 6th place. A loss and they could be possibly tied for 7th, while the 9th place team could be just one point back with a game in hand.

Do you see a pattern yet? One loss and you could be in deep trouble...or if you get lucky, your still in the same spot. It's a crazy race, but I can see the finish line. In 8 days the playoff picture will be set, I can't wait.

Friday, March 30, 2007

92 Point Theory

The theory is, if you get 92 points in the east you will make the playoffs. So here is a look at what the teams in the race have to do in their remaining games to pull this off.

6th - NYR must go 2-2-1 in their final 5 games to make the playoffs
7th - TB must go 3-2 in their final 5 games to make the playoffs
8th - MTL must go 3-2 in their final 5 games to make the playoffs
9th - TOR must go 3-1-1 in their final 5 games to make the playoffs
10th - NYI must go 4-2(or 3-1-2) or in their final 6 games to make the playoffs
11th - CAR must go 3-0-2 in their final 5 games to make the playoffs

I will update you now daily with this race and what has happened as well as what needs to happen. Tonight is a crucial night in the east playoff race

TB @ CAR - Tampa Bay can pretty much take Carolina out of the playoff picture with a regulation win tonight. If your a fan of any team in the race, you want Carolina to win this one, as you want Tampa to stay right where they are. Carolina cannot lose in regulation if they wish to make the playoffs (unless they go 4-1 which seems unlikely), so giving them a win tonight wont hurt. A tampa regulation loss would give Toronto and Montreal games in hand, and with a win by either they'd pass Tampa Bay and be ahead of Carolina. I predict this a close battle, but I think Carolina will take it, they have two blowout losses to motivate them, and there season is on the line.

MTL @ OTT - A win tonight could put Montreal up into 6th spot, while a loss would still keep them in 8th. The Habs have won 5 straight but I like Ottawa in this game. Montreal is in for a rough weekend as they play Buffalo tomorrow night. Two wins this weekend would likely put them in the playoffs, while two losses and they will be really in a tough spot heading into the final three games of the season. If your a Habs fan, your hoping for a split.

NYI @ BUF - So it came out today that DiPietro has suffered two mild concussions in the last two weeks, not good news for the Islanders' playoff hopes. Dunham will get the start. I'd expect Buffalo to win this one, but the Islanders should put up a fight. A loss will leave them even in 10th place, while a win would put them in 9th, ahead of Toronto by a point, while they would either be tied or behind by Montreal by a maximum of two points, with a game in hand on the Habs. Islanders play Ottawa tomorrow, and if they don't have DiPietro for that one, well it may not be pretty. Bad injury at the worst possible time. After this weekend series of hell, they play Toronto on Tuesday, where the season could be decided depending on how the Leafs fair Saturday against Pittsburgh and Sunday against the Rangers.

Leafs and Rangers have the night off tonight, both will be back in action tomorrow night. Leafs are at home to the Penguins while the Rangers hit the road to face Philly. Both games should be battles. Tampa hosts Washington (remember last time these teams faced? no win is guarenteed at this time of the year) tomorrow as well. Wins by Tampa and Montreal tonight would give them some much needed distance, however, losses by both and we have a race too close to call.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Islanders Take Huge Blow / Johnson Turning Pro

...and not at the right moment. The Islanders are headed down the home stretch with a very tough schedule over the next two weeks, starting tonight against the Devils. Today they learned they will be without Rick DiPietro for an extended period of time as he is suffering from post concussion syndrome. The Islanders were 0-2 without him in the lineup after first suffering the injury, and have been 2-0-2 since his return. I'm hearing he'll miss at least a week, and maybe the rest of the season. Concussions are hard to read, and post-concussion sydrome can be even harder. Ask Lindros, Colaiacovo and Primeau about the time you can miss due to it, the Islanders could be in trouble...good news if your NYR, Toronto, Montreal, Tampa and Carolina. All six of the teams fighting for spots 6,7 and 8 are in action tonight.

Martin Biron has re-signed with the Philadelphia Flyers, signing a two year deal. This is the first of many great moves the Flyers will make over the next several months. I expect them to really turn their ship around this off-season.

Jack Johnson is finally making his NHL debut, as he signed a multi-year deal with LA. Carolina I bet would sure love to him have suiting up for them tonight against Toronto, but instead Johnson will join his teammates in LA today and will play his first NHL game on Thursday against Vancouver.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

The Races

As we head into the final month of the season, I can't remember a time when there were so many battles for position. Even in the west, where the eight teams who will make the playoffs are pretty much already decided, the battle is far from over. Here is my look at the current races going on in the NHL standings.

