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





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GM Shawn Set to Complete Dream Season

Although statistically GM Shawn hasn't officially won the NHLP's 29th Cup, the 14 year veteran will gladly wait on that one point to see his team's logo replace that of the Memphis Machine (Jr) as the reigning NHLP Champions.  For Shawn it will be his first Cup, winning in his 3rd NHLP Cup appearance, the first for Halifax, after Shawn's Seattle team and New Orleans both lost in the Cup finals in the past 5 seasons.  With Bergeron, Pietrangelo or Schwartz getting one point, the GM will make it official.  Krug is also on the Destroyers roster and is the only other player Shawn is facing, also in the Edmonton Oil (Scott) roster.  The Miami Surf (Charlie) are the third team in the finals, a first ever appearance for GM Charlie who is in his 19th season as a GM.  Subban is set to win back to back Cups, the 10th player in league history to do so.  Subban was a Cup winner on the Memphis team last season.  Killorn will also join the list of what will be 26 NHLP players to have won two Cups, first winning in 2015 in Hartford (Andrew).  Bergeron, Krug, Pietrangelo, Schwartz and Point, rounding out an awesome lineup for the Destroyers will all be first time NHLP Champions.  "There isn't a weak player in this lineup" said Muddy Capone, "A team like this is one of the all-time best teams to ever win based on the strength of name of the weakest player."  It has been a dream season and although it doesn't feel like it, as it was tense, it was the completion of the first wire-to-wire NHLP win.  The CTR Yearbook stated at the start of the season, Halifax would be the seasons favorites to win, based on having an unprecedented three Waivers to start the season.  It was Shawn who made all the moves to make it happen and is so deserving of his first Cup after losing a critical game in each of the past few seasons that would have won the GM his first Cup.  Shawn is slowly becoming one of the most feared GM's in the NHLP and his track record is starting to speak for itself.
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  6th Straight Different GM to Win Cup

Starting with GM Scott's 2014 Cup win, the past 6 Cups will all go to different GM's.  This ties the longest streak in NHLP history, never having 7 straight Cups going to different GM's.  Next season GM's Marcel, Charlie, Matt, Joel or Ryan will have to win to keep the streak going.  "The parity amongst the NHLP GM's is showing" said Muddy Capone, "With every GM at least a decade of experience in, each Cup becomes even harder to win."
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 Destroyers A Win Away

GM Shawn's Halifax Destroyers are a simple win away from winning the NHLP Cup Championship.  "You could not have asked for a more perfect night" said Muddy Capone about the Destroyers game 5 of the St Louis and San Jose series, "Just one win in the next two games by St Louis will give Halifax the Cup."  The CTR #4 rated Destroyers had pressure to win all season, the first team in NHLP history to enter a season with three Waivers, one of which was that of the Miami Surf (Charlie) who the Destroyers may face in the NHLP Finals.  GM Shawn was a game 7 win away from winning the Cup just last year, won by Memphis (Jr).  Washington played Tampa Bay in the NHL Semi Finals and a Tampa Bay win in game 7 would have given GM Shawn the Cup.  Prior to that Shawn would have cruised to victory in 2015 if Anaheim would have won their same round game 7, again giving Shawn his first Cup.  "Those were crushing games" Capone Added, "But Shawn is resilient and based on his performance the past few years, there is not more deserving GM to hoist a Cup."  With the domination of the Blues it seems hard to fathom the Sharks winning two straight, but GM Scott thinks it can be done.  "You can't play a game 7 without one of the two teams being down 3-2 heading into game 6" says Scott, "It just so happens that is us again this round, but it is just a single win, the post shots going in, some good goaltending, a break, another life, and in just one game, we get to play for it all ourselves in that do-or-die game 7."   While we know GM Scott is never going to say die, it is an uphill climb.  Simply put, the Destoyers are a single win away.  Their NHLP Finalist opponents are Edmonton (Scott) and either Miami (Charlie) or San Fran (Scott) who are locked in a battle the Surf are winning 7-6.  All three of those teams are doomed if the Sharks aren't in the Stanley Cup Finals.  The Surf's Karlsson ironically enough is hurting GM Charlie's bid for his first ever Cup.  Karlsson has been hampered by a groin injury which has him likely at 70% of his healthy self.  Even if the Surf pull this upset and the Sharks come back to win game 7, can Karlsson continue to carry the Surf yet one more round?  GM Scott thinks San Jose has two options at this point.  "You just played two months without the guy, so scratch him" said the GM, who adds, "Or play him at forward where he can do his thing offensively, also having him for the power plays, but where he won't kill the Sharks defensively like he has done."  The Sharks likely won't do anything different, but that doesn't make their decision the smartest move for the franchise.  GM's Charlie and Scott will now have to pull off a minor miracle while GM Shawn needs to finally turn that one last game into one last simple win.  There is nothing Shawn wants, and deserves, more than an NHLP Championship and Tuesday night just may be the night that finally happens.
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Surf Hanging on With One Leg

