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Playoff Highlights for 2018/19 - 2018/19 Season Highlights


X's & 0's

It has almost got to the point where it is unbelievable.  Toronto (Chad) has just had 21 man games that were given the X because they were never played.  The Leafs stopped scoring a week ago and are stuck on 19 points.  Last night, without a player playing the team picked up one important point, the Dallas tie-breaker.  New Orleans (Shawn) has thrown up 11 of his last 12 player games as a 0 and heading into his final two player games of the round, down 19-18 without the tie-breaker.  For Shawn now it will be as incredible if he wins as it will be if Chad does.  "Scoring two points with two players in one game seven is extremely difficult" said Muddy Capone, "But there is no better player to have then Stone."  Lebanc has one point in six games, but for those who have watched this series knows he could have more.  It seems however it is Stone who has the Wolverines best chance.  In a game 7 you will likely only see maybe a penalty (powerplay) or two for each team, making scoring difficult.  The other thing is if the puck starts going in for one team, the other team, as we saw last night with Washington, will pull their goalie with lots of time left even if down three goals.  That helps a guy like Stone who will get that empty net chance, but if the game is close will play maximum amounts of ice time tonight.  The winner here gets Miami (Charlie) who can be the strongest team if San Jose and Washington both win, a potential toss up if either or win or a walk-over if both lose.  Chad would love to see Vegas win for overall in the NHLP sets him up best.  Shawn wants to see Vegas move on with Stone twice and Pacioretty and likely cannot win a Cup this season if San Jose advances.  We know Chad's night ends with more X's, but does Shawn's end with more 0's or "Ohhhhhh Noooooooo's". 
The Black Hole

Unlike Chad in Toronto the Atlantic City Gamblers (Andrew) have done something just as rare.  Whereas Chad played the minimum a 7 player can can play, the Gamblers have all 7 players playing in game 7, an astonishing feat.  AC can be very strong should Vegas and Washington advance with their highest scoring player coming from either Pastrnak or Rielly, whom GM Andrew will at the least have one of them next round.  If only one of the Golden Knights or Caps advance, Andrew's Gamblers are down to a three player playoff team with Oshie gone for the playoffs.  His competition in round two will almost surely be the Islanders (Ryan) who are cheering hard for San Jose to win, other they will be poentially a walk-over should Toronto also advance on the night.  Where things get interesting here is the Philadelphia Flyer (Scott) who are sitting with a potential 7 player second round should Carolina add Niederreiter to the crazy strong lineup, aren't mathematically eliminated just yet.  "We have been on our death bed for so long, mercifully we can get a decision on things tonight" said GM Scott.  The Flyer could advance tonight on the tie-breaker should Vegas win and McAvoy, Hertl and Pavelski, who have 13 points in 18 man games, not get a single point.  If the three have a pointless night, which is unlikely, and San Jose win, GM Scott could still advance with a single point from Niederreitter in game 7.  Niederreiter has been on a line with Aho and Teravainen and with the team winning, they will stay together for their game 7 so a single point by him is not as crazy this entire playoffs to date has been.  All three GM's here still have a shot and it all comes down to what teams move on in the three game 7's and what team has the memorable night to propell their chances of winning the NHLP Championship.
Icemen Opportunity For Reals

GM Matt is down 4 points heading into his last hope for a Cup this season.  Things will be decided tonight.  With Matthews, DeBrusk twice and LeBanc it isn't hard to see the team scoring just four points.  Matthews can easily get two of three of those and DeBrusk's play has been very strong since Kadri left the series, when he concentrated on playing the game.  If Indianapolis advance and San Jose wins the Icemen will crush Alaska (Marcel) and likely go as far as Toronto goes with DeBrusk and DeBrusk as strong Boston duo if it is the Bruins advancing again in game 7.  The issue is scoring four points will be required, but truly it is scoring four more points then what Edmonton gets with Meier, Meier, Krug and Muzzin still able to add on for the Oil.  The Oil need's a San Jose win tonight to represent the Division, which woudl also surely ensure GM Scott has the team in the NHLP championship, either the Oil or Winter Hawk who will both win their Divisions shoudl San Jose win tonight.  The Icemen have a shot.  This series is tense but Matt will need a lot of goals from the Toronto and Boston series if the Icemen miracle night happens.
Vegas or San Jose

There are 8 of the 12 advancing NHLP teams that are heavily invested in this game tonight.  Pittsburgh (Chad), Seattle (Shawn), and Alaska (Marcel) all see their most realistic shots at winning a Cup thrown to the Sharks if Vegas does not win tonight.  For Miami (Charlie), San Fran (Scott), NY Islanders (Ryan), Portland (Scott) and Edmonton (Scott), the Knights can stick a sword right through their teams heart should the Sharks not pull it out.  "All the series are so important to different teams" said Muddy Capone, "But no series seems to affect this many teams chances of winning next round and maybe even eventually winning the NHLP Championship."  These GM's knew they signed up for this very matchup, as these teams have been known to be first round opponents for much of the season.  Game 7 isn't a surprise and GM's hopes and dreams are about to be crushed depending on the outcome of tonight's game.
Who's Got the Best Shot?

