Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Calm The Nerves!

OK, think of the following as a bit of calming medication to keep you from going berserk as we head into the final half of the Dirty Dozen games to end the season.  The good news is that we are in a playoff race as April begins!  The bad news is that we are in a playoff race as April begins!  

This is a new experience for Jackets fans, and can be unnerving for those who have not experienced the daily ups, downs and twists.  In listening to and reading fan comments, you would think we were in 12th.  So, armed with some facts, let me attempt to return some degree of rationality to the debate.

First, I have updated the site to provide a permanent link to the Playoff Tracker spreadsheet to the right at the top.  So those of you needing your latest information fix can get it there.  Secondly, here are the current projections, based upon every team playing as they have up to the present time:

1. San Jose 120 points
2. Detroit  116 points
3. Calgary 99 points
4. Chicago 101 points
5. Vancouver 99 points
6. Columbus 93 points
7. Nashville  91 points
8. St. Louis  90 points
9. Anaheim  88 points
10. Edmonton 87 points
11. Minnesota  86 points
12. Dallas  82 points
13. Los Angeles  80 points
14. Phoenix  77 points
15. Colorado  69 points.

Thus, the bar sits at 90 points right now, elevated by the St. Louis 5 game winning streak and Nashville's 6 game point streak.  For reasons explained below, I expect the #8 slot point total to go back to 89 or 88 before the season ends.

Consider the following:
  • The Jackets are 3-1-2 for the first 6 games of the Dirty Dozen, for 8 out of a possible 12 points.  Nashville has earned points in the last 6 games, for a total of 9 points.  So, they have gained exactly 1 point on us over 6 games.  That's acceptable -- I'll let them pick up 1 more point over the final six games -- no problem!
  • St. Louis plays 5 of their last 6 on the road, Nashville plays 4 of 6 on the road, as does Anaheim.  
  • Edmonton plays San Jose, Vancouver, Anaheim, Calgary twice
  • Nashville, besides contending with us, has Chicago twice, Detroit and Minnesota.
  • Anaheim has Edmonton, Vancouver and San Jose (twice)
  • We have played extremely well against Chicago, have a 2 - 2 record against Nashville (including a loss with Norrena in goal), and have played Minnesota tough.  We have 3 home games left and 3 road games.  Split 'em and we keep 6th easily.
We have the easiest job of any of those fighting for playoff spots, because we are above the bar and they have to catch us.  Lots of games between each other, so lots of leapfrogging will go on, which slows the pace of the pursuers. 

This team has played with intensity and character all year long, and is not going to stop now.  Darth Vader is dead.  Nashville is coming to OUR house, and is not leaving without a whipping.  The playoffs will take care of themselves within the next week.  

Think soft, calming thoughts.  All will be well . . . Go Jackets!!


soultrain said...

Great game by the boys but looking at your chart, I think you have another team to add to the chart in Calgary. Looks like the Canucks might leap frog for the division lead after tonight, would be good to see their run down the stretch since were only 3 points out of the 4/5 match up. Hard to make up that ground in 5, but still a chance. Great to know that two more teams are offically eliminated by the Jackets in Dallas and LA. 4 down, 3 to go!!!!

Rick said...

JAL ~ Great read! Many people will come to realize in time that 1 or 2 losses are not going to hurt us that bad. It's not the end of the world. Time to gear up for the playoffs after that win over the Preds tonight.

Keep up the great work.

Carry The Flag!!!

JAL said...

Ask, and ye shall receive!!! I have updated the spreadsheet up to the moment, and included Calgary.

What a great, gutty game by the boys. Game review coming up!

Go Jackets!!

Brian said...

Have really enjoyed the blog and your rational analysis.

It amazes me that some people firmly believe that gaining 3-4 point for fourth or fifth place is impossible but those same people believe losing 5 points to end up ninth is almost a foregone conclusion.

JAL said...

Brian -- That is beautiful!! Couldn't have said it better myself!

These are the same folks who must have stayed away from Nationwide last night, figuring the season was over.

We had two guys sitting in front of us, who obviously had no freaking clue what hockey was or what was happening, nor did they have the tickets for the seats they perched in. They spent the night drinking beer, standing up at the wrong times (and facing away from the ice!), and watching everything but the game.

Thanks for your support!