The Miami Surf (Charlie) may be feeling confident on the outside but GM Scott isn't so sure his colleague isn't shaking like a leaf underneath.  "Karlsson is playing with one leg" said Scott, "And it continues to be enough to beat us...but for how long?" The Surf can get the tie-breaker today if the Blues win game 5, but in doing so Karlsson and Nyquist would be then facing elimination, in games 6 and 7 if it went the distance.  Both GM's Scott and Charlie know their only hope of winning a Cup is with San Jose moving on, meaning Burns is a point away for San Fran if that was to happen.  Karlsson has been playing with his heart and Scott has been impressed.  "I give the guy props for even playing" the Titan GM stated, "He is reminded me of Kirk Gibson every time he takes the ice."  His limp might not be as bad as Gibby's but he scored the overtime goal in what felt like a World Series home run for the Sharks.  Karlsson needs to get more points for Burns surely isn't done with two more games guaranteed.  "The bigger the Sharks lead in any game, the less Karlsson will play" Muddy Capone pointed out, stating the obvious.  While the NHLP Central Conference series is on the line today, it won't be won or lost with at least one more game to play.  However, without a Sharks win, both GM's will feel like they lost no matter who leads in points at game five's end.
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Edmonton Versus Halifax for the Cup

We haven't got to the NHLP Finals yet but heading into game 5 of the San Jose - St Louis series today's game feels like the NHLP Cup Finals.  "We were good enough the final two periods to win game four" said GM Scott, "I think my Sharks can win on home ice and put us back in the position to win that Cup I want in the worst sort of way."  Scott isn't the only one wanting to win that Cup badly and for GM Shawn he must be feeling good about his Blues.  Last over in the NHL on January 2nd and so bad, the teams only Elite player, top scoring Tarasenko, was put in the NHLP Minors at the Winter Meeting.  Shawn, an all out Blues fan through thick and thin, can now have his beloved Blues hand Halifax his first ever NHLP Championship.  The Blues could then face Boston and win their first ever Stanley Cup, just capping off the perfect season for GM Shawn.  Depending on who wins today, San Jose or St Louis, will determine who is favorites to win the NHLP Championship, with a game 6 in St Louis another chance to change that again.  "it isn't the end of the line for either of these teams if they suffer a lost today" said Muddy Capone, "But you won't be able to console the losing GM, as it is going to feel like their Cup hopes were just taken from them."  It is going to be taken from one of them, maybe even both of them, as this is anyone's Cup heading into game 5 Sunday.
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Halifax Could Destroy in Finals

GM Shawn has been one win away on two separate occasions from winning an NHLP Championship.  Heading into Friday nights Sharks-Blues game four the GM is once again within grasp of the Cup.  If the Blues can win three more games this playoffs, the Cup will surely be Shawn's in Halifax.  The Destroyers have a commanding 12-4 lead over the NY Islanders (Ryan) and although there appeared hope for Ryan, to come back 9 points to win just isn't realistic with the Destroyers still countering with Pietrangelo and Schwartz.  Currently Shawn is sitting with enough to win in the NHLP Finals with Bergeron and Krug but adding his two Blues means a walk over as the best anyone can do is cancel his Krug, leaving a single point from Bergeron for the Cup.  Halifax added Bergeron and Krug in a last minute deal at the Trading Deadline, what was officially the next to last move of the meeting, trading Matthews and Lebanc for the Boston duo.  The GM has now been rewarded for that deal in a big way and Shawn can literally taste the Cup.  If the Blues tie the series tonight, they would create a best of three versus the Sharks.  Losing tonight would be a crippling blow as now the Blues would need to win three straight including two in San Jose where the Sharks have been tough all playoffs.  Shawn has lost in those one game playoffs and losing tonight will feel much the same.  The emotions will be overwhelming tonight and the pressure of winning the Cup rests in the next two to four games.
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 Miami Cup Hopes Never Better