Two series are in game 7 while two more tonight hope to make it that far.  Who has the best shot to win the NHLP Championship.  It is wide open, but the next four undecided series will play a big part in how things unfold from round two on.

GM Charlie has a shot but it is unlikely to occur should San Jose lose game 7 to Vegas.  Ovechkin and Carlson must first get through tonight.  That is about 12 points in round two and if San Jose wins that can move to over 20.  At 12 points Miami will be an underdog versus either Toronto (Chad) or New Orleans (Shawn), even with a few from Bonino should Nashville rebound.  With San Jose and Washington both playing, the Surf can go all the way, especially with the other Washington built teams having lost Oshie for the season.  Charlie needs the Sharks and Caps to advance or his season will likely end in round two.

GM Chad has been just hanging on by a thread for days now.  All 7 players played the minimum four straight games.  That is a very rare occurrence and one that would surely spell doom for any NHLP team.  Chad might need to hit that tie-breaker in Dallas tonight, forcing New Orleans (Shawn) to need to get two points in four man games from Stone, Lebanc and Sissons (2).  Lebanc and Sissons have 11 man games and just one point.  So with the tie-breaker it likely means Stone will need two point in game 7 for Chad to lose.  It is very possible Chad has the best Columbus team moving forward and with San Jose out, will be big favorites versus Miami in round two.  If San Jose is in, it will be a crazy battle with either GM having a shot at moving on.

Tarasenko and Perron are sitting in round two awaiting on either Stone or Labanc.  The big issue is GM Shawn hasn't officially moved on and may need two points from Stone in game 7.  If that occurs, there is a good chance that means Vegas wins, leaving New Orleans a huge favorite to win the division.  If the Blues then go to the Cup there may be no other team nearly close to the Wolverines as far as Blues players.  It is unlikely without the Blues in the Finals New Orleans can win, but Stone could be should other Vegas built teams not make it all the way.  Shawn must get in and will need San Jose losing game 7 to have a serious shot at his first ever Cup.

GM Ryan already suffered a bad blow to his chances with the Oshie injury.  He can't have Nashville out as well or his season likely ends round two.  For Ryan he can still have a full 7 players advancing, even if Oshie may be lost for the duration.  Without Nashville, with Johansen, Forsberg, Bonino and Simmonds he will be hard pressed to beat San Fran (Scott) who could also add two more Sharks.  The Bruins only hope to win now likely appear Colorado or Nashville going to the finals as Carlson alone likely won't be enough.

GM Scott will need Radulov moving on and suddenly he will be a favorite in the Division finals versus Boston (Ryan).  To win it all the Titan could use San Jose winning game 7 where Burns and Nyguist will have a shot at joining the in the further rounds where a Sharks, Star or Islander's team in the finals will give the Titan a great shot at the Cup, their third team Cup.

GM Chad's Pens know they play Halifax (Shawn) and game 7's will decide who will win the Division and still have Cup hopes.  For Chad it won't be his Pens if Vegas and Toronto lose their game 7's as Chad will be a 20 to 7 underdog with no advantage gained if he adds Ellis as Halifax will add Subban.  These games are huge and Chad really needs both games to go his way if he wants to go all the way and win it all. 

GM Shawn has an awesome Blues duo of Pietrangelo and Schwartz, but the team will be out if Boston doesn't join the party.  With Bergeron and Krug still alive, the Bruins duo will help ensure Halifax likely wins the Division and then runs by either team can win it all for Halifax.  If Boston loses game 7, the Destroyers will not win the NHLP Championship.

GM Andrew looked unstoppable but the Oshie injury changed the outlook here in a big way.  Obviously still Washington strong with Backstrom and Eller, but maybe no longer the best Caps team.  Andrew is assure Reilly or Pastrnak, but could really use Stastny and Stastny if he wants to really help his chances of winning a Cup.  Andrew will surely be against the Islanders (Ryan) next round will be underdogs if San Jose wins game 7 or stand no chance at all if Vegas wins.  Andrew has an outstanding opportunity but won't like Vegas going out in game 7 if that happens.

Potentially a very deadly second round team that no other will want to play.  The issue is simple, it won't be there.  GM Scott's chances are so slim of advancing, we are almost wasting our time talking about them.  For the miracle to occur and the Flyer to play in the second round, were they will be favorites to advance GM Scott needs Niederreiter to outscore Hertl, Pavelski, McAvoy and Smith or play even with them and have Vegas win the tie-breaker.  If that happened the Flyer would have four Blue Jackets and two Blues advance, going as far as the Jackets run this playoffs.


