Monday, March 05, 2007

T-Minus 14 Games and Sweating

I didn't see any of Sunday's Thrash game. Ignorance is bliss and in my case has generated some naive optimism in my melon going into this critical week in the NHL.

The Canes have 14 games remaining on the schedule. That's 28 possible points in play. Out of those 14 games, 8 will be against SE teams - 16 possible points. As of today, I will give six other teams a shot at the 8th playoff spot. Of those 6, only Montreal has played as many games as the Hurricanes.

The Rangers, Islanders and Bruins all have 3 games in hand on the Canes. Carolina does not play again until Friday. The rest of the contenders will be vying for up to four points this week while the Canes convalesce and try to re-focus:

  • Atlanta v. Florida and Montreal
  • Boston v. Colorado and Minnesota
  • Montreal v. Atlanta
  • Islanders v. Rangers two times.
  • Florida v. Flyers and Thrash
  • Toronto v. Caps and Sens
The Islanders, Boston and the Rangers will still have a game in hand by the time the Canes play Friday night in Washington. By Friday, Atlanta will probably have a 9 point lead on Carolina, and the Islanders could have a 6 point lead. Boston, Florida and Toronto will probably win one of their games, giving them a net gain on the Canes of 2 points. Of course, what will probably happen is that a bunch of these games will get "massaged" into OT, and we'll see a slew of 1 point games for some OT losers.

In any scenario, the Canes face a tough fight. Two games against New Jersey, a home game vs. the Sharks and five consecutive end of the season games against SE opponents remain on the schedule. Tampa has a most brutal schedule awaiting them - including the finish of their tour across the Northwest. Atlanta still has to play the Sharks and Sabres one more time.

Thus, hope remains, but things no-lookie good for this very inconsistent Carolina team. They are a pretty fragged bunch. There seems to be a lot of flail but little fight in these Canes. Last season, the Canes finished with a net +34 goals for margin. This season, they are a net -10.

To top it all off, Don LeGreca said on NHL Live today that he thinks "in his heart" that the Sabres were the better team last year. Yeah Don, you big fat Empire State homer. How can you ever be wrong when you "think" with your heart? The Canes generated more total points, earned the #2 seed, and won the season's head-to-head matchups (Canes 3-1 vs. the Sabres). This revisionism started even before the conference finals began. It's old. Scoreboard.


bLiNdLuCk said...

I can see Don LeGraca's point. I too think that the Buffalo Sabres were a better team last year. Better than the Washington Capitals and Chicago Blackhawks anyway.

The bad news is that the Sabres are better than the Canes this year.

If I could ask the Hurricanes to do one thing it would be to put Ray Whitney and Rod Brind'Amour back on the same line. Since they split up they are killing my fantasy hockey team.

And don't get me started on Cam Ward.

Oh, and the Toronto Maple Leafs are a better team this year. Um... better than the Washington Capitals and the Chicago Blackhawks anyway. Well, almost as good as them.

CasonBlog said...

Frodo and Marc Savard got my fantasy team into the playoffs. Looking down the roster...numm, I Carolina Hurricanes, Leafs, Blackhawks or Craps. So in an obtuse sort of way I think I concur. Except about the Sabres thing last season.