Monday, February 27, 2012

4 ROW in a row

In the last six games: Landeskog has 5 goals, 5 assists with a point in every game.
In the last three games: newly-acquired Downie has 2 goals, 5 assists, with at least two points in every game.
And then Duchene chips one in out of the air after Stansny makes a pass over the diving defender.

nhl math

First off, the way ESPN and even the NHL show standings is flawed. Here's ESPN, with teams sorted by total points.


And here's how it should be, via nhltruestandings.com, sorted by points earned divided by points possible.


All season, San Jose has been lower in the ESPN standings that they really should be, and Colorado has been higher. And you can have silly things like this. Now that we've got that straight, I want to look at the true standings to make sense of the playoff race.

Looking at the race in the West for the 8th spot, we see:

Dallas .556
LA .548
Calgary .540
Colorado .540

Which is all fine and dandy. But hard to draw conclusions from. Instead, I'm more interested in the right hand column, the pace.


Dallas 91.11
LA 89.94
Calgary 88.61
Colorado 88.51

For an idea of how these change, here's how these paces looked at the all-star break a month ago:

LA 95.12
Minnesota 92.04
Dallas 88.83
Colorado 86.82

Calgary 85.28

Colorado and Calgary have upped their pace over the last month, while LA, Minnesota, and Dallas have all gone down. So even with 63 games played, these numbers are flexible.

Heck, Phoenix went from 52 points at 50 games, to 73 points at 62 games. That upped their pace to 96.55 from 85.28 in 12 games.

- - -

But I want to focus on the 8th spot. So here are the pressing numbers.


Dallas 91.11
LA 89.94
Calgary 88.61
Colorado 88.51

The real question is what will it take to get Colorado's pace up to a 91 or 92.

The Avs have played 63, 19 to go.

They have 68 points right now.

Since their pace right now is 88.51, and you can't earn half a point, I'll figure both 88 and 89 as Current.
And I'll figure 92 as what it takes to make the playoffs.

Current Pace A: 88 = 20 new points in 19 games
You could expect the Avs to go 10-9-0 or 9-8-2 at this rate.

Current Pace B: 89 = 21 new points in 19 games
You could also expect the Avs to go 10-8-1 or 9-7-3 at this rate.

Playoff Pace: 92 = 24 new points in 19 games
To make the playoffs, they would need to go 12-7-0 or 11-6-2.

In other words, to make the playoffs, Colorado would need to win two games that they would normally lose.

Which is a tricky concept. Let's say they win tonight against Anaheim. It's hard to say that win is one of those two. They already have a winning record, so it's not enough to win games. They need to win two extra.

Or, another way of looking at is, to get 24 new points in 19 games, would be 63.2% of the remaining points possible. Over 63 games, they've earned 54% of the points possible. Which makes it seem like quite a challenge, to suddenly play like a much better team down the stretch. Certainly it's more daunting than the ESPN standings seem, just two points behind Dallas, just one game.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Go Avs Go!

Prior to Wednesday, the Avs had lost 12 of their last 18 games. Including 8 of their last 11.

But with Duchene back in the lineup, and Downie making his debut (acquired from Tampa Bay, Quincey was traded to Detroit in the deal) Colorado scored three in the first, and Varlamov stopped 32 of 33 shots. The Avs won 4-1 against a team they trailed by just two standings points after the game.

Two days after that in what had potential to be a road trap game, Colorado shutout Columbus, 5-0. Downie got his first goal in burgundy and blue and Varlamov got his third shutout of the season.

And then less than 24 hours later, the Avs faced off against the #1 team in the league, Detroit. The Red Wings hadn't lost in regulation at home since November 3rd. And instead of coming tired, the Avs came out starving.  Landeskog puts one in the net in the first two minutes, with an assist from Downie. And then a minute later, Jones adds a shorthanded goal. In the second, Landeskog gets another, again an assist from Downie. And it's 3-0 Colorado. Detroit would start the 3rd with a power play goal, but with 10 minutes left, Downie gets a goal giving the Avs an insurmountable 4-1 lead. Detroit would add two more, but it wasn't enough.

After playing 6 of their last 7 on the road, Colorado has 6 of their next 8 at home. Including a March 12 date with Anaheim, for which I will be in attendance. Keep up this pace and they could get the 8th playoff spot and a possible round one date with Detroit. Go Avs.

Curling: Week One

This was a strange one.

Our opponent was a team of two couples...and one didn't show up. Well, they did show up right before the 8th and last end. (They misread the schedule which said all rookie teams play at 9:30 this week, except for the the highlighted teams who are playing at 7:30. It's slightly confusing, but everyone else figured it out. To add insult to injury, they live an hour away and have a baby, presumably they hired a sitter to drive two hours and play for ten minutes.)

Anyways, so it was decided that I would play for both teams. I was second position for both teams, throwing two stones for each team, and sweeping for both sides. So I was active on every throw.

