Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Sittin' at the End of the Bar

Stuff that caught our eye this morning...

- On New Year’s Eve, the St. Louis Blues were 14-20-3 and looking like they might be renting space in Lotteryville. Since then, the Blues are 23-10-6, have won five in a row to close March, and have climbed over Anaheim into eighth in the West.

- Bill Guerin gets pulled from the lineup in anticipation of a trade, then finally gets sent to Pittsburgh. The Islanders are 7-5-2 since and could pass Colorado for 29th place in the league (they are five points behind with seven to play).

- Speaking of Colorado…26th in league attendance? This was a team that sold out seasons not long ago. Since 2001, their ranking has gone: 10th, 10th, 10th, 10th, 11th (those five years all being 100 percent of capacity), 13th, 17th, 26th.

- Menawhile, Washington (14th) is the only team in the Southeast Division ranked higher than 20th in attendance. It is the only team playing to better than 85 percent capacity (96.8 percent).

- A Tale of Two Marches…Before St. Patrick’s Day: 7-7-14, -1 in eight games. After St. Patrick’s Day: 1-3-4, -5 in seven games. That would be Jarome Iginla.

- Has anyone put together a quieter scoring season than Nicklas Backstrom? Since February 1st, he is 9-21-30, +6 in 26 games. He’s failed to register a point in only five of those games.

- 75 games, 30-46-76, +22, seven game winning goals
75 games, 18-57-75, +19, six game winning goals
Yes, Daniel and Henrik Sedin are twins.

- Miikka Kiprusoff and Marty Turco each have played in 71 games. They are the only goalies with more than 4,000 minutes played this year. Kiprusoff is 43-21-5, but his GAA and save percentage are ordinary (2.85, .903). Turco doesn’t appear as if he’ll make the playoffs, and his GAA and save percentage are wallowing in the same region of the rankings as Kiprusoff (2.84, .897). Without looking it up, can you name their backup goalies? Are Curtis McElhinney and Tobias Stephan really that bad? Well, McElhinney hasn’t won a game this year (0-6-1), and Stephan has one win (1-3-1). We don’t like either team’s chances (should Dallas get into the playoffs) to last past the first round.

- Three of the top five, four of the top ten, five of the top 15, and six of the top 20 players in plus-minus hail from Boston. Meanwhile, Brendan Witt is last, at -31, although he was even for March.

- A guy with a $942,000 cap hit who has 32 goals in 65 games this year, 59 goals in his last 127 games, and who was named “Mule” by none other than Steve Yzerman is going to get a nice payday coming when he becomes an unrestricted free agent this summer. And, he’s a center. And no, I don’t think Johan Franzen will be a Cap…but it’s nice to think about.

- Once upon a time, the Flyers’ Jeff Carter was leading Alex Ovechkin in the goal scoring race. Carter has nine goals in his last 29 games, only two against teams currently in the playoff mix (New Jersey, Washington).

- Chris Osgood shut out St. Louis to open the month. After that, the Red Wings allowed 37 goals in 12 games (3.08/game). The over/under on the Wings seems to be “two” for March. When allowing two or fewer, they were 7-1-0. When allowing three or more, they were 1-3-1. They also allowed five or more goals three times in their last 11 games of the month. Last year, they allowed five or more goals three time – total – in 30 games after February 1st. Something’s not right there.


Rob said...

Franzen's certainly towards the top of my shopping list if I'm GMGM.

Anonymous said...

That WOULD be awesome, if we weren't so cap-strapped. How many guys would we have to ship outta DC to be able to afford him, let alone anyone else on the FA market this summer? Nyls might get bought out but there's still a residual cap hit from that, I assume? Maybe Fehr and Fleisch have had their chance here but they're not raking in huge coin? We've GOTTA keep Feds, I think he adds way more to the team than his stat sheet belies...

Thanks to Peerless, your research is legendary and usually isn't worthless tripe about how well the Caps played the Pens back in '85 (when none of the current rosters of either team was around). Keep up the awesome coverage, Peerless!!!

Lee (PTO)

OCinCO said...

CapsFan in exile in Denver.

Regarding the Avs attendance woes- the early huge attendances were deceiving. Denver fans were handed a stacked team, ready for a long run. Combine that with the buzz of a new team to town--- boffo attendance.

Ultimately, and unfortunately, the fans weren't (aren't?) hockey fans- just bandwagon Avs fans.

We all have the stories, in every arena, about the fans coming late and leaving early- I continue to be surprised by the amount that do it in the upper dish at the Pepsi Center.

My favorite Avs Fan, though, was a 20-something sitting right in front of me a few seasons back, who cheered wildly for the Avs and for Joe Sakic-- then turned to her man, and inquired-- 'which one is Sakic?', while, wait for it, proudly wearing her authentic Sakic 19 jersey.

The Peerless said...

@OCinCO...I don't mean to single out Denver as much as it seams a symptom of a saturated sports menu. Between all the choices for live events and all the choices on television (in high definition), if you're not a winner, you have a hard time competing. Denver is an example and so to, I'm afraid, is Washington.

OCinCO said...

I understand. Actually, I was piling on Denver. I got sick and tired of hearing AvsFans spout off about what a great hockey town Denver was. I tried making the point that it was Avs success that kept the building full & sweaters on the fans' backs & that sooner or later the piper would have to be paid (bad drafting, continual trades of prospects, questionable free agent signings---- any of this sound familiar?)- and that the building would no longer be packed.

Being the difficult contrarian that I am, I found myself rooting against the Avs (and their annoying fans) for years. Now, as the pendulum shifts, I find myself rooting for the Avs more and more - although if they lost every game the rest of the season, for draft position, I would not be disappointed.

Dougeb said...

Peerless, don't you believe, in general terms, that attendance and fan interest is directly related to team performance? Even the 'mighty Penguins' had dreadful attendance just 5 or 6 years ago. Other than most Canadian teams, which NHL team will fans support with a full house if that team is not consistently winning?

Perhaps you already have some stats and research on this subject.