GM Shawn will be crippled if he loses both Stone and Pacioretty with a game 7 lose to the Sharks.  The team would then at best have Williams and not enough to be out Portland (Scott).  Even with Shawn's two Vegas players, if Dallas advances the Storm will be underdogs to win the Division.  If the Golden Knights win, and somehow the Storm advance, they can win it all on Vegas making the NHL Finals.

GM Scott's Portland team has a great shot at going right to the NHLP Championship.  If San Jose knocks out Vegas, the Winter Hawk will advance to play either Edmonton (Scott) or Indianapolis (Matt) in the right to represent the Western Conference in the Cup finals.  Portland may be able to go as far as the Blue Jackets go should the two other Blue Jackets built teams go out in round one.

GM Marcel must have Vegas win or a Nashville come back to have any real hope.  The team lost Tkachuk, Hayes and Laine and the CTR #1 overall team is almost decimated at this point.  Edmonton (Scott) will likely steam roll the Attack should San Jose win game 7 versus Vegas.  If Vegas wins, the Attack will battle next round and could go to the Finals with the Golden Knights.  Marcel is a huge Golden Knights fan if he has any hope

Although not even a lock to advance, the Edmonton Oil (Scott) will likely win the Division had they do along with the San Jose Sharks.  If the Sharks win, Edmonton will play Portland (Scott) with one of those teams going to the NHLP Finals.  It is that simple.  If Vegas wins it will be a coin flip with Alaska. 

Matthews, Lebanc, DeBrusk and DeBrusk must gain four points on Meier, Meier, Krug, Johansen and Muzzin with Johansen maybe playing two games.  That is the only way Matt can advance his deadly Leafs duo of Matthews and Kadri.  It is a really tall order but just a two point DeBrusk night could do it, so not impossible.  Likely Indianapolis will not move on and GM Matt can thank Kadri and his careless play for costing the Icemen as shot with the best Leafs team remaining.


Leafs Hopes Dashed With Sweeps

It is a tough pill to swallow at times but one every NHLP GM has been through.  For GM Chad, what could have been was crushed with his beloved Blue Jackets sweeping Tampa Bay.  Chad's Leafs are totally finished in round one, ending with a lead of 19-17 to a fully stocked New Orleans (Shawn) team with at least 9 more man-games in the round.  The Wolverines now are focused on what team they will bring to play the Miami Surf (Charlie) who appears the second round opponent.  The Surf are up 17-13 over Cincinnati (Matt) who have hope that Carolina comes back in a big way, shutting down Washington and winning in 7 games where Aho finishes "Stone-like".  GM's Shawn and Charlie are looking like they will represent the North Division and both GM's feel they have Cup hopes that are still very much alive.


North Division

The anticipated battle between Toronto (Chad) and New Orleans (Shawn) is alive and well.  New Orleans is up by a point, 14-13, and can basically clinch the series tonight.  Chad is potentially losing 6 of his players if Columbus wins tonight.  Chad's Leafs have set themselves up to be favorites next round, but they have to get there to play Miami (Charlie) who would be a 19-14 underdog versus Chad.  Chad could go all the way if Columbus runs, but all is for not if they win tonight, leaving Chad exposed on man-games and the Wolverines moving on to be a 19-14 favorite versus Charlie.  New Orleans would have a nice mix of Western Conference players including Tarasenko and Perron from the Blues and Stone from the Golden Knights.  Chad likely needs Columbus to move on, but will surely need more than four games or the amazing feeling of that upset won't mean anything.


South Division

The Boston Bruins (Ryan) took a lot of heat from the "know-it-all's" who said the team is risking it all by keeping MacKinnon.  IN YOUR FACE!!!  The Bruins are in control 12-5 and the ONLY NHLP team advancing a full 7 players at the round's half.  As things sit nobody can stop the team from going to the Conference Finals as things sit and likely to the Cup as the CTR predicted they would go.  For the Bruins to suddenly collapse would take Washington or Nashville yet bowing out this round and outside of that, GM Ryan is going to be set up to win it all with either of those teams in the Stanley Cup Finals.  Ryan is looking very strong and has a legit shot with today's snapshot. 


Atlantic Division

It ain't over to it is over, but GM Chad has got to be feeling damn good in Pittsburgh.  Chad's Pens are pulling a massive upset, up 13-8 over the heavy favored Hartford (Andrew) team who was CTR predicted to be in the NHLP Finals.  Andrew still has the hope of a full 7 games from the five players he has in the Winnipeg-St Louis series, but Chad has his own long series potential.  Every point here is huge.  Halifax (Shawn) who is up 12-9 would be a 26-10 underdog next round versus Chad as things sit.  Just the Bruins coming back and beating the Leafs would then sway this into Shawn's favor about 23-20, so as much as things look great for Chad, the second half of the round will play huge here.  Right now it is the Pen's who look unstoppable with Chad having his best shot on Vegas going back to the Stanley Cup.


