The TSN Turning Point

A brief collection of the moment(s) that changed a series and impacted the entire playoff picture

2002 – 1st Round – (1) Detroit vs. (8) Vancouver 

Nick Lidstrom from centre ice on Dan Cloutier

The eventual 2002 cup champs were down 2-0 in the series after 2 dominant performances by Naslund, Bertuzzi and co. In a tight game 3 at GM Place in Vancouver, Nick Lidstrom beat Dan Cloutier glove side on a low shot from centre ice. Vancouver never recovered, losing the game 3-1, and the series in 6. What might have been? Continue reading

1st Round Playoff Picks

Alright. Before making any picks, I’m going back to the well: history! Here are my picks from last year’s 1st round (in bold):

(1) Washington vs. (8) Montreal – Oops. Well not many saw that coming. Yes, Halak played out of his mind, but Gill, Gorges and others also blocked half the shots Washington threw at the net.

 (2) NJ vs. (7) Philly – Wrong again. Though at least I qualified it by saying the following:

“Chance of upset: Pretty good if Boucher can play 4 good games. (doubtful)”

Apparently not doubtful…(Remember, goaltending is fickle)

(3) Buffalo vs. (6) Boston – Boston underperformed during the season, and Buffalo won the division because they were the best of a sub-par group. These teams were evenly matched, and Boston played just a little bit better

(4) Pittsburgh vs. (5) Ottawa – No surprises there

(1) San Jose vs. (2) Colorado – Colorado got an early lead with Anderson playing ridiculously, but San Jose overcame the early deficit

(2) Chicago vs. (7) Nashville – Chicago got a scare when Nashville nearly won game 5 to take a 3-2 lead, but they came back in that game and won in 6

(3) Vancouver vs. (6) Los Angeles – a tight series (2-2 after 4 games) but Vancouver pulled away late

(4) Phoenix vs. (5) Detroit – Close series which went to game 7, but the final game was a blowout Continue reading

The Recipe for Success

How much information is too much information?

I remember a few details about an interesting study that was done on management decision making. Basically, decision makers were given three different levels of information: very little info, moderate info, or detailed info. Then they were asked to make a decision. While one might expect that more info is good and less info is bad, what the researchers found was that the decision makers who were given moderate info consistently made the best decisions. Furthermore, those who were given detailed info didn’t fare much better than those with very little.

Without getting technical, this has to do with the brain’s ability, or rather inability to process information. Most of us become overwhelmed when confronted with too much info, which impairs our ability to make good decisions. Still, that doesn’t mean that having lots of information is necessarily a bad thing. The problem lies in the inability to decide what information is most pertinent to the decision.

What is the Recipe for Success?

Is there a recipe for playoff success? If so, what are the criteria? There are many general criteria that are bandied about. For instance, that playoff success stems from:

  • Size, grit, toughness
  • Veteran leadership
  • An all/mostly Canadian roster
  • A ‘money’ goalie
  • Two great centres

Continue reading

How to Pick a Playoff Contender

Momentum

People often talk about ‘momentum’ heading into playoffs. Momentum is an interesting concept. You can often see it shifting within a game when a big save on one end leads to a big goal at the other end. Momentum also can affect a series, as the Anaheim Ducks proved to us in 2003 as they took out nearly everyone in their path. (Yeah it was goaltending, but the players had to make a few good plays too).

You also hear people talk about a team ‘having momentum’ heading into the playoffs. I don’t buy it. Here are a few examples to support my case.

In 2008, Washington finished the season by going 11-1-0! Ovechkin was unstoppable, Huet was playing lights out, and most people expected them to make a bit of a run. They played Philadelphia and lost 1st round. Last year, Detroit finished the year 17-4-1. In round 1, they squeaked by Phoenix in 7 games, then lost to San Jose in 5 only games. (Though San Jose won each game by only 1 goal). Continue reading

A Brief Playoff History: 2006-2010

If you want to try to predict the future, all you have is the past. One might object by suggesting that we have the ‘present’, but that’s really just the recent past. I’m keenly interested in trying to predict the future. In the realm of hockey, the thing that most interests me is predicting future cup winners – not just in 2011, but in the next five or even ten years. However, the further forward in time that you go, the more speculative it gets, and with this year’s playoffs quickly approaching, let’s stick to 2011.

Here are the last 5 cup finalists (winners in bold):

2006 – Carolina-Edmonton

2007 – Anaheim-Ottawa

2008 – Detroit-Pittsburgh

2009 – Pittsburgh-Detroit

2010 – Chicago-Philadelphia

Now let’s take a journey through the past… Continue reading