Author Archives: arseneau

Hockey Survivor Pool Picks for Mar. 5: Bruins, Avalanche

This Hockey Survivor Pool (the original) just refuses to end. While Mike puts together a contingency plan in case our three contestants run out of teams to choose from, let’s take a look at this week’s matchups.

Keep in mind that Vancouver, Tampa Bay, Washington, San Jose, Philadelphia, Los Angeles and Atlanta are off the table for all three of our remaining contestants, so short of picking some big underdogs to outright win, the choices are pretty slim.

Boston Bruins vs. Pittsburgh Penguins (Saturday, 7:00 Eastern)

Pittsburgh has done an admirable job holding it together without Evgeni Malkin and Sidney Crosby, but their lack of depth is starting to shine through. The Pens have won just three of their last ten, and they roll into Beantown to face a streaking Bruins team that has won six straight.

Not only are the Bruins on a tear, but they are the NHL’s leaders in goals against. The B’s have allowed just 148 goals so far this year. This doesn’t bode well for a Pens team that is missing its two best offensive players.

Prediction: Bruins win 4-1

Colorado Avalanche vs. Edmonton Oilers (Saturday, 10:00)

In a battle of two of the NHL’s worst teams, the Avs get a slight edge. They still have most of the core that made it to the playoffs last year, and can at least boast a couple of legit offensive stars in Matt Duchene and Paul Stastny. The Oilers are still too erratic, and frighteningly thin on D as long as Ryan Whitney is out. Taylor Hall injured his ankle in their game Thursday and is questionable. Dealing Dustin Penner won’t help them this year, but I can’t help but marvel at how much Steve Tambellini was able to fetch for the one dimensional winger.

Prediction: Avalanche win 4-3

Hockey Survivor Pool Picks for Feb. 19: Sharks, Maple Leafs, Red Wings

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

Hockey Survivor Pool Picks for Feb. 5: Lightning, Hurricanes, Sabres

Just after we started to make some headway trying to decide the never ending Hockey Survivor Pool, the All-Star break had to hit and bring the pool to a halt. We did lose another entry, former champ lyonn, two weeks ago, and that was the first booting from the pool in three weeks. Now the All-Star game is behind us, we’re back at it this week.

As mentioned a couple weeks ago, our poolies are starting to run out of elite teams to choose from, making some tougher matchups more and more relevant. This is definitely evident in this week’s picks.

Tampa Bay Lightning vs. St. Louis Blues (Sunday, 3:00 Eastern)

Tampa Bay is red-hot, currently riding a six game winning streak. They’re also sporting a solid 17-4-2 home record. St. Louis, on the other hand, would actually probably be in the playoff picture if they could manage to play .500 hockey on the road. The Blues are 15-8-3 at home, but sit at 7-12-4 on the road.

This is my favourite pick this week, and of our remaining contestants, only JoePoolGuy used Tampa Bay already.

Prediction: 5-3 Lightning

Carolina Hurricanes vs. Atlanta Thrashers (Saturday, 7:00)

Carolina is simply too good, and too battle-tested, to not make the playoffs. If they’re going to make the playoffs however, it’s likely they will need to leapfrog their Southeast Division rivals, the Atlanta Thrashers. Carolina currently sits one point back of Atlanta, but the ‘Canes have a pair of games in hand.

With so many of the ‘Canes players having won a Stanley Cup together, you can bet this group will recognize the importance of Saturday’s tilt in Raleigh. Add to this the fact that the Thrashers have won just two of their last ten, plus the ‘Canes have won both meetings between the two this year. It’s a strong bet that Carolina will find itself sitting in a playoff position come Sunday morning.

Of interest for our poolies, JoePoolGuy was left out from the Tampa Bay pick, but is our only entry that can still pick Carolina. Bring it home, JPG!

Prediction: 4-1 Hurricanes

Buffalo Sabres vs. Toronto Maple Leafs (Saturday, 7:00)

The Buffalo Sabres have very quietly won seven of their last ten, and moved themselves into a great spot to make a playoff push. They sit six points back of Atlanta for the eighth and final playoff spot, but currently have four games in hand on the Thrashers.

It won’t be easy for the Sabres down the stretch, as they will have to do without arguably their best forward in Derek Roy, but Sabres fans can take some solace in the fact that Buffalo is 2-0 against the Leafs this season.

All four of our remaining poolies can pick Buffalo. Perhaps the choices aren’t that tough just yet, but we’ll know for sure after Saturday.

Prediction: 3-1 Sabres