It's always weird at this time of the year where you end up seeing reams of media coverage of teams out of the playoffs. I think it's long past time Sportsnet and TSN started to consider the way they focus solely on Canadian teams and how they assign attention to them. I don't care what the Flames are doing right now either.

The Leafs clinched in some obscure way yesterday due to the things other teams did, and the Oilers did as well. That's a relief, I wasn't sure if they were both going to make it. But what about the spots that aren't taken yet?

Tampa is in as well, two points behind the Leafs, but the Metro is still a mess of teams all trying to get in. They are, by Points %:

  • New York Islanders - .546
  • Philadelphia Flyers - .539
  • Washington Capitals - .539
  • Pittsburgh Penguins - .533

The Devils aren't eliminated yet, but at .500, I am ignoring them. The surprise here is that Pittsburgh, right when everyone started to ignore them, are very close with six games to play. All teams have six left, except the Flyers, who only have five. Pittsburgh has a nice healthy lead in RW in this group too, so if it comes to a tie, they get in. I called them as the team to take third all season, and it would make me feel vindicated if they do it. However, the Islanders have the goalies to really make it happen.

Two of those four make the playoffs, unless Detroit takes the other wild card. They're also at .539 with six games to play.

The Western Conference seems set, but for order. Vegas, Nashville and LA will all get the last three spots.

In women's worlds action, there are only two games today:

  • Japan plays Germany this afternoon in Group B action
  • Finland plays USA tonight

I've found the PWHL experience of hard and competitive hockey has blunted my interest in the international version of the women's game. The most meaningful preliminary round game was likely on the first day when Finland lost to Czechia and set the stage for another run at a medal by the Czechs. They got beat big by the USA, but that was after a very completive first half. Which is both fun, and the problem.

IIHF - Carpenter’s hat trick steers United States past Czechia
Alex Carpenter’s hat trick powered United States

The USA is full of college players who were just in the Frozen Four as well as PWHL stars. Canada is the same, more heavily weighted to older pros. They've all played game after game in the last few months at a higher level than anything they'll see until the medal rounds.

The rest of the field is just not at that level because they don't get that experience. Their league play that just finished is not going to be the same kind of preparation.

For a potentially good game in the preliminaries, Canada plays Czechia tomorrow at 3pm.

In lower level play:

IIHF - Italy shocks Slovakia
Italy breaks Slovakia’s win streak with buzzer beater goal

The division tournament that will determine who comes up to the big show next year is after worlds is over.

Some prospect action:

Saskatoon has won their first round series.

Easton Cowan has won his series, and the London Knights await the winner of the Kitchener and Erie series which is tied up at two-games all. Their second round is going to be a tough one.

One final note about the site:

It seems there is a misunderstanding in many people's minds about what a yearly subscription is. People seem to have thought is was a one-off donation. It's not, and if you don't want your subscription to renew, or you want to renew at a different amount, you have to take the steps to change that. Click Account in the top menu when logged in.

I have caught up with the email, which I let lapse when I was sick, so if you have an issue, use the site contact form. It's always helpful if you provide some information there, like who you are on the site.