East Division

There is a reason GM Andrew has 6 NHLP Cup.  Because he is fucking good!  The Atlantic City Gamblers are moving on and although they can't have a full 7 players, but are looking like they will have 6 and about 27 second round points.  Normally that puts you in the Conference Finals.  The issue is Philadelphia (Scott) is advancing 26 points next round in what could be an epic battle.  The Flyer have serious issues however.  Unlike the Gamblers the Flyer might not ever be in the second round.  Currently it is 12-12 with the Flyer having the Vegas tie-breaker.  If Columbus wins tonight that will be all she wrote for Philadelphia who will never compete with what the Islanders (Ryan) bring in the second half of round one.  For the Islanders Ryan would then have to have San Jose come back and knock out Vegas to at least give the Gamblers a battle next round.  As things sit no one will touch the Gamblers on a Cup finals of Vegas-Washington, if they get out of the second round.  Andrew never thought he would be cheering so hard for Columbus as he will tonight as with each Tampa Bay win now, Andrew's Cup dreams will be slipping further away in Atlantic City.


Pacific Division

We know the Seattle Storm (Shawn) will be in the Division Finals in what is potentially looking like a battle to represent the Division.  Shawn's two advancing Golden Knight's, Stone and Pacioretty have14 points this round, but more realistically would be about 10 points in round two.  That would make the Storm a slight underdog against the CTR predicted Champions in St Louis (Tyson) would who have 12 points or a pick'em series with Portland (Scott) who could have Duchene and Marchessault.  The Winter Hawk are up 9-7 with the Knights tie-breaker, but can be devastated tonight losing Duchene, Guentzel and Hornqvist in a matchup with Giordano's points already a wash.  The Division can go one of three ways but St Louis will have the best team if Calgary can come back and advance against the Avs.  That upset might lose GM Tyson the Cup as he likely doesn't have good enough single players to win even if matching up a Nashville finals with Washington.  NHLP Cup hopes can start to die tonight or it can be a night that starts to alter how things really shake out after the amazing comebacks occur. 


West Division

The West Conference is completely wide open.  Any team almost has a shot at going to the Cup in the West, making nightly games and points critical.  Alaska (Marcel) is letting Phoenix (Charlie) hang around, only up 12-10.  The Attack are bringing the best team to the Division Finals, but only about 14 points with the other three all bringing 11 points.  It will be a battle.  GM Matt's Icemen are leading 8-7 over Edmonton (Scott) who has the Blues tie-breaker.  For Matt he is hoping Matthews and Kadri can go to the finals and win him his first Cup, something very possible should that happen.  Without Kadri Matt may need a full 7 games from Toronto and Boston where in either game 7 win, Matt would move two players one next round.  While Charlie and Marcel are Vegas Strong, the Oil would need an Islander's run to the Cup for any realistic hope with the current green-red as it is.  The color changes could still make the West Conference anyone's and Cup hopes and dreams are truly on the line the second half of round one. 


Atlantic City's Destruction

There isn't much you can do as a GM but hope it doesn't happen to you.  "Every year there are a couple first round teams that just dominate" said Muddy Capone, "Any team facing them just have no hope."  For this post season the #9 Atlantic City Gamblers (Andrew) have joined the #14 Seattle Storm (Shawn) as those two teams that would be destroying anyone else, except each other.  Both teams have put up an insane 24 points, not halfway through round one.  While Seattle has jumped out to a 24-7 lead, it is the Gamblers 24-1 pounding of the #19 Montreal (Marcel) team that has NHLP GM's a little worried.  Atlantic City is putting through 6 players, about 28 points next round.  With Backstrom, Oshie and Eller the team will likely win any Capitals run, and Stastny and Stastny could do the same with a Vegas run to the finals.  On Sunday the twin Stastny's got 10 points making dad Peter proud.  No Stastny name appears on an NHLP Championship and with this Gamblers team looking unstoppable Andrew hopes the Paul's will be the first.  With a 12-12 battle in the East Divisions other series, Andrew could be set up for a easy series with the Islanders (Ryan) or something potentially more difficult if the Flyer (Scott) somehow manage to get through, as the colors appear now.  For the #22 Flyer GM Scott is in a position he never dreamed he would be in.  "I have to hope and pray Tampa Bay can win a game or two" said the GM who admits when the series started he was hoping the same for the Blue Jackets.  "I love the Jackets and would have picked them to beat many teams, like the Pens, Islanders, Leafs, but once they played Tampa Bay, I knew the Bolts were just too good."  Shockingly, and everyone is shocked, that hasn't been the case.  Everyone also knows, give Tampa Bay their mojo back, letting them win and go home to make it 3-2, might mean the Jackets don't win another game.  For the Gamblers, they are moving on.  Andrew has the luxury of sitting and relaxing while his competition sweat out the rest of their round one.   


