The Best Game You Can Name (Ice Hockey)

Full rulebook pdf →

The relevant rule is, of course, Rule 69 - Interference on the Goalkeeper.

My realistic expecation:

Florida/Tampa/Carolina conference semis in hockey is not what you want to see.

I am not exactly one to talk as a Flyers fan, but it must really hurt to be a fan of the Maple Leafs. Despite being hailed as the next super-team, with incredible talent on the roster, they have now lost in their first series for the last six years, including the qualifying round in the pandemic playoffs season. This includes 9 games where they would have advanced with a win, and they lost them all. 10 in a row if you count their game 7 loss to the Bruins in 2013.

It doesn’t matter who is wearing it. If it’s a Toronto sweater, they’re going to choke.

Oh, did my bracket have that series exactly right? Yes it did. So far I’ve got the winner of every series correct except for Minnesota. Of course that series I predict to go to 7, and it ends up being one of the few that does not.

The league finally managed to deliver a perfect round 1 schedule, and they got so many game sevens. Can’t ask for more, really.

Half of the remaining teams are from two states, Alberta and Florida. In this upcoming second round, the Alberta teams will face each other, and the Florida teams will face each other. Effectively, state championships.

If I’m not mistaken, there are only six states with more than one NHL team. So 14 out of the 32 teams share a state with another team.

California: 3
New York: 3
Ontario: 2
Alberta: 2
Florida: 2
Pennsylvania: 2

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OMG. We are in the Conference Finals.

Four teams remain.

In the West we have the Mc-Mac battle of the top forwards. McDavid vs MacKinnon. I think Colorado will win this, and win the cup, but Edmonton is doing a lot better in the playoffs than during the regular season. Really surprised at what they did to Calgary. I was way way wrong on that one, and can be wrong again.

In the East we have the goalie battle of the Millennium. Two time reigning Stanley Cup champion and 2019 Vezina Trophy winner Andrei Vasilevskiy vs. likely 2022 Vezina Trophy winner Igor Shestyorkin. The Rangers beat them during the regular season this year, but as we’ve seen, that means absolutely nothing. Tampa is very well rested after sweeping the other Florida, and the Rangers just played 14 playoff games in two rounds.

In a small side news. When the Rangers traded Winnipeg for Andrew Copp, they traded a conditional draft pick. Originally they had given the Jets a 2nd round pick. However, because they have reached the ECF, the condition is satisfied. They will now give the Jets their 1st round pick instead of the 2nd round pick.

Honestly I expected the Rangers to go out in round 2. I have no further expectations whatsoever. Even if we get swept now, I won’t be sad at all. Well, maybe I’ll be a little sad since we have home ice advantage, and if they win just one game in this series it means we can have one more home playoff game at MSG to go to. Other than that, I’m still just going to be thrilled that this team is so good so ahead of schedule.

Moneypuck’s model still really really really hates the Rangers, though.

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From your updates on Geeknights, it seems you’re also not hot the Rangers’ chances.

Not at all. I’m as surprised as anyone that they’re still playing.

Scott performatively is extremely down on any New York sports team, even if they are ahead by a margin, to avoid “cursing” them or “jinxing it.” It’s a thing. =P

I grew up in Detroit where we’d just embrace excited optimism even though it occasionally burned us.

Of course, New York is second only to Toronto in terms of being able to fuck up a perfectly good lead.

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It’s not performative.

Do you not remember in 2008 we were living in Beacon. I had Mets playoff tickets. Physical paper tickets IN HAND. They lost the final game of the season, and that ended it. Tickets refunded.

You where there in 2014-2015 where the Kings beat the Rangers in the finals THRICE in OT.

That’s how New York IS.

Exhibit C: Matt Dodge

I’m willing to embrace the disappointment of getting my hopes up :wink:

Get burned a few more times and the tune will change.

Starting off a new season in style! Let’s go!

What a wild ride we have here folks.

There’s this kid Mitchell Miller. We may have discussed him before. He’s a disgusting human being. When he was younger he bullied, harassed, and abused this black disabled kid. Just really awful stuff. The worst kind of person. If you care about the details, not hard to find with the help of Google.

Supposedly, he has some amount of ice hockey skill, but he’s not Wayne Gretzky or anything.

Anyway, so first Arizona Coyotes draft him some years ago. There is such outcry that Arizona just gives up. They let him become a free agent, effectively wasting a draft pick.

