We almost decided the Hockey Survivor Pool last week. Somehow the New York Islanders took the Buffalo Sabres to overtime in a wild 7-6 game, with the Isles on the winning side. Since it went to OT, the Sabres pick counted as right for the three entries who took them in the original survivor pool, and they barely survive.
Had the Sabres lost in regulation, this pool would be decided with markymark2281 declared the winner. Instead, his pick of the Dallas Stars failed him, yet he is still alive in the pool because that is just his first incorrect since we started 13 weeks ago. This pool is double elimination remember. The other three entries are all on their last life.
On to this week, pickings are definitely getting slim because we’re almost halfway through the available NHL teams! In fact, at this point, five teams are off limits for all four of our contestants: Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Vancouver, and Washington. This does take some of my favourite matchups off the table, but there are still some solid picks this week. Let’s have a look!
San Jose Sharks vs. Colorado Avalanche (Saturday, 10:30 Eastern)
Last year, the Colorado Avalanche looked like they could be the league’s next up and coming contender, with their solid core of drafted talent. They still should be, but this year has been a rough learning experience for the young bunch. The recent distractions surrounding Foppa’s abbreviated comeback surely didn’t help, and this was evident in the Avs 9-1 dismantling at the hands of the Calgary Flames on Monday. To make matters worse, the Avs lost their leading scorer, Matt Duchene, to an injury in that same contest. With a 1-8-1 record in their last ten, things are looking pretty bleak for one of last season’s biggest surprise teams.
On the flipside, the Sharks seemed to have turned things around nicely after a rough holiday season. They are 7-2-1 in their last ten, thanks largely due to efforts from depth players such as Joe Pavelski and Logan Couture. If Joe Thornton, Dany Heatley and Ryan Clowe can get back on track, the Sharks could be scary.
ezcollectibles and JoePoolGuy, this one’s for you.
Prediction: Sharks win 4-2
Toronto Maple Leafs vs. Ottawa Senators (Saturday, 7:00)
I can’t believe it’s come to this. I am picking the Toronto Maple Leafs to win a hockey game. Not only that, I’m actively telling others, who have money at stake, that I think they should do the same.
Let’s look at the facts though: the Senators have recently shipped out Mike Fisher and Chris Kelly, and Daniel Alfredsson is out indefinitely. Things aren’t looking good. The Fisher and Kelly deals sort of puzzle me, because I really don’t think they were part of the problem in Ottawa. Unfortunately for Brian Murray, he doesn’t have much else in the way of marketable assets, as guys like Alex Kovalev, Jason Spezza, Filip Kuba and Sergei Gonchar all have contracts that seriously hamper their trade value. So Murray is stuck with dealing two of his character guys for draft picks in what is supposed to be one of the weakest draft classes in recent memory.
The Senators have also won just once in their last ten, while the Maple Leafs have won six of their last ten and are currently riding a two game winning streak. As if I needed to rub more salt in the wound… not surprisingly, all of our contestants still have the Leafs available as a pick. Hold on tight and good luck!
Prediction: Leafs win 3-1
Detroit Red Wings at Minnesota Wild (Sunday, 12:30)
I was actually pretty shocked that only one of our contestants (Eugenius) picked the Red Wings so far. The Wings and Wild have actually split their two meetings thus far this season, but Detroit took the last meeting in Minnesota by a 4-1 margin, and their other matchup needed OT to be decided.
Detroit is currently riding a two game winning streak, and getting Dan Cleary back in the lineup has helped the team get back to its regular forward lines and re-establish their depth up front. Minnesota meanwhile, is currently riding a two game losing streak.
Prediction: Wings win 4-2