NHL: The Return of Booth and Kesler to the Canucks’ Roster
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

At beginning of this 2013 lockout shortened NHL campaign, the Canucks were short-handed due to a couple of injuries to their best two-way forwards Ryan Kesler and David Booth.

Now Ryan Kesler is a Selke winner well known for his defensive prowess, but few observers tend to think of David Booth as a two-way ace. But he is. Booth doesn’t kill penalties generally speaking, and isn’t a guy who often appears to be doing the hard work in his own end. Largely that’s because he doesn’t have […]


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: 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 […]


NHL: Better Or Worse – LA Kings
by PlayNowSports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

I said it before, and I will say it again, Hockey is a game of ratios and percentages governed by randomness. It’s certainly not about raw numbers. Sure, in a vacuum, scoring seven goals in a game is better than scoring two, but giving up eight goals while scoring seven is a worse result than giving up one while scoring two. Beyond that, teams rarely have the ability to control whether or not they’re scored against: weird ricochets off of stanchions, bouncing pucks deflecting of skates, or […]


NHL: Better Or Worse – Edmonton Oilers
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. Consider that scoring five goals is better than scoring two goals, in a vacuum, but scoring five goals while allowing six against is a worse result than scoring two and allowing only one. Beyond that, often times teams really can’t control whether or not they’re scored against. Weird ricochets off of stanchions, bouncing pucks deflecting of skates in front of the net, […]


NHL: Canucks Projections – Team Totals
by PlayNow Sports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

Well we’ve come to the end of the road with our Canucks Projections project. Having previewed every relevant Canucks roster player from the Sedin twins, to the top-six forwards, the third liners to the grinders, and from the young roster players to the defenseman. So we’ll now dive in and look at the team’s projected scoring as a whole. And on that front, my simple projection model has a lot of good news for Canucks fans as it only projects the team to fall off slightly from last […]


NHL: Who Will Be The Division Champions in the Western Conference?
by PlayNow Sports in hockey, nhl

BY JEFF ANGUS

Let’s take a look at the favourites – and a sleeper team to watch for – in the three divisions that make up the NHL’s Western Conference: the Northwest, the Central, and the Pacific.

NORTHWEST DIVISION
THE FAVOURITE: Vancouver (-172 to Win the Northwest Division)
The Canucks will once again ice a formidable roster in 2012-13. Their forward group is deep and balanced (when Ryan Kesler is healthy, at least), and they have one of the better defensive cores in the NHL. In goal, they […]


NHL: A Look At The Canucks Northwest Division Domination – Part II
by PlayNow Sports in hockey, nhl

BY THOMAS DRANCE

The mood amongst the Canucks fans I chat with regularly seems to be more pessimistic than usual headed into the 2013 season. From the injury status of Ryan Kesler (and now David Booth?), to doubts about the quality of the clubs blue-line to a general sense of impatience regarding a presumably forthcoming Luongo trade: it seems that many folks find themselves doubting that the Canucks are legitimate contenders this season, with many even wondering if Vancouver can emerge as Northwest Division champions this season. Yesterday, in part […]


NHL: The Four Biggest Questions In The Western Conference
by PlayNow Sports in hockey, nhl

A lot has happened in the Western Conference since we last saw the NHL in action in June of 2012. Detroit legend Nicklas Lidstrom officially announced his retirement from the league. The Minnesota Wild landed the two most sought-after free agents in a July surprise, and the Edmonton Oilers signed blue-chip prospect defenseman Justin Schultz out of the University of Wisconsin.

Let’s take a look at the four biggest stories from the NHL’s Western Conference.

4. Can Detroit replace Nicklas Lidstrom? (Red Wings to Win Stanley Cup +1800)
In […]