Berger's latest blog is just plain awesome (don't worry, it's the Fan590 Link)
He ran down the possibilities and probabilities the Heroes are looking at a week before camp and 29 days before Denying the Habs forwards the chance of riding the Behemoth or Top Gun for obvious safety concerns.
*notes off the bat, I'm just taking a quick procrastinate, I have no time nor desire to make a post backed up by facts and bang on stats, just merely take a quick look at Berger. He must have the letters 'MOY' on his bathroom mirror in the same place Rocky had Drago's picture in the fourth instalment because his determination is there.
What he says is basically:
10-20% [call it 15%] The chance of challenging for a playoff spot, contingent on:
- Vesa and Gustavbecome premier tandum
- Top 10 PK in the league
- Two prospects become scoring threats, list not including Stalberg, Stefanovic, or the ghost of Steen
- Beauchemin and Komisarek do well
- Shootout over .500
- home ice 15 games over .500
Johnny Thunder's notes:
15 games over 500 at home just to challenge for a spot!? If we're 15 games over .500 I'd say we'd have to totally crumble in those hostile trips to Atlanta and Ottawa
Marginal improvement 60-80% [call it 70%]
- Steady goaltending
- PK top 20
- Grabbo maintains anti-kostytsin focus
- Blake at 30G
- Sophmores don't sag
- Bauch improves PP
- Discipline and creativity
- A ROY candidate [do I assume the 'challenge for playoff spot' has 2 ROYs needed?]
- Coach has room's ear
- Greater than .500 in shootouts
- 8th dman MVR can boost production from the press box... I mean back end
ROY candidate is a pretty hopeful one, MVR is just chasing unicorns. Overall, fine assessment
Leafs will stagnate: chances 50-60% [55%]
- Vesa is decent, gustav struggles
- OLAS regresses
- PK in top 25 in league
- Hanson, Boz and Tlusty aren't adequate
- Colton Orr is just a fighter (i guess he's banking on Orr not improving on his 5 points last year, or a dreaded 20% reduction in offensive output leaving him at 4)
- Blake under 20G
- Team plays best hockey after November when it stops mattering.
Johnny Thunder's Notes:
Stagnate is pretty much spot on, pretty much would leave us where we were last year
Leafs plummet chances 15-25% [20%]
- Goalies are brutal
- Undisciplined penatlies
- PK still bad
- Grabbo, Blake, TooLusty, and Poni are not consistent or only 1 is decent
- Hanson and Bozak in AHL
- Kaberle still falters
- Beauchemin proves every pundit wrong and turns out not to be good
- Komesarek bad
- Coach loses room
- Less than .500 on home ice
- Shootouts mostly lost
- Burke trades prospects
Johnny Thunder's Notes:
Oh dear Howard.
Notes 15+70+55+20=100, everybody knows that, so Howie good to see you're in mid-season form.
I really don't think that making the playoffs is some insurmountable challenge for this team. In all honesty i think the Heroes don't really need to be that much better than they were last year to make the playoffs.
There are teams that are a lock, and teams that are hopeless who we can address right off the bat..
Atlantic--Pitt, Philly, NJ,
I would think NYR gets in there too, just out of respect for making it in the last few years and benefit of the doubt, but if in there, they'd come with an asterik along with every one of Gregg Zaun's records.
SE--Tamp, FLA, ATL
Like the locks, MTL could possibly get in, which at least gives it hope, Florida could have salvaged something had they not let Jay Bo and Belak go for absolutely nothing.
Assuming there are 2 playoff spots left, the heroes are in there against...
So 3 teams battling for 2 spots, one of which has a front line that can't go on all the rides at Wonderland, the other has Glen Sather paying Redden $6.5 or something (could be $5.5, either way) leaving them with no cap flex, and still have Sean Avery.
So assuming Howie's 'Challenging for a Playoff Spot' means challenge for a playoff spot, he's pegging us in there at a 15% chance that we'll be better than Ottawa, Buff, NYI, Tamp, FLA,and ATL. Thanks Howie, you're great.
Furthermore, based on this, I don't think 'Stagnate' and 'Challenge for a playoff spot' are all that different. The teams that got better in the East we don't compete with, meaning Philly getting Pronger doesn't effect us, b/c they would have a spot in the playoffs either way. Tanguay to Tampa doesn't effect us, b/c they're back end is anchored by an 18 year old with mike smith still unproven. Buffalo could challenge for a playoff spot now that i think of it. But the overall point is that teams like MTL and NYR have taken a step back, making our improve from the back end plan, slow and steady and what not, could be enough to not blow the doors off the league, but still at very least 'contend for a spot'.
Too lazy to read it over or I'd correct the Buffalo flip flop I did at the end.
What are your thoughts? Go Flyers!