NHL: Over/Under – The Top Undersized Players
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS

The lockout of 2004-05 brought with it many rule changes. One of them was a crack down on obstruction-related penalties (hooking, holding, interference). The game became more open, and because of that, size has become less important than it was during the ‘dead puck era’ of the late 1990’s and early 2000’s. Size still matters, as hockey is a physical sport, but we have seen a vast number of undersized players succeed in the NHL (especially in recent years).

What does undersized mean, exactly? There isn’t an […]


NHL: Ryan Kesler Versus Regression
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

On Friday night, Ryan Kesler will return to the Canucks lineup against the Dallas Stars (Dallas Stars at Vancouver Canucks (-200, 5)). His return couldn’t have been timed any better, really. With Manny Malhotra exiting stage left due to the lingering impact of his eye injury, and Vancouver’s special teams sputtering mightily to begin the season a Kesler injection was pretty much exactly what the doctor ordered for the Canucks.

To the credit of the entire organization, the Canucks managed to do a lot more than merely […]


NHL: Friday Five for 15 February
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS

In today’s instalment of the Friday Five, I take a look at the Ryan O’Reilly holdout in Colorado, Alexander Semin’s impact in Carolina, the return of Ryan Kesler, and more.

5. COLORADO MISSES RYAN O’REILLY
Colorado Avalanche at Edmonton Oilers (-162, 5)
It appears as if O’Reilly’s days as a member of the Colorado organization are over. The club and O’Reilly have been unable to close the gap in terms of expected salary – O’Reilly wants a contract with an annual cap hit in the […]


NHL: The Loss Of Manny Malhotra
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

The news broke at Canucks practice on Thursday that the Vancouver Canucks will be placed on injured reserve and is likely to miss the rest of the season. Which has since been confirmed by the Canucks, but the reasonings of it have not. But, it is widely assumed that the injury sidelining Malhotra now is related to the eye injury he suffered when he was struck by the puck in the Spring of 2011.

Malhotra’s on-ice effectiveness had diminished since his return from that fearful, freak accident; […]


NHL: Over/Under – Five Overperforming Teams
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS

Yesterday, we took a look at five NHL teams underperforming relative to talent/expectations – Washington, Detroit, St. Louis, New York Rangers, and the Stanley Cup champs from Los Angeles.

Today, we will do the same type of analysis, but on five NHL teams that are overperforming relative to talent/expectations.

Anaheim Ducks (9-2-1, 2nd overall in the NHL)
Anaheim Ducks to Win Stanley Cup +1700
Unless a friend or family member of yours plays for the Ducks, I doubt you would have expected them to be […]


NHL: The Goalie Tandem Is Saving The Canucks
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

Vancouver’s goaltending has helped the club overcome woeful special teams so far.

Through twelve games this season, the Vancouver Canucks have posted an impressive 8-2-2 record and a solid +10 goal differential despite relatively weak special teams and injuries to two of their top-six forwards in David Booth and Ryan Kesler. They’ve managed this feat thanks to a correlation of factors, however, mostly the club can thank their All-Universe goalie tandem of Cory Schneider and Roberto Luongo for their lofty perch atop the moribund Northwest Division (Vancouver […]


NHL: Over/Under – 5 Underperforming Teams
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

Last week we profiled five underperforming and five overperforming NHL players from the first month of NHL action in 2013. This week, we will do the same analysis on some of the 30 NHL clubs.

Read on to find out which five NHL clubs are underperforming relative to talent and/or expectations thus far in 2013.

Washington Capitals (4-8-1, 30th overall in the NHL)
Washington Capitals at Tampa Bay Lightning (-162, 5.5)
If  games were played on paper, the Capitals would be a lock for the postseason. They have […]


NHL: Art Ross Trophy Update
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS

I did an Art Ross preview before the start of the season and with roughly a quarter of the season in the books, I figured an follow up would be in order.

THE FAVOURITES
SIDNEY CROSBY
Pittsburgh Penguins to Win Stanley Cup +700
Sid the Kid has been very solid to start the 2013 regular season. He is fifth in scoring with 17 points, and he is also fifth in assists with 12. Expect him to remain in contention (I’d still consider him the […]


NHL: Better Or Worse – Detroit Red Wings
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

I find it helpful to think of Hockey as a game of ratios and percentages governed by randomness. It’s certainly not about raw numbers. Teams cannot control the bounces or harness the powers of puck luck, but the good teams can control the game by winning the percentages. Basically, a good team is a hockey team that can tilt the odds in their favour consistently.

Even those teams however, can get repeatedly burned over a small sample of games. Let’s wade into the muck this week and evaluate […]


NHL: The Friday Five for 8 February
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS

In today’s instalment of the Friday Five, I take a look at the dominant Chicago Blackhawks, the surprising Anaheim Ducks, whether Ryan Nugent Hopkins needs to worry about a recurring shoulder injury, and more.

5. BLACKHAWKS MAKING IT LOOK EASY
Chicago Blackhawks to win Western Conference +280
The Chicago Blackhawks continue to be the class of the NHL. They are getting solid goaltending from both Corey Crawford and Ray Emery. Their defense is a great balance of skill, mobility, and size/toughness. And up front, they […]