Skip to main content

Endorsements

Got any good books to recommend?

Greatest Hits from Working the Net:

Harlow Salon - one of the very best hair salons in Nashville TN.

Halfway home, and picking up steam

The 2007-08 NHL season hits the halfway mark this weekend, so it's a fine time to reflect on the season so far, and in particular some of the outstanding performances from a statistical point of view.
 
The individual goal-scoring race is going to be a doozy right down to the end of the season, as the main contenders at this point (Ilya Kovalchuk, Jarome Iginla and Alex Ovechkin) all put a ton of shots on net, and boast excellent, but not unbelievable shooting percentages.  By this I mean that while I can see Kovalchuk maintaining his 21% pace over the course of a career season, a guy like Mike Ribiero (who leads Dallas with 21 goals) isn't going to keep scoring on 36.8% of his shots.  All three of those top snipers should keep pushing each other night after night, making the Rocket Richard race a joy to watch for fans all around the league.
 
Since I've updated the Penalty Plus/Minus spreadsheet over at Google for the first time since the holidays, I can tell you that Sidney Crosby continues to lead the NHL having drawn 27 more penalties than he's committed, maintaining a healthy gap over L.A.'s Anze Kopitar who trails with a +22 rating.  At the bottom end of that scale Anaheim captain Chris Pronger has taken over the lead with a -21 mark, surpassing Toronto's Jeff Wozniewski's -20.  Outside of scoring an actual goal, drawing or committing a penalty is about the most significant event that impacts the outcome of a game, so Crosby's performance in this regard only adds to his MVP credentials, especially considering that another major candidate, Tampa Bay's Vinnie Lecavalier, comes in with a middling +4 rating.  Atlanta's Kovalchuk does boast a +13, best on the Thrashers squad, and Calgary's Iginla has a +7.
 
You want an unsung hero?  How about Mathieu Garon in Edmonton?  While his 10-9-1 record and .909 save percentage don't jump out and scream "All-Star", he's saved an outstanding 18 of 20 shots during the shootout, giving him a 6-0 mark in that event and earning the Oilers points in the standings that would otherwise have them lingering at the very bottom of the NHL standings.
 
On a team level, of course the Detroit Red Wings (30-8-3) are the runaway success story of the first half.  They're 2nd in Goals For per game (3.44 to Ottawa's 3.54), tops in Goals Against (2.10), and have enough cap space available to be considered part of the Peter Forsberg sweepstakes, should they require another Swede for the playoff drive.  Next thing you know, they'll be throwing pickled herring on the ice at Joe Louis Arena rather than octopus...
 
Detroit Red Wings new dietician
Apparently Forsberg has a few demands before joining the Red Wings
 
The Atlanta Thrashers (20-20-1) have recovered from the early season woes that cost Bob Hartley his job, and while they've gotten back to within arms-reach of the playoffs, they'll have a tough job beating out Philadelphia and Buffalo for postseason berths.  The Islanders, meanwhile, seem to have thrown the engine in reverse, having started the season by perhaps winning a few more games than they had a right to expect.  Now that the GF/GA ratio is slipping towards the dark side on a recurring basis, the Islanders appear to be foundering in a tightening Atlantic division.
 
As we head into the second half, the upcoming trade deadline will grab all the attention before the playoff races really get under way.  Which teams will throw in the towel and start planning for next year, and which ones will roll the figurative dice and load up for a shot at the Cup this spring?  No matter what happens, there are a number of interesting storylines to follow throughout the second half, and in NHL markets like Chicago, Boston, and St. Louis, a possible return to the playoffs has fans energized.  Columbus, which has yet to experience post-season action, also has a legitimate shot this year.  Even some of the cities that might not make the playoffs have reason for hope, either with newly competitive teams (like Phoenix), or individual stars who are worth the price of admission (as in Washington and Tampa).  In short, it's been an enjoyable season already, and things are only just starting to heat up.

Popular posts from this blog

How I'm Trying To Make Money Sports Blogging

To kick off this series of articles general sports-blogging articles here at OTF Classic, I think it's best to start with a comment that Brad left here last week, after I shared my goals for 2012, which include specific revenue targets:
I considered diving into the world of internet marketing myself, but I felt that my friends would hate me for bugging them about stuff. I mean, it's pretty low-risk high-reward, so it's tempting. I wouldn't mind reading about tips on how to maximize impact of blogging in general to make it a legitimate income source. Trying to make money at sports blogging can be a very touchy subject - for the vast majority of us, this is an activity we pursue to both exercise our creativity and share our love of the game, whether it's hockey, football, badminton, whatever, with fellow fans. Mixing that personal conversation with a commercial message can turn people off, especially if it becomes too intrusive for the reader.

It's not unreasonabl…

Canadian Baloney, starring James Mirtle

A tireless refrain from the Canadian media is that Nashville is an absolute failure as a hockey market, and failing to move the team north of the border is an exercise in folly by the NHL.

Our latest exhibit comes from James Mirtle, usually one of the more thoughtful hockey bloggers extant:
But Nashville, quite simply, has proven it cannot sustain an NHL hockey team. Even with the lowest ticket prices in the entire league (I know: I've looked into flying there for a game or two) and a ridiculously forgiving arena lease, the team has had attendance issues despite having one of the best records in the league.

It's not a matter of Canadians not wanting teams in the southern U.S.; I've argued time and again in favour of teams like Dallas and Tampa Bay that have supported their teams and really brought something to the table in terms of bringing news fans and new energy to the game. That's a good thing.

The Predators, however, are not that, not in the beginning and certainly no…

Get Your NHL Super Schedule 2008-9 Right Here!

Click here for the 2009-10 NHL Super Schedule, at my new site, www.ontheforecheck.com!


The NHL announced the 2008-9 Regular Season schedule today, so of course, it's time right here to publish my very own NHL Super Schedule 2008-9 as well.

For those unfamiliar with what I did last year, the NHL Super Schedule is a spreadsheet that I put together and make publicly available via Google Documents*. It includes an entry for each game in each team's 82-game regular season schedule, with additional information such as how far that team has had to travel since its last game, how many days have passed since that previous game, and various statistics relative to the opponent that evening, such as 2007-8 Winning Percentage, Goals Per Game, Goals Against Per Game, etc. For example, you can total the distance that each team will travel during the upcoming season, or find who plays the most back-to-back games. Check out which team faces the toughest opposing offenses, or which power plays…