Monday, April 12, 2010

The NHL season is over, time now for the real seaon

So the season is over and Vancouver managed to finish well, though they scare me for the playoffs because of some of the serious clangers of games they have had.

The Canucks had their second best season of all time, only 2006/07 was better.

Henrik Sedin is the first Canuck to win the Art Ross and the first west coast player since Wayne Gretzky in 1993/94 and only the third player on the west coast to win it all. The team finished with 4 players in the top 40 scorers in the league. They have a clear set of young players that are having an impact in the league.

They are going into the series with LA with a 3-1 record in the regular season.

What is going in Vancouver's favour is that they have 49 wins this season. Vancouver had more wins than everyone but Phoenix, Washington, San Jose, and Chicago. In the playoffs it is only the wins that matter. Having a lot of shoot out or overtime losses is nice as point boost in the season, but it also indicates you lose in the games. Vancouver is fifth overall in wins.

While the goal spread between what you score and when you are scored on is also a good measure of how good your team is and the likelihood of going far in the playoffs. Vancouver had a spread of +50 goals, only Washington and Chicago did better than that.

Vancouver is the youngest team in the playoffs, this is both a problem and a potential upside. Young players without a lot of playoff experience can often fail in the post season, they are missing that something needed to push into the post season. The core of the current team does have some experience in the post season, just getting to the playoffs is not going to be enough any longer, making to the second round will not be enough. These players will be hungry to go further. I do not think they will fold this year in the post season, though they have been erratic.

The upside of a young team is that they have more stamina for the game. The season has been on since October 1st and there was the exhibition season before that. There have been 82 regular season and 4-5 exhibition season games in six and half months. For the best players in the NHL there was also the Olympic games, another four to seven games. A player like Henrick Sedin is coming into the past season having played 90 games. Sydney Crosby has played about 92 games this season. Young players have more left to be able to play another two months of hockey.

Thursday it all starts.

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