GM Charlie's Miami Surf are feeling they can win the NHLP Championship.  Coming off a series with New Orleans (Shawn) where the Surf were 4 point underdogs, winning 9-6, the Surf are at it again, a single point up on San Fran (Scott) who was a whopping 7 point CTR favorite.  "Not many teams overcome CTR 7 point deficits and win" stated Muddy Capone, "This just isn't an upset, but a major upset if it occurs."  The CTR usually gets most series right and in the past two years just one 7 point underdog has won, last season Boston (Ryan) winning in round one after being an 8 point underdog.  The later the rounds and the harder it is to accomplish.  San Fran picked San Jose as the tie-breaker, a team Charlie really does need to win to stand any hopes of winning the Cup, so for the rest of the series, if the Sharks do win, Karlsson must tie Burns.  "It is extremely tough this matchup" said GM Scott, "I came out of my seat when Karlsson scored in overtime, because I know the only way I can win myself is if San Jose goes to the Stanley Cup Finals."  Both GM's need the Sharks to win and goals are hard to come by, however, they just need their opponent not in on the goal.  Scott believes one place this series could be decided is points into an empty net where the GM thinks Burns has a better shot, with Karlsson's health, of that occurring.  "I think if San Jose wins this series, we still might see at least two or three empty net goals by San Jose if we can win in regulation" Scott said.  If Miami can hold on and his Sharks advance, Karlsson and Nyquist versus Bergeron and Krug would be a wash.  Edmonton (Scott) would have Meier, Meier and Krug, maybe a 5 point favorite, but less than what Charlie would have done to get there should they knock out San Fran.  For Charlie the quicker San Jose wins, like the next two games, the better chances he has of moving on.  San Fran might feel the same way about their chances this round and next with Burns and Nyquist, but Scott needs to gain a point which won't be easy with Karlsson on his offensive game.  Mammoth game for these two GM's in game four.
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Oil Hope for Exciting Finals

The Edmonton Oil (Scott) can only win this years NHLP Championship if the finals is one of the most exciting ever.  That can only occur if San Jose makes the NHL Stanley Cup Finals as if it is the Blues, the Oil will be Walked Over by Halifax (Shawn).  "I am certainly feeling the pressure" said GM Scott, "I have won and lost in this kind of situation, so I understand what GM's Shawn, Ryan and Charlie are all feeling."  The NHLP Finals with the Sharks could be one of the most exciting in league history, with three teams all having a realistic chance, something the NHLP Finals seldom, if ever has had.  For Scott he is cherishing the moment.  "Honestly, each time I win I have treated it like it is the last time I am ever going to win" said Scott, "One will be and maybe that has already occured with our last Cup.  It is so hard.  So hard to win.  I want Shawn, Ryan and Charlie to all win, truly do.  But I also know our effort is always second to none and outside of maybe the CTR, our Cups are well deserved if on nothing more than effort alone."  The Oil still can be the Cup favorites if the Sharks advance but the Finals will be as tense of Finals as ever with three teams all with chances.  "Nothing is going to be easy with what is left" the GM added, "There are going to be some broken hearts, one of which could easily be ours and that is a feeling I know all to well and don't look forward to when it happens."  Sadly it is inevitable for three of the remaining four GM's.  This playoffs is going to break some hearts.  GM Scott says he sure hopes every GM is cherishing this run.  "If we don't win, I sure hope whoever does has loved every minute of this ride cause it is one of the most craziest rides you will ever take in your life" says the GM hoping he gets to call this one his sixth such ride in 29 seasons. 
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Karlsson's OT Winner Gives Miami Lead

Karlsson was on his game offensively, scoring two goals including the game winning goal in overtime, giving the Miami Surf (Charlie) a 6-5 lead in the Central Conference Finals.  Karlsson has outscored Burns and Teravainen for what appears a massive NHLP upset in the making.  For GM Scott Teravainen is facing elimination, something San Fran won't be happy with.  "Charlie is giving us all we can handle" said GM Scott, "I'm confident we can come back, there is a lot of hockey yet to be played this round."  Scott was critical of Karlsson's defensive game, leading the game with three official giveaways.  "I don't have any clue what you have to do to get a giveaway in the NHL, but if Karlsson only had three, it is a useless stat" said Scott, "Cause I watched, every single time he had the puck a St Louis player had it next."  GM Charlie doesn't care to much defensively stating, "How many points did he get in the game?"  The rivalry is starting to heat up between these two as tensions mount for a team's place in the NHLP finals as well as huge payday that goes with it.  "Charlie might actually make money for the first time in eighteen seasons" GM Scott added.  (Editors Note:  It is 19 season)
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    "Gross" - GM Shawn

