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Nashville sneaking in through the backdoor?

Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 1:25 pm
by rockalt
So I've been out of the country this year and thus, unable to keep a good track of hockey, aside from checking TSN for the latest scores and standings. One thing that jumps out at me though, is the fact that the conclusion of the Canucks' season (and most other teams as well) will be determined by divisional games. Now I haven't looked at the math too closely, but does this not put Nashville at a distinct advantage?

I mean, looking at their final schedule they play Columbus (twice), Detroit, St. Louis (twice), and Chicago. To me, that looks like a pretty easy schedule. None of those teams are fighting for a playoff spot (IMO they're simply too far out at this point). Compare this to the NW division teams and we see a remarkable difference. Minny, Colorado, Vancouver, Calgary, and surging Edmonton all play each other. Given how tight the division is and how well each team is playing, is it not possible that they'll simply cancel each other out by splitting their games while Nashville runs the table (even if they lose one or two games) leaving only 3 NW division teams in the playoffs?

I know the Canucks are four points up on Nashville with a game in hand, but they'll have to continue to play well to guarantee a playoff spot. What are your thoughts? Do you think we'll see 4 NW division teams in the playoffs or will Nashville be the beneficiary of competing against teams from a very strong conference?

With how well Edmonton's playing, they are suddenly a serious threat to make the postseason as well? In your opinion, which teams will not qualify for the playoffs? I don't know why, but I feel quite strongly that the Wild and Flames will make it. I'm more concerned about us. Colorado also is a wild card. They seem to play us well but have struggled lately. Edmonton's red hot. Is Nashville still on anyone's radar?

Your thoughts?

Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 2:57 pm
by jchockey
Nashville has the easier schedule, but they're too far out and they're not playing good hockey.

Edmonton's got a real shot, and as per usual Craig MacTavish's teams they have a chance at sneaking in.

I think the West is set, 4 of the 5 NW Division teams will make the playoffs. Minnesota and Calgary are in, while Vancouver, Edmonton, and Colorado will have to duke it out for the last 2 spots.

The real race is in the East, with Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, and Buffalo.

Posted: Sun Mar 23, 2008 3:38 pm
by rockalt
jchockey wrote:The real race is in the East, with Philadelphia, Boston, Washington, and Buffalo.
Hey don't forget Toronto. :lol: Hahah, but seriously, I agree that the East is going to be a great showdown for positioning. One thing that's nice about parity is the intense battles for playoff positions, although really, I'm not sure how valuable they are when the teams are so close to begin with. Having said that, in the Canucks case, it would be much better to finish third or sixth. Realistically, I don't think we're going to win the division, so I'm gunning for 6th. Playing San Jose right now would be a nightmare and surpassing Dallas would just mean Anaheim, the two worst matchups in my opinion.

As for Nashville, my impression was that they haven't been playing stellar hockey, hence the "sneaking in" thread title, but I can't be sure as I haven't been able to watch the games. Still they're only two points back of Colorado and four back of us (although we have a game in hand). I don't think they're too far back and they have an easy schedule. My concern is the fact that we play Colorado twice more.... I just know those bastards are going to be a real test for us and I would hate to see them ruin our playoff bid. Every game from here on in is against desperate teams, so I sure as hell hope we play with even greater determination.... again it's difficult for me to get a feel for how well the Canucks are playing. From what I've read, they seem to be quite a streaky team, so I'm quite concerned of them suddenly turning it off, so to speak.

At the very least, it should be an excellent race, in both conferences. Even Florida and Toronto aren't all that far back, although I agree Washington and Buffalo are the greater threats. I would like to see the Capitals qualify. It would be great for hockey. Ovechkin has just been absolutely sensational and it would be interesting to see how he plays in the playoffs. For whatever reason, I'm confident he will continue his excellent play. I know European players have a reputation for not thriving in the playoffs but I think Ovechkin is above that, a la Sundin or Forsberg.

Well clearly I've been deprived of hockey and hockey talk because now I'm just rambling. Just some thoughts.

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 3:14 am
by Cookie La Rue
I'm not so convinced of Nashville despite their remaining games. They had their troubles to win against a Chicago team in the shootout last saturday...

Imo if someone's going to catch, hopefully the Avs, it's the Oil. But if they'll catch us i'll bite myself in the backside.

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 6:15 am
by BingoTough
One thing to consider is the disparate quality of the divisions. Some numbers (below) tell me that the central is the weakest. Given the schedule's slant towards intra-divisional games, I believe teams playing in a weaker division have an advantage over those in a stronger one when it comes to the playoffs.

So, Nasville might squeak in, but put any of the Northwest teams in the central, and they might well be up around 90 points.

Central - 417pts
Northwest - 428 pts
Pacific - 426 pts

And, when you exclude the top team:
Central - 311pts
Northwest - 339pts
Pacific - 327pts

Obviously I don't have intra vs. inter divisional numbers, which might prove my idea wrong.