Top Spot In The West

A three team battle between Nashville (current leader), Detroit and Anaheim. This is an important race for Nashville and Detroit as the loser will finish fourth, and will only be guarenteed home ice in the first round. Detroit currently trails by one point with a game in hand, while the Ducks sit at even games and three points back. All three teams are currently dealing with injuries, so it's hard to judge much on their recent play. With that said, in their last 30 games they've lost a combined two games in regulation, with Detroit going 7-0-3 in their last ten. This shows that these three teams are all getting hot at the right time of year, and it's likely a coin flip to see who finishes on top. I'll take Detroit though, but much will depend on the health of Hasek, who has been dealing with several injuries over the past month.

Top Spot In The Northwest

Vancouver currently has a four point lead, and having gone 8-1-1 in their last ten it will be tough for anyone to take the lead away from them. Minnesota and Calgary are both strong teams, but Vancouver has been really strong for the past few months and it would take a serious slip up for Vancouver to lose the lead. All three Northwest teams seem to be in the playoffs for sure, so for Calgary and Minnesota it's more of a battle for 5th-8th.

5th-8th in the West

This may be the most exciting battle in the NHL. Four teams currently seperated by just two points. All four teams will start the playoffs on the road, but who they will face is what they are playing for. Minnesota, San Jose and Dallas are all currently tied for 5th with 83 points, while Calgary sits just two points back with 81. Calgary also has a game in hand on San Jose, and two on Minnesota. If I'm one of these teams, do I really want to finish 5th and play either Nashville or Detroit in the first round? 8th is faced with the same problem, while 6th and 7th would still find it tough against Anaheim and Vancouver. That being said, all four teams are gunning for that 5th place spot, as with such a strong conference, there are bound to be upsets, and that fifth spot may mean home ice in the playoffs at some point. I'm going to give this to Minnesota, but it will be very close. Minnesota, San Jose, Calgary and Dallas, thats the order I see.

Top Spot in the East

A two team battle between New Jersey and Buffalo (by the way, these two teams play tonight(March 10th)), and New Jersey has really closed the gap. Both teams have been playing well all season long and many are predicting these two could meet in the Eastern final. Buffalo has the most explosive offense in the NHL in my opinion, while New Jersey has the best goaltender of all time. It will be a close call for first in the east, but I will give it to the Sabres, they've led all season long and I don't think they have any reason to give that up.

Top Spot in the Southeast

Defending Stanley Cup Champs the Hurricanes are not in this one, but the Thrashers and Lightning are. Atlanta has gotten hot at the right time and climbed into top spot, but only lead Tampa by two. The lightning had a very strong February and seemed poised to steal the lead from Atlanta, and did for a short period of time, but the Thrashers have been very dominant since making a few deadline moves and are playing like true cup contenders. It will be an interesting battle, but Tampa still has those goaltending problems, and Atlanta doesn't seem to be slowing down any time soon. Atlanta will take the Southeast.

Battle For Home Ice

The battle for 4th place in the East is a two team battle, though Tampa shouldn't be counted out yet either. That being said, the focus is on the Ottawa Senators and the Pittsburgh Penguins. Ottawa currently leads by two points with 84, but Pittsburgh has a game in hand. Both teams have had their share of struggles as of late, combining for just 11 wins over their last combined 20 games, not a number their fans are used to. This is an important battle, with the winner getting home ice in a first round series, which will likely be against each other. Both teams are only five games over .500 on the road, which is the lowest of the top five teams in the East. Home ice advantage is always imporant, and this will be a great battle down the stretch. I'll take Ottawa, but it's anyone's guess at this point.

Battle for 7th and 8th in the East

And so we get to the final playoff spot battle, which happens to be the battle that involves the most teams. The Islanders currently hold 7th, Carolina 8th, Rangers 9th, Leafs 10th, Habs 11th and Bruins 12th. Islanders seem to have 7th spot tied up, but their play has struggled in the last few games and for them to fall back to the rest would not be surprising. Carolina has a two point lead over Toronto and NYR for 8th spot, but the Leafs have a game in hand while NYR has two. Montreal seems to be out of it, as they sit three points back and have played two more than Toronto, three more than NYR and the same as Carolina. For them to make the playoffs it's all up-hill. As for the Bruins they also have an up-hill climb, currently sitting six back but with two games in hand on the Hurricanes.