GM Shawn was furious that the NHL Officials blew the overtime goal leading to the Sharks win.  "That was gross" said Shawn, "How can the refs blow that call."  We don't know.  We do agree, it was gross.  The NHL previously announced 6 refs and 9 linesmen remain working in the NHL playoffs.  After round one's game 7 disaster the NHL sent home four officials, something they can't do again without a recall.  GM Scott is still shaking his head.  "How in the world can four guys, on the ice miss that call" the GM stated, "We aren't talking about a high stick in the corner when the play is out front.  It is overtime, the play and puck is at the net."  Scott does feel one of the linesmen saw the play but likely hesitated waiting for the ref to call it, then quickly wondering if their eyes were deceiving them.  Now the puck is in the net and there is no way a linesmen at that point in the discussion is going to say, "Ya, it was a glove pass" for the dressing room would have been nasty.  "I am pretty sure if either said it was a glove pass" stated Scott, "The response in the dressing room would have been well why in the fuck didn't you blow it down then."  The non-call gave the Sharks a 2-1 series lead, removing Halifax (Shawn) as the favorites to win the NHLP Championship, with just one goal.  With Boston potentially ending their series tonight GM Ryan must be feeling his Islanders still have a shot at the Finals.  If Hertl and Pavelski are left versus just Pietrangelo and Schwartz, gaining the five needed to make the Finals is more realistic than giving Bergeron and Krug more games versus McAvoy.  If Ryan can get to the finals, his team could be favorites to win it all but with just 2 to 4 games left in the San Jose - St Louis series, time is running out.  Although Ryan's pair was expected to outscore Shawn's duo in this series, so far they are 3-3 through 3 games.
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The Scyliorhinidae Family

GM Scott knows them well.  "We have some in a tank for the fans to view" said GM Scott, "They define our season to this point."  Of course Scott is referring to the Catshark, part of the Scyliorhinidae family of Sharks.  Normally Sharks only live to die once, but not the Catshark.  They have nine lives.  "We are saving a few for the NHLP Finals" said the GM who's Oil are there waiting for their NHLP opponents.  For the Oil, they will be NHLP Cup favorites should the Sharks play the Bruins in the Finals.  Scott had banked his Cup hopes around San Jose and has had quite the journey so far.  "It so reminds me of the Kings Cup win in San Fran" the GM stated, "I never missed one Kings game that run and it was insanely memorable."  Of course those Kings got destroyed the first three games of the playoffs to the Sharks being outscored 17-8.  The Kings then came back and won four straight only to then be down 3 games to 2 in round two versus the Ducks before winning a second straight game 7 series.   Of course the Kings then played another 7 games, overtime, beating the Hawks.  This season, down 3 to 2 in round one after getting hammered the first two games, the Sharks came back and beat Vegas in double overtime after scoring the four powerplay goals in the final 10 minutes.  Round two goes another 7 games versus Colorado and round three, already feels like 7 more games.  "I watched every Kings game that entire run and every Sharks game this run" Scott said, "It just feels like I am watching 2014 all over again."  The highs and lows are sometimes almost to much to take and hours of frame by frame action, living and dying with each shot, each save, each goal.  "Of course when you have nine lives, you get to relive again for another game and another series, of which we just need one more" said the GM, "Well and staying healthy, scoring, playing defensive.  You know.  Everything else that the winning team experiences, and of course, like another life here and there along the journey."  You really have to wonder just how many more lives this Catshark has before all nine have been used up, ending the OIl chances of a third team Cup.
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Halifax Cup With Blues Win - Well, Almost

With Halifax (Shawn) up 8-3 it appears all that GM Shawn needs is a St Louis Blues Stanley Cup finals appearance and the NHLP Championship Cup will be his.  Well, mostly, partly true.  With McAvoy outscoring Bergeron and Krug in game three the Destroyers only face one more game if their Bruins win.  For GM Ryan he needs a major comeback, one very possible with four potential points any given night from Hertl and Pavelski.  So having the Blues in the finals only works for Halifax, if they get their themselves.  The Destroyers counter Ryan's Sharks with Pietrangelo and Schwartz each game, but in a long series like seven games the current 5 point lead could easily evaporate in just one game.  Game three of the Sharks Blues series is a huge game for every GM still alive, but GM Shawn will really be feeling good about his Cup chances should the Blues win at home in game three.
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  Burns - Karlsson Game Three