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 10:44 am
by Bill Laforge
As a long time Canucks fan I can't imagine them doing anything but leaving it to the last game of the season to make the or not make the playoffs. God forbid they could make this thing look easy. Having said that , they wil get in but they won't make it look easy.

Posted: Mon Mar 24, 2008 11:07 am
by Grizzly
Nashville might squeak in but right now it is interesting to watch Edmonton ... Colorado has lost what 3 or 4 straight now so I am not sure whats going on there ... anyway you look at it it's a real dogfight.

Grizz

Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 2:05 pm
by Farhan Lalji
Grizzly wrote:Nashville might squeak in but right now it is interesting to watch Edmonton ... Colorado has lost what 3 or 4 straight now so I am not sure whats going on there ... anyway you look at it it's a real dogfight.

Grizz
Colorado has to be the STRANGEST and most ENIGMATIC team that I've seen in recent years. I really have no idea what to think of the Avs. The Avs seem like a team that will either lose in 4/5 games in the 1st round, or go on an absolute TEAR (and make a cup run?).

The Avs, when injury riddled, are a tough team to beat. However - whenever Sakic, Forsberg, and Smyth are in the line-up (collectively), they just seem to sag.

Back on topic - YES...the Oilers are definitely interesting to watch right now. Maybe I shouldn't admit this, but a part of me hopes that the Oilers.....(AND LEAFS! :o ) can somehow find a way to make the playoffs. The Avs then slip out of contention.

p.s. If Calgary ends up playing San Jose in the 1st round, this would be the FIRST (and last?) time that I would cheer for the Flames. :D San Jose just freakin' scares me right now. Ditto for the Ducks.

Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:18 pm
by Madcombinepilot

p.s. If Calgary ends up playing San Jose in the 1st round, this would be the FIRST (and last?) time that I would cheer for the Flames. San Jose just freakin' scares me right now. Ditto for the Ducks.
Can't say I would go so far as to cheer for the Flames.... and yeah, SJ and Anahiem scare the crap outa me too....

perhaps some sort of mutual destruction between Calgary and San J?

Posted: Tue Mar 25, 2008 5:39 pm
by Farhan Lalji
Madcombinepilot wrote:

perhaps some sort of mutual destruction between Calgary and San J?
Somewhere out there - SRsez is spinning in his grave! (at the idea of me cheering the Flames :P).

In all seriousness though - I want Calgary to beat the Sharks. In fact - I want Calgary and Minnesota to win each and every one of their match-ups against teams that are NOT the Vancouver Canucks. I want them to be healthy....and I want them to face us in the playoffs.

I want the Canucks to beat the Flames and Wild.....cleanly. No excuses, no nothing. Period.

In 2004 - The Flames defeated a Bertuzzi-less Canuck team. While that's absolutely great for them, that's been burning a hole in me ever since. Ditto for our loss against the Wild.

More than anything - I WANT the Canucks to annihalate both these teams. That's why - I have a vested interested in seeing ALL of Vancouver, Minnesota, and Calgary win.

Posted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 5:20 am
by Cookie La Rue
Meanwhile after last nights loss, i would be glad if we get in the playoffs anyways.

Detroit or San Jose in the first round...mmh i like the chances against Detroit more but to play for the 8th spot is a pretty dangerous quest.

Posted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:44 am
by Grizzly
Cookie La Rue wrote:Meanwhile after last nights loss, i would be glad if we get in the playoffs anyways.

Detroit or San Jose in the first round...mmh i like the chances against Detroit more but to play for the 8th spot is a pretty dangerous quest.
Still a few really important games coming up ... one minute it looks like the Nucks have a great chance for winning the division the next nite not...

It's wierd cause no team wants to .... or is able to... take the opportunities given to them by the throat and finish the deed. Pretty evenly matched ... to the wire I think with the final order in the standings to be determined on the last nite.

Grizz

Posted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 12:26 pm
by Madcombinepilot
I think with the final order in the standings to be determined on the last nite.

Grizz

kinda like every year....

Posted: Wed Mar 26, 2008 2:26 pm
by Farhan Lalji
Cookie La Rue wrote:Meanwhile after last nights loss, i would be glad if we get in the playoffs anyways.

Detroit or San Jose in the first round...mmh i like the chances against Detroit more but to play for the 8th spot is a pretty dangerous quest.
A part of me wonders if some teams are actually doing that (i.e. losing deliberately for a more suitable 1st round match-up). Dallas for instance, probably realizes that Minnesota/Calgary/Vancouver are MUCH easier opponents than Anaheim (on that note, Calgary now has more points than Dallas....and would now be the 5th seed if Minnesota were to pass them).

I would also MUCH rather have the Canucks play the Wings, but they are walking a fine line. Nashville's schedule is significantly easier than the Northwestern teams', while Edmonton is pouring it on. It's not farfetched to say that the Canucks might not even make the playoffs.

Posted: Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:19 am
by jchockey
Before Vancouver worries about opponents they have to secure a playoff position somehow.

The most coveted spot right now is the 6th seed.