Icemen vs. Icemen

It was suppose to be the Icemen versus the Oil.  The #21 Indianapolis Icemen (Matt) came into the series with #16 Edmonton (Scott) feeling good.  The CTR had the Icemen three point favorites and if Pittsburgh and San Jose advanced to round two, Indy would have at least a four man second round team.  The issue is GM Matt's players, DeBrusk, DeBrusk and Kadri are spending more time killing each other than their opponents Krug and Muzzin, who have their own serious issues.  The Icemen players have came at each other enough times to be memorable for years to come, yet it was only game two of the series.  Well, it likely only took that long for them not to have to worry about playing each other the rest of the series.  After punches, dirty hits, elbows and knees, it was one final cross-check that should keep Kadri out of the rest of the NHLP series, with Matt already down 5-3 to the Oil.  Kadri had two of the three Icemen points in the series.  While Matt has issues controlling his dressing room, GM Scott may have lost Krug to yet another concussion.  This series can go either way and with 8 of the 10 players in the black, this could yet be a long series.  The West Division is wide open with the #1 Attack (Marcel) hanging on 9-7 versus the #8 Coyotes (Charlie) who have scored 7 with only five players.  Alaska look much too strong to ever lose that series, but although assured a player next round, no player is winning their series leaving Alaska potentially great or horrible if they can get to round two.    


Whalers Season Slipping Away

GM Andrew is likely in a very foul mood.  The GM who lays extremely low round one must be seething.  The #2 Hartford Whalers are a solid team.  One any GM would love to have as his own.  The issue for Andrew happened after the NHLP Trading Deadline when the Winnipeg Jets suddenly couldn't win a game.  The team choked down the stretch and blew first place and instead of playing Dallas they are playing St Louis.  Hey, don't get us wrong, the Stars are good.  Playing solid hockey.  The issue isn't who is better between Dallas or St Louis, but GM Andrew built his team thinking Winnipeg and St Louis would not be a first round matchup, but rather might be a second round matchup, giving the Whalers at least two players in the Conference Finals.  Now to make things worse, the team the CTR predicted to be the highest scoring first round team is actually the third lowest at just four points after 14 man games.  Connor, Hayes, Ehlers, Schenn and Schenn have a single point in two games.  Throw in Arvidsson, who among others is tied for last overall in playoff scoring, it is easy to see why a heavy favorite is actually losing 7-4 to #12 Pittsburgh (Chad).  The Whalers are expected to represent the East Conference in the NHLP Cup Finals but are truly on life support.  If St Louis wins Sunday, going up 3-0 in their series, they will be a game away from pulling the plug.  Hartford will have 5 players in their elimination games for game 4's.  Chad's Pens could yet have all 7 players next round versus either #4 Halifax (Shawn) or #13 Hamilton (Tyson).  The Hitmen aren't (or weren't) expected to compete, but are only down two points, 9-7, in the only CTR predicted series to be double digits in the lopsided category.  Hamilton is even sitting with that St Louis tie-breaker as Shawn, on a team with Pietrangelo and Schwartz (with no Jets and versus no Jets players in the series) decided to choose the Jets, obviously using his head and not his heart, for his all important, ever critical tie-breaker.  Being the biggest Blues fan in NHLP history, can you imagine if they lose this series, a legitimate shot at the Cup on not picking St Louis as the tie-breaker?  As if we need more material to write about for years to come.  The Destroyers will lose two players if the Blues sweep, leaving room for the biggest upset of the season on long series man-games.  At this moment there is a path for any of these four teams to make a run, and they are all in it, but if the Jets don't win a game, the big favorites in the NHLP might be "jetting" straight out of the playoffs in the next two games.


