The NHL season is one-eighth over. Continue reading “Trends”


Video Breakdown: Lightning-Penguins Game 4

I spent four years as a video coach for a minor league hockey team. My job was to cue up the video, then sit back and let the coaches analyze it. It wasn’t a glamorous job, and the pay was meager (they fed me), but I consider it to be one of the best experiences of my life.

For one thing, I got to give away free tickets, which is probably the only reason I have any friends. More importantly, I observed how professional hockey coaches watch the game. Their analysis is very different from what you get from TV commentators. Those film sessions taught me to look for details beyond who scored the goal and who passed him the puck. I learned that credit and blame for goals was not always obvious. Continue reading “Video Breakdown: Lightning-Penguins Game 4”

NHL Western Conference Round 2 Preview

On Wednesday I prepped you for the 2nd round of the Eastern Conference playoffs. I also mentioned that I had a chance to get 7 of my 8 predictions from the first round correct. Nashville, though, had other ideas.

Quick aside: I feel for Bruce Boudreau. The guy can’t win. His reputation as a great regular season coach is matched by his reputation as a terrible playoff coach. In our world, the latter is far more important. His players love him (Teemu Selanne notwithstanding) but that only counts for so much.

On to Round 2 in the West. The convoluted divisional playoff system paired up Pittsburgh and Washington last night, the East’s top 2 teams by record. Tonight, the convoluted divisional playoff system pairs up the West’s top 2 teams by record. The NHL remains unique among the pro sports leagues in its ability to undermine itself in subtle but effective ways. Continue reading “NHL Western Conference Round 2 Preview”

NHL Eastern Conference Round 2 Preview

The 2nd round of the NHL playoffs starts tonight! We’re down to the final 8… err, 9 teams. Anaheim and Nashville are still playing their 1st round series, which hopefully will conclude tonight.

I said I wouldn’t split up my previews again, but I also didn’t anticipate the NHL scheduling a 2nd round game before the 1st round officially ended. Since the Eastern Conference picture is set, I’ll begin my preview there, where we’ve got 2 long-time rivals squaring off for the first time in years, and 2 teams that don’t have any history whatsoever.

One thing to note: I offered some predictions before the playoffs started, but I reserve the right to change my mind now. It would be foolish not to make use of any new information. If you’re going to be upset that I didn’t stubbornly stick to my guns, and you read on anyway, well, you knew the risks. Continue reading “NHL Eastern Conference Round 2 Preview”