That’s basically the last we hear of it until just a day or two ago Boston Bruins sign this kid to an entry level contract! Out of nowhere!

Everyone immediately is up in arms even more than last time. Not only are fans mad, but the players on the Bruins are not happy. The head coach also says he had nothing to do with it. What a shitstorm this is.

And just now, yet another development. Put this one in the “worst person you know has made a great point” category.

Gary Bettman, the commissioner of the league, said he is not eligible to play in the NHL. Bruins can sign him to play in some other league, but he will not be touching NHL ice. Gary bailing the Bruins out of their own unforced error while making himself look good. Boooo!

Don’t bail them out, Gary. Make sure they pay the price. Arizona lost a draft pick. Boston should have to suffer at least that much.

The Seattle Kraken are having an analytics conference, and it’s streaming live for free on YouTube.

There is some really amazing stuff going on.

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Right now there is an immense amount of buzz about the NHL possibly adding two more teams, one in Atlanta, GA and one in Houston, TX.

There’s not much to say about the selection of cities. Houston, TX has a huge population, so should theoretically bring in money despite the weather and culture. Atlanta has already had two opportunities to have hockey, and both times it failed. Granted, a lot of those failures were because of bad ownership. Third times a charm?

There are plenty of other talking points about this issue, but they are being beaten to death by all the media from the pro journalists down to the people in the replies.

I just feel compelled to make a post on this because I have something to say that nobody else seems to be saying. I don’t believe there are enough NHL caliber ice hockey players on Earth to support the 32 teams we have, let alone two more.

Since the addition of Vegas and Seattle there are 32 NHL teams. Each team has a roster of 20-23 players. Only 20 sit on the bench each game. So other than a few exceptions, like someone from the minors filling in for an injury, the best 640 ice hockey players on earth are in the NHL. The rest are in other leagues. It used to be 600 before those two teams were added. It will be 680 if two more teams are added.

Because of the salary cap and the terms of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), teams can’t just put out 20 star players. To build a successful roster, teams have to have several highly paid star players. But to stay under the salary cap, the rest of the roster has to be filled with players who are underpaid relative to their talent. These are usually players on entry level contracts (ELCs). When you’re a new player in the league you get a very small contract with special terms. Even the first pick in the draft gets a little old ELC that doesn’t pay much. That’s the kind of player you need to win. A brand new player who is really good.

As a consequence of this, we have more and more players who go directly from juniors or college into the NHL with little to no time spent in the minor leagues. There are upsides to that in terms of labor. The players get paid a lot more in the NHL than the minors. And I’m sure they’re much happier to be in the top league. in the long term it’s not good. The NHL is not a development league. It’s a competitive win now league.

It wasn’t that long ago that even first round draft picks would spend quite a bit of time in the AHL and other minor leagues developing their game before working their way up tot he NHL. If you look at the top star players in the league right now, a significant portion of them spent time in a non-junior minor league for at least a year or two, sometimes more, before joining the NHL. If you look at the youngest players in the NHL that are regular roster players, a lot of them have never played in the minor leagues at all. They had no development time, and they can’t develop in the NHL itself because it’s not a development league. The focus is only on winning now.

Even now, only a select few teams have miraculously filled their rosters with actual NHL level players. It’s a few more now that we’re past the trade deadline. Most teams have at least a few, or many, players that are just not NHL ready. This is especially true for goalies. There just aren’t 32 NHL level goalies on earth, let alone 64 so that people can have decent backups.

If they add two NHL teams they basically every player in the entire AHL all star game and promote them all to the NHL. They just added two teams recently. So imagine doing that twice. It makes the quality of play in the NHL worse by lowering the bar. It also makes the quality of play in the minor leagues worse, because it takes away their best players.

Newly drafted hockey players, even first rounders, with rare exception for generational talents, should spend a year or two in a minor pro league before entering the NHL. Unless the NHL itself has enough quality players to fill all the rosters of all its teams, it has no business expanding.

Expansion benefits players by creating jobs. It benefits owners of the new teams, assuming they are profitable. It benefits fans in the communities that have a team. And maybe that’s enough reason to do it. But long term, if the quality of play goes down too much, that could hurt the game as a whole in the long term. Too many joke teams out there that can’t compete. Fans of good teams having to complain about having to put sub-par players out on the ice, or not having a decent goalie.

Unless they have an answer for this, I think it’s too soon for expanding. Expand the popularity of the game and the player-base first.