The good news...I played much, much better than I had in either of my two games as a sub. I hit a few great draws to the button, but mostly I hit a bunch of nice knockouts. A couple where I threw a red stone and knocked out two yellow. Or I would throw a yellow, tap it off another yellow, and keep both in the house.

But it was a little weird. Because sometimes I had good shots consecutively, canceling out my first good shot. And there was at least two times where the red skip knocked out a red stone that I had thrown to the button.

The team that I am assigned to was yellow, and we were up 5-1 after four. After six it was tied at 6-6. In the seventh we could have scored two but our skip knocked one of ours out. So we had a 7-6 lead going into the last end but they had the hammer. They had two in the edge of the house, and we couldn't get one in. So they won 8-7, with their other two players getting to come in and play the last end.

But it doesn't really matter. Our team wasn't going to contend for the championship anyway, so we might as well lose the first one, take the pressure off.

I left happy. I played great. And I got twice the experience. Good curling.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Injury Report for Curling Week 1

Saturday - 7:30pm - Sheet 1

Northwest Sliders

vs

Blazing Brooms
P Dave Fymbo (sinuses)

Sunday, February 12, 2012

nhl 11 highlights

Ever since Christmas it's pretty much been non-stop hockey on the ps3. I played a 41 game season with the Avs, won the division by a game, made it the Stanley Cup Finals...and lost in game 7 in overtime...on a goal scored off a faceoff.

Then I played just the playoffs with the Avs. And won the Cup, sweeping the Bruins. Again the cup-winning goal came in overtime, this time in my favor.

So then I thought I would branch out and try a different team. I was looking for a team that had a legit elite deker. Thought about Crosby or Ovechkin, but then decided on Datsyuk.

It might seem like sacrilege for an Avs fan, but who cares.

Anyways, here's an awesome highlight of me flipping a backhander top shelf after getting the puck down low.



And then here's a great example of how much stick control this game gives players. I had a two-on-one and then deked the goalie for a backhand goal.


Friday, February 10, 2012

life perspective from south park

"Well yeah, and I'm sad, but at the same time I'm really happy that something could make me feel that sad. It's like, it makes me feel alive, you know? It makes me feel human. And the only way I could feel this sad now is if I felt somethin' really good before. So I have to take the bad with the good, so I guess what I'm feelin' is like a, beautiful sadness."

Thursday, February 09, 2012

the best hoopideas

ESPN is soliciting ideas for how to make basketball better.

Here are the diamonds in the rough from twitter:

Penalty box! Power plays! Two freebies, and then 3rd and 4th fouls incur a 30 second penalty box visit, 5th and 6th, incur a 1 minute visit.

Play 7 periods of 8 minutes each. First to win 4 periods wins. Only 1 timeout per period. Each game a best of 7! (Interesting but basically is like tennis. People still think the first sets are boring...)

No saving timeouts. Once the clock hits 2:00 each team is allowed 1 timeout despite how many you had 'saved.'

First team to 100 wins, must win by 3.

Overtime is 4 on 4.

More commercials at quarter breaks, so less commercials during the action.

Basically any rule that makes basketball more like hockey.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The New England Patriots and Their Last Seven Seasons

Since 2001, the Patriots have won 3 Super Bowls.

Over the last seven season, the Patriots have been 86-26 in the regular season. An astonishing 76.8 winning percentage. Including 16-0.

They've been 7-6 in the playoffs. And been to two Super Bowls.

And during this time, they have as many Super Bowl victories as the Chiefs, Lions and Bears. Zero.

- - -

Brady. Belichick. Seven great seasons with no rings.

What happened?

2005: The Patriots were 10-6 but lost in the playoffs on the road to Jake Plummer's Broncos.

2006: The Pats lost the AFC Championship to the Colts 38-34. The Colts go on to win the Super Bowl over the Grossman Bears. If the Pats don't blow a 4th quarter lead, they would surely have added a 4th ring in the decade and Manning would never have won one.

2007: 18-1. After being the best NFL team ever, they lose in the Super Bowl to the Giants. NYG had the ball on their own 17 with 2:39 remaining, down 10-14. Jacobs converts 4th and 1. Samuel drops a would-be interception. Eli in the grasp, escapes, helmet catch. TD to Buress.

2008: Pollard knocks out Brady for the season. Cassel's Pats still go 11-5! But don't make the playoffs. Meanwhile, 3 of the last 5 Champions were 10-6 or worse.

2009: Brady comes back, lose in the playoffs to the Ravens.

2010: Pats get the #1 seed, lose in the playoffs to the Jets.

2011: Pats again get the #1 seed, lose in the Super Bowl the Giants again. NYG had the ball on their own 12 with 3:46 remaining, down 15-17.

- - -

To sum up, they left a title on the table in 2006, 2007, and 2011. In 2010, they were the #1 seed with a 14-2 record. 4 ELITE seasons with no titles. This doesn't even count two 10-6 seasons where the lost in the playoffs or an 11-5 season where they didn't make the playoffs.