Flyer Wearing Green Jacket

Everyone has already been reminded.  It is true.  Just last season The Columbus Blue Jackets won games one and two in Washington.  The Capitals would come back and win the series, going on and winning the Stanley Cup.  The Memphis Machine (Jr) enjoyed that ride, winning the NHLP Championship with Capitals Ovechkin, Carlson and Josi.  The Machine advanced all 7 players from round one in their run, but had the Caps not came back, the Machine would have lost 13-8 in the second round.  As it was the Machine would not have had a single player advance out of the second round without the three Caps.  So here we are again.  One year later.  An NHL/NHLP favorite in Tampa Bay, heading into Columbus, down 2-0 and very much trying to follow the script the Capitals wrote a season prior.  What happens next will change the course of the NHLP.  The #22 Philadelphia Flyer (Scott) are 8-8 in their battle with the #5 NY Islanders (Ryan) and with 6 players in the green thanks to the Green Jackets.  The #15 Toronto (Chad) team is going to have three green players either way with three Jackets and three Bolts, but Chad's Jackets outscore his bolts about 15-9 in a round, which could change the outcome of the North Division.  In fact of the 10 Blue Jackets in the NHLP playoffs, GM's Scott and Chad have 9 of them.  Many NHLP teams will be unexpectedly weakened moving on without their Bolts, 13 of which are still on NHLP rosters.  After watching game two, the Bolts aren't looking like a team that can come back.  Truly they aren't just being beat, they have being outplayed, outworked, out skilled.  They can't do anything.  Whatever Columbus is doing, with their 1-2-2, is frustrating Tampa.  They can't get any offense going.  The coach called it a "Five-alarm" blaze and the Captain Stamkos said Tampa has been out-coached.  OK, he didn't use those words, but saying "Columbus advanced scouting has been better" is basically saying the same thing if you read between the lines.  If their advanced scouting has been better, improving their chances of beating you, then your advanced scouting, IE - coaching staff, has had it handed to them.  Tampa can come back.  Clearly you don't win 62 games, tying the most ever won by any NHL team, without being awesome.  But the feel is they aren't going to.  They have to solve a team that is stopping them in their tracks.  Even then, they have to stop the Columbus Globe Trotters from scoring.  If you watch the game, the Jackets are moving the puck around and looking more like what we though the Bolts were.  It wasn't long ago the Los Angeles Kings were destroyed in the first three games by San Jose in round one before winning their last four games.  Then the Cup.  Without that the Titan (Scott) never win it all.  It can happen.  The other thing that can happen is an entire dressing room of Blue Jackets players who lived through winning the first two with the Capitals only to watch them later hoist the Cup, can feed off that and learn from that.  Ensuring that there are no throw-away games and until you have won four of them in a round, you truly haven't one a single thing.  What happens next will change who wins the NHLP Championship.


Knights Being Stoned

With 7 of the predicted 10 points already scored from Stone and Pacioretty, the #14 Seattle Storm (Shawn) have taken a commanding lead over #23 Green Bay (Ryan) 13-4.  The CTR has Seattle the favs by a much closer three points but Shawn's Vegas duo have been unstoppable.  With the Golden Knights win, the Knights of Green Bay have to face the duo at least three more games.  The bad news for the Storm is even if Vegas knocks out the San Jose Sharks, as series sit now, Seattle would bring about 13 points to round two, likely not enough to beat either Portland (Scott) or St Louis (Tyson).  That series has the Winter Hawk up 6-5 but with the Blues sending out Gaudreau, Josi, Vrana and Simmonds against just Klingberg Saturday.  The Knights also have the man advantage today in numbers and if Ryan has any hope, he needs a solid gain today or Green Bay will be on the way to a route, potentially good news for Scott and Tyson who get the winner.
  Yotes Cheering for Injury?

The #8 Phoenix Coyotes (Charlie) are somehow only down 9-7 to the #1 Alaska Attack (Marcel) and the Yotes have had 4 player games exed because of Donskoi's healthy scratches.  With the Sharks losing does he draw into game three?  Phoenix is a good team, but a four point underdog.  Take out 3 and 3 from the Donskoi's, there is no hope to overcome a 10 point deficit.  For Charlie he has 5 players in the San Jose-Vegas series, but Marcel has 3 and is outscoring Charlie 5-4 in a matchup that is suppose to favor the Coyotes 19-14 in a series they aren't suppose to win.  Charlie needs Donskoi in and a Shark's players injury would help.  As things sit right now, the winner here is looking like a favorite next round against either #21 Indianapolis (Matt) or #16 Edmonton (Scott).  That series is going the Oil way 4-2.  The Icemen may have there own double X tonight with DeBrusk a question mark heading into game two.  The West Conference is wide open early on and with two NHL home teams already unexpectedly down 2-0, things may get very exciting as we start to see some unexpected paths opening up for NHLP teams.  Phoenix is one of those very teams that can run with this early mayhem but likely won't go anywhere without something from Donskoi.


