October 07 2011 08:15AM
Will the Canucks fare better this season at the 20-game mark?
(Photo by some dude on the innernetz)
(In full disclosure, I wrote this article Thursday afternoon, before the Canucks opening game.)
Will the Vancouver Canucks win the Northwest Division for the fourth straight year? Probably. Will the win the Western Conference? Maybe. Will they get back to the Stanley Cup Final? Will they win it all? The odds are against them. With the exception of the Northwest crown (which is practically a given), the rest are predictions that are too hard to make.
Instead I am going to focus on some predictions for the Canucks that have more of a chance of actually happening. Because, frankly, I'm not that smart and this is easier.
October 06 2011 04:28PM
We've gone from one end of the Nation Network to the other, polling writers from Canucks Army on the West Coast to Leafs Nation in the East (readers of the latter site, please feel free to substitute "Universal Center" for "East" in your minds) and everywhere in between.
What we've come back with are the Nations' projected NHL standings for 2011-12.
October 06 2011 01:32PM
You all know Elliotte Friedman – he’s the Hockey Night in Canada Broadcaster who happens to write the best English language hockey column in the world. His 30 Thoughts go up every Monday (they’re rarely delayed, but when they are, Twitter has a panic-attack). No one captures chatter from the rink quite like Friedman does every Monday. It’s those insightful tidbits that make his 30 Thoughts columns indispensible to NHL fans. When 30 Thoughts returned from its summer hiatus this year, I noticed that Friedman was talking about zone-starts and hockey analytics in a way he previously hadn’t done. I thought perhaps there had been a change in his thinking over the summer in regards to fancy-stats, so I decided to e-mail him and see if he’d talk “moneypuck” with me. Elliotte agreed, and while I had my Wayne Campbell meeting Alice Cooper moment, we set the date of the interview for this past Tuesday. On Tuesday, Elliotte’s wife gave birth to the couples first son – but Elliotte e-mailed me the next day and was still interested in talking about hockey-stats. On behalf of the Nation Network, I’d like to extend my gratitude to Elliotte for his candor and class, and our congratulations to him and his wife on the birth of their son. What follows is the conversation we had:
Thom Drance: Elliotte, one of the main reasons I wanted to speak with you was the appearance of advanced metrics in your regular 30 thoughts column beginning last month, I'm curious, how would you describe your interest in these number?
Elliotte Friedman: I've always been interested in statistical analysis and what it can mean. I think that, in this day and age if you're not open-minded to something – it's a bad thing. You have to be open minded to all ideas and theories to see if they really make sense, and can help you judge players, teams or whatever. For me it was just a matter of having the time to figure out what they were trying to do, and if they made any sense.
October 06 2011 08:30AM
Last week, I spoke on five reasons why the Canucks will once again be an elite NHL club – a healthy Alex Burrows, a legitimate fourth line center, internal competition, Cody Hodgson’s great summer, and the development of Chris Tanev. This week I’ll speak on five more reasons why the team will be great once again – leadership, divisional dominance, the ying and yang of Kesler and Henrik Sedin, the team having a bone to pick with the rest of the hockey world, and some common sense thinking.
October 06 2011 07:32AM
Michael Langlois made an interesting comment on the Leafs season preview podcast that was published on the Globe's website yesterday. He pointed out that, to his memory, most of the best penalty-killing forwards (going back for decades) were the best all-around players, and not those we have come to think of as a "PK specialists".