Sheesh. Must burn to be a Patriots fan.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

The Greatest Ever

We know that no matter how good a player is, winning a championship in a team sport comes down to the team.

Of course.

That said, I wanted to look at the two sports where we have (mostly) definitive greatest ever in the sport, and where those players can have big impacts. Jordan and Gretzky.

Aside: The only year that we have this stat, Gretzky averaged 21 minutes on the ice. Given 6 players at 60 minutes, Gretzky was 5.83% of his team's players.

For his career, Jordan averaged 38 minutes on the floor. Given 5 players at 48 minutes, Jordan was 15.83% of his team's players.

So right off the bat, it would seem that a basketball player has three times the impact on a team as a hockey player.

Jordan

1984: lost first round (Rookie of the Year)
1985: lost first round (to Champion Celtics)
1986: lost first round (to Eastern Champs Celtics)
1987: lost second round (to Eastern Champs Pistons)
1988: lost conf. finals (to Champion Pistons)
1989: lost conf. finals (to Champion Pistons)
1990: Championship
1991: Championship
1992: Championship

1995: Championship
1996: Championship
1997: Championship

2001: age 38 comeback
2002: age 39

Simply incredible. He played 14 seasons. The first six he kept advancing in the playoffs, losing to the best team in their bracket. And then the next six he won the title. And then the last two he came back and showed he still had skill.


Gretzky

joined EDM
1979: lost in preliminary round
1980: lost in first round
1981: lost in division semifinals
1982: lost in Finals
1983: Championship
1984: Championship
1985: lost in division finals
1986: Championship
1987: Championship
trade to LA
1988: lost in division finals
1989: lost in division finals
1990: lost in division finals
1991: lost in division semifinals
1992: lost in Finals
1993: missed playoffs
1994: missed playoffs
trade to STL
1995: lost in conference semifinals
trade to NY
1996: lost in conference semifinals
1997: missed playoffs
1998: missed playoffs

Sort of crazy for how good Gretzky is, and how impressive his records are, that he didn't win more. Winning 4 Cups in 5 years is absolutely impressive. But I think this shows that it's easier for a star to transform a basketball team than a hockey team.

My Souper Bowl

So Grantland put together a soup bracket. But with some glaring omissions...no chili? I suppose you could argue that chili is not a soup, that it is it's own category, or that it's a stew and that's a separate bracket. Still I think it belongs. What about a gumbo? Or any cajun/creole dish? Crawfish chowder?

I think chili wins the tournament if it's in. But it's not. Here's my bracket, followed by the Grantland readers choices.



Analysis
Most underrated: Butternut Squash
Most overrated: Chicken Noodle

I would have had Chicken Noodle out in the first round if it had any decent competition. Miso, Lentil, Beef Barley, all lost in my first round, but could have beaten Chicken Noodle.

I think Wonton is fine. But Butternut Squash is divine. Captures the flavors of fall. Awesome with some roast chicken or turkey along side.

There were two first round matchups where I couldn't pick a winner. Where I wouldn't eat either soup under normal circumstances.

Clam Chowder is a fine, fine soup. But I defy people to sit down and have a good bowl of clam chowder and a good bowl of lobster bisque and say the clam chowder is better. I think this won on name only. (Which is stupid, because lobster bisque has a better name anyways. Can't explain this one.)

Saturday, February 04, 2012

Adventures in Curling: sub edition #2

This week I subbed again, though I made sure it was for a rookie league.

Though you couldn't tell just by looking at them. On Sheet 5, a team was wearing matching printed team shirts.

And our two teams mulled over every shot like this was the Olympics. We only finished 7 ends instead of the full 8 because we ran out of time.

Despite being the rookie league, everyone there seemed quite experienced. Also you can tell who's serious, because they have their own brooms.

I was assigned first position again which was fine with me since I didn't want to ruin their game.

We won the coin toss and scored two with the hammer in the first end.
And then we scored a point in the 2nd and 3rd without the hammer.
Up 4-0, they scored a point.
And then in the 5th end, they scored two even though we had the hammer.

With the score 4-3 after the 5th end, it could have gone either way.

Our team scored two in the 6th.

And then with a 6-3 lead, we played not to lose and let them get two in the 7th end, but knocked enough of theirs out to win, 6-5.


So if we played 7 ends, that means I had 14 shots.

At least 4 of them didn't cross the hog line and so weren't in play.
And another 3 or so rolled out the back of the house.

I had 2 that landed in the middle of the house--which you'd think would be great. But when you're a first, the ideal shot is at the front of the house or just in front of it. When I had a rock near the button, it was knocked out on the next shot.

I did have about 2 shots that were centered and up front, just what you'd like to see. But one of them was in the 5th end, when they scored two, so clearly my shots were not the key to victory.

The good news was that I shot better as the night went on, so perhaps there's signs of progress.

And at least I didn't cost this team the win.