 Miami for REEL

Plans of a 2050 release may go up in smoke said an excited NETFLIX executive in charge of the sports documentary the network is doing in Miami.  If the #6 Miami Surf (Charlie) win it all this season, the footage will be on the cutting room floor for a much sooner release.  Are the Surf for real?  "This team can go" said Muddy Capone, "Washington, San Jose or Tampa Bay runs might give Charlie his first ever elusive Championship."  Already smoking the #24 starless Cincinnati (Matt) team who was a 8 point underdog and already down 9-3.  "The Surf can start resting players anytime" Capone added.  The Surf are currently advancing about 21 points next round but with two Tampa Bay players, six more points could easily be in the lineup in round two.  Toronto (Chad) and New Orleans (Shawn) are tied 3-3 and both can have decent second round teams but Chad might need Columbus moving on and Shawn Vegas to truly have realistic round two chances against this Surf team.  "Once Charlie made that Trading Deadline deal, we just looked at this team differently" said Capone.  Now Charlie may have very well cost himself if Washington goes, having traded a third Capital in Oshie for Karlsson.  Others believe the move was a turning point for Charlie, one he seldom makes in the past.  "Well you have Ovechkin and Carlson already, enough to win it all without Oshie" explains Capone, "So by bringing in Karlsson to align with Nyguist means Miami can now win on potentially three different runs and with Bonino as the number seven, a three or four player finals is very possible with any finals of Washington-Tampa Bay versus San Jose or Nashville, four teams that can all make the NHL Semi-Finals."  If that happens, the Surf have a full team of 7 players in the Semi's, something unheard in the NHLP.  With the reels spinning this Surf team has a real shot at winning it all in 2019.


Blues As Advertised

GM Tyson knows round one might be his hardest.  The veteran GM is going after his fourth Cup and the CTR is liking his chances.  Up after games one 4-2 the #3 Blues have 5 players advancing, about 23 points next round versus #14 Seattle (Shawn) who is up 8-3, but with only a single green player after game one.  "It could be a very easy run to the Conference Finals if the Blues can get by Portland" said Muddy Capone.  With Giordano on both teams (Blues - Winter Hawk), the series is 6 on 5 for players who's points matter this round.  St Louis was able to lead without a point from top scorer Gaudreau, or they might be up 6-2.  GM Scott is hoping his Winter Hawk can play CTR spoiler and eliminate the Yearbooks predicted winner early.  "I need big, long, series from Duchene and Guentzel, and they must score in game two" said Scott who got goose eggs from the pair in game one.  After watching games one, Tyson might be concerned Gaudreau may not get the 5.5 round one games the CTR has used to predict Gaudreau getting to 7 points, all of which are needed with the Blues just a single point favorite.  If Calgary makes short work of Colorado, the Blues might be sweating come the game 6 and 7 of this series.  If the Blues can win this round Gaudreau and Giordano will carry this team as far as Calgary goes this playoffs.  If they go on to win and become the first NHLP Franchise ever to win a third team Cup, Tyson will have capped off his first 10 seasons as a GM with four Cups, maybe then solidifying himself as the best GM in the NHLP.


Road Teams Go 3-2 Opening Night

Even before Tampa Bay started this series, no one was giving Columbus any chance.  Then ten minutes in when it was 3-0 Tampa Bay, most of us thought this is going to be ugly.  Somehow the Blue Jackets pulled off a game that is still stunning many.  It was a complete shocker to win game one in any fashion, but to come back from 3-0 down even adds to the shock value.  Now it is only a game.  St Louis and Dallas both also took one on the road to go up 1-0 in their series.  With the NHL parity, you can give any team, in any series, a couple games.  One game where the offence shines and the posts go in instead of out and the star goalie has an off night.  You can also give any goalie his game where he is just unstoppable, as the St Louis Blues goalie was in game one versus Winnipeg where he made a half dozen spectacular saves.  If one of those games happens in game two, you are down 2-0 heading on the road.  Even the split on the road then leaves you in the dreaded 3-1 hole that most teams in history never climb out of.  So already the pressure is on the Bolts, Jets and Preds heading into game two's.   


Pens Look To Extend Lead

GM Chad was quite pleased with night one of the NHLP playoffs.  the #12 Pittsburgh Penguins drew the #2 Hartford Whalers (Andrew) one of two NHLP teams, both Andrews, that the CTR predicts for 35 First Round points.  "We know the CTR likely runs about 20 percent high on average" said Muddy Capone, "But 35 or 28, Andrews two teams are potentially the highest scoring of the round."  Chad jumped out to an early 3-1 with Rielly and Backlund going Thursday.  Chad's Pens can score, predicted to reach 29, so an early lead is going to really put the pressure on the Whalers and give Chad a shot at this huge upset.  The Whalers have 6 players who are expected to get 5 each.  If you spread out 35 points over 6 games, that is about 6 a night, so only having one point after all 7 players have played round one is likely very concerning to Andrew.  With five players in the Winnipeg - St Louis series, the fear always is a short five game series might spell doom for a team that the CTR has predicted to go to the Cup Finals.  "These are the kinds of upsets that open the door for others, not as favored, to win Championships" Capone added.  One thing we have learned is the series disappears quick and it is hard to come back.  For Andrew he needs some defence tonight while Chad could help his cause by adding on early as you know Hartford is coming at some point. 