The Islanders have a tough schedule remaining, with two games against Ottawa, NYR and New Jersey, while they also will have tough games against Buffalo, Tampa, Pittsburgh and Toronto. They also will play two teams who have played very well as of late in Florida and Philadelphia. Easy wins should come against Washington and Montreal.

As for the Hurricanes, they also have a tough road ahead. Three games against a Panthers team who have only two in regulation in their last ten games. Two games against very strong Tampa Bay and New Jersey teams, and then a lot of tough singles against San Jose, Toronto, Philly, and Atlanta. The only "easy" game should come against Washington.

The Rangers, not so easy for them either. Three games against Pittsburgh is nothing to look forward to, while pairs of games against the Islanders, Bruin and Flyers will also be tough. Singles that will be battles will be Carolina, Atlanta and Toronto. Easier games will come the Rangers in the form of a pair of games against Montreal, who once Huet returns could be much better then they are now. The Rangers have a battle ahead of them.

As for Toronto, it's a tough road ahead. Pairs of games against Buffalo will be tough wins for the Leafs. Other than the Sabres, the only team who the Leafs play more than once is Montreal, who we all know have struggled as of late. After that, it's all tough singles for Toronto. Ottawa, Tampa, Atlanta, New Jersey, Carolina, Pittsburgh, NYR, Philly and NYI. An easy game against Washington is really all Toronto has to look forward too. With that said Toronto usually plays Tampa, Atlanta, New Jersey, Carolina and Philly well, but all games will be tough wins for Toronto.

Montreal and Boston are both climbing hills, so I will exclude them from this list. My point with this is that all of the teams in the thick of the playoffs have very tough schedules. I believe the Rangers have the hardest schedule because they play Pittsburgh three times and several teams twice, with only three singles in their remaining games. Carolina will have either an easy schedule should they be able to handle the Panthers, or a very uphill battle should they have a hard time with the Panthers. Toronto's is tough but success is possible, while the Islanders is very tough but they're recent success should help them win more than they lose.

I will say the Islanders take 7th, Leafs 8th, Carolina 9th, Montreal 10th, Bruins 11th, Rangers 12th. Why so hard on the Rangers? They've been out of the playoff race longer than any of the other teams (with exception of the Bruins), I just don't think they can keep their current run going long enough to pull into a playoff spot.

Monday, March 05, 2007


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With less than 20 games a piece left in the NHL, it's time to look at where we are and where we could go. Here are the final standings of the season based on current winning percentages...


1. Buffalo
2. NJ
3. ATL
4. OTT
5. PIT
6. TB
7. NYI
8. CAR
9. TOR
10. NYR
11. BOS
12. MTL
13. FLA
14. WAS
15. PHI


1. NAS
2. ANA
3. VAN
4. DET
5. DAL
6. MIN
7. SJ
8. CGY
9. COL
10. STL
11. EDM
12. CBJ
13. PHO
14. CHI
15. LA

Anything seem odd? The fact that Montreal is currently on pace to finish 12th is quite shocking, while it should be noted that 1 points seperates 8th and 11th in the East, with Toronto just .2 points back for Carolina for 8th. In the West, SJ falling to 7th is surprising, while the rest seems pretty normal. Here are my predictions for the standings, based on my own thoughts.


1. BUF
2. NJ
3. TB
4. OTT
5. PIT
6. ATL
7. NYI
8. TOR
9. CAR
10. MTL
11. BOS
12. NYR
13. FLA
14. WAS
15. PHI


1. DET
2. ANA
3. VAN
4. NAS
5. MIN
6. SJ
7. CGY
8. DAL
9. COL
10. STL
11. EDM
12. PHO
13. CBJ
14. LA
15. CHI

This will be posted in the forums, I would love to hear what you think about my predictions and I would love for you to add your own. Also, Dave Spence has a new article up in the Articles section so check it out.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Site Update...and looking for Web Designers...

First of all, the site has been updated today and we have several new articles up, including a pair from our two newest writers so please check them out. staff member Yick has been kind enough to create a UFA/RFA list for us, so I will be posting that here in a few days...I will let you all have a few more days to recover.

We are looking for someone to help us design a new page. I have in my head the perfect design for but I have no design skills to put it into action. We'd obviously love to find someone who would love to donate their time and skills, so we'd love to hear from people willing to help us out for free (though I can promise anyone willing to help on a new site would get free inside information for as long as Hockeyleaks is around that I can't publically say..)...but even if you are a web designer that would absolutlely have to charge for me your services contact me and we can talk, as I really do want a really great design even if I have to spend money on it. is where I want you to contact me