NHLP Tie-Breakers

Boston (Ryan) - Tampa Bay
Atlantic City (Andrew) - Tampa Bay
Green Bay (Ryan) - Tampa Bay
Picks Either
Calgary - Colorado or Tampa Bay - Columbus


Alaska (Marcel) - Washington
Hartford (Andrew) - Washington
New Orleans (Shawn) - Nashville
Pick Either
Nashville - Dallas or Washington - Carolina


San Fran (Scott) - Boston
NY Islanders (Ryan) - San Jose
St Louis (Tyson) - San Jose
Picks Either
San Jose - Vegas or Boston - Toronto


Miami (Charlie) - St Louis
Halifax (Shawn) - Winnipeg
Edmonton (Scott) - St Louis
Picks Either
Winnipeg - St Louis or NY Islanders - Pittsburgh


Blues CTR Predicted Cup Favorites

The NHLP's 29th playoffs is about to kickoff and the CTR has tried once again to nail down the teams with the best chance to advance.  "We seem to be able to do a great job predicting advancing teams" said Muddy Capone, "But once we go 9 for 12 in the first round, picking the eventually winner usually just went out the door."  Although the CTR can make the claim to picking about 75% of the winners of each series in the past, it has been ten years since they hit the winning team (Florida). Last season the CTR had #4 Memphis (Jr) losing in the Finals, but once predicted Champions #5 Cleveland (Tyson) got knocked out in the first round, the curse was back on.  Even though the NHLP Finals saw the #1, #3 and #4 ranked teams, the winner is damn near impossible to figure out.  This season the CTR #3 rated St Louis Blues (Tyson) are predicted to win in the Finals, although just a one point favorite in round one against a six-player team in Portland (Scott).  The CTR #2 rated team in Hartford (Andrew) and the #10 in Boston (Ryan) are also predicted to all play in the Finals on a Stanley Cup of Calgary versus Tampa Bay.  In making their predictions the CTR only advances favorite teams, making the first upset in the NHLP or NHL, bracket breakers.  The CTR #1 rated team is that of GM Marcel's in Alaska, a scary seven West player team that is expected to represent the Division in the Conference Finals but not be strong enough to beat the Blues team of GM Tyson if Calgary is still around. 


10 - 6 Man Teams in Playoffs

After the Calgary Flames (Jr) in 2011-12 had a three player first round team, with his four Buffalo players missing (the Sabres missed the playoffs by three points) the NHLP changed the rules to qualify to make the NHLP playoffs.  It was a long time coming and Calgary was just the last team, and by no means the only team, that was a cakewalk in the first round.  Now the "You either have them or you don't" rule is very well accepted.  In the years since '11/12 there has not been a year with as many 6 player first round teams as this seasons, with 10.  In 2018 there were 9 six player teams and in, '17-2, '16-5, '15-5, '14-4 and '13-3.  Most GM's don't like this trend of the past two seasons and the Board of Governors (BOG) has already proposed some tweaks to the current format.  No six player team who is out-manned is expected to win round one, although there are some very close battles and surely a couple will pull off upsets.  "I think everyone understands taking a chance on a team, and also with NHL playoff battles like Montreal just missing, when in reality it could have just as easily been Columbus or Carolina" said GM Scott, "But we need to discourage GM's from carrying players who's odds of seeing the playoffs are very improbable."  Scott said he doesn't want to take out the risk taking because no one has a crystal ball and miracle runs are part of the sport, but does believe the greater the risk, the greater your potential penalty should be if your risk fails, and has proposed one solution based on that theory.  The NHLP has always been a league to strive to be perfect and every time something seems off, the league is willing to try and correct the situation.  There is little doubt changes will be in place for the NHLP's 30th season in 2019/20.     

1990 - Petr Klima
1991 - Bob Probert, Kevin Hatcher
1992 - James Patrick, Ulf Dahlen
1993 - Glen Wesley
1994 - Oleg Petrov
1995 - Sylvain Cote
1996 - Robert Svehla, Vladimir Konstantinov
1997 - Darren McCarty, Martin Lapointe
1998 - Dave Manson, Jason Woolley
1999 - Dave Reid
2000 - Lubos Bartecko, Rob Zamuner
2001 - Martin Gelinas?
2002 - Sean Hill
2003 - Derek Morris
2004 - Curtis Brown
2006 - Matthieu Schneider?
2007 - Trent Hunter
2008 - Brian Gionta?  Wow!
2009 - Brian Rolston?
2010 - Niklas Hjalmarsson
2011 - Andrej Sekera
2012 - Tyler Kennedy, Jannik Hansen
2013 - Bryan Bickell?
2014 - Charlie Coyle?
2015 - Jiri Sekac
2016 - Craig Smith?

2017 - Andrew Cogliano?

2018 - Calle Jarnkrok

2019 - ?





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Season 2011/12

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