With Teravainen doing little and suddenly potentially down to a single game the Miami Surf (Charlie) San Fran Titan (Scott) series is looking like a head to head match between the Sharks best two defensemen.  For GM Charlie it is a first ever trip to the NHLP Finals on the line where the GM would stand a chance to pull a third straight upset for his first ever Cup.  Burns and Karlsson have a single point each in two games, meaning game three is nothing but a sure bet for either GM.  Although GM Charlie wasn't at the Trading Deadline it is believe Miami might have won the days trading.  That day Charlie added Johnson and Gourde and traded Oshie and added Karlsson.  This game the GM three chances at a Cup with Ovechkin and Carlson, two Caps with two Sharks and two Bolts.  "We have seldom ever seen GM Charlie make such a Cup winning trade as we did that day" said Muddy Capone, "This was a sure sign that the GM might have finally crossed over into that group of GM's who make these kinds of winning moves and have NHLP Championships."  Will the move actually win Miami that first Cup?  If they get there, anything can happen with one of the top scoring players in the playoffs on your team.  Charlie just needs to complete the upset and have the Surf and Sharks move on to the final round.
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Krug Helps, Hurts Destroyers

A huge night by Krug has giving the Halifax Destroyers (Shawn) a comfortable 6-2 lead.  "That certainly took a lot of the pressure off heading into the Sharks game" said Muddy Capone about Krug's big three point night.  The Destroyers will need St Louis to be better in game two, avoiding going home down 2-0.  If the Blues win tonight, Halifax will be right back in the favorites position in the NHLP playoffs, a spot they don't sit now, partially due to Krug himself.  If the Sharks and Bruins advance  to the NHL Stanley Cup, Bergeron and Krug look strong until you compare the team to Edmonton (Scott).  With Krug also an Oil, Bergeron would have to outscore Meier two points to one in the finals for Halifax to win.  Each time Meier gets a point, Bergeron would have to then get two.  If Meier got five points in the finals, Bergeron would need ten just to tie.  Although Krugs points would hurt either San Fran (Scott) or Miami (Charlie) in the finals, Edmonton is the team already waiting.  All things considered, if Shawn could have chosen just one of St Louis or Boston in the NHL Cup Finals, St Louis would have likely given Halifax the Cup, something they won't now be favored in should the Blues not come back and knock out the Sharks.
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 Teravainen Point Titan Gift

The San Fran Titan (Scott) were given a gift point, thanks to the Boston Bruins goalie late in game two.  It seemed the blowout game would end without a point from Teravainen when suddenly Rask, 30 feet out of his net just passed the puck right onto Teravainen's stick who was able to beat Krug who was left to play goalie.  It was an ugly play that changed the look of the San Fran - Miami (Charlie) series, putting the Titan up 3-2 heading into the Burns - Karlsson game two showdown.  Karlsson took some big hits in game one and many believe the defensemen cannot be 100% healthy.  Karlsson had many chances to get more than a single point in game one and the Surf will need a big game Monday to retake the series lead.  San Fran has the tie-breaker in San Jose and Charlie will also need the Sharks to win if the Surf are to win it all, so Karlsson now must gain at least two points on Burns and Teravainen the remainder of the semi-finals.
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Meier Puts Oil In

Edmonton (Scott) only needed a single point to make it official, something Meier was able to handle quick in game one.  "We have a lot to play for" said GM Scott, "Every point we score does matter as the tie-breaking pick order is very much open in the Finals."  The NHLP Finals tie-breakers are based on the team scoring the most playoff points to that point, which San Fran (Scott) at 53 is currently ahead of Halifax (Shawn) 45, Edmonton (Scott) 43, Miami (Charlie) 40 and the New York Islanders (Ryan) 39.  In a short series, this pick gives a huge advantage potentially to the team with it right, having a point head start.  For Edmonton Meier and Meier have been sensational.  "We just might need one game like this in the Finals" said the Oil GM, "He is on top of his game like I have never seen, just dominating physically and no slouch offensively."  Meier has went from 4 to 6 to 3 points in game one, seemingly on his way to better his point production for a third straight round.  With a 7 or 8 point round the CTR might increase him to 6 points in the final round, possibly making the Oil the favorites in the Finals should San Jose win this round.  Congrats to the Edmonton Oil on becoming the first team to make the NHLP Finals in 2019.
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McAvoy Returns For Islanders

GM Ryan was extremely happy with Pavelski's two points, keeping pace with Halifax (Shawn) who could only end game one tied even with a two player advantage.  McAvoy is back now for game two, making that a one player advantage now the rest of the series.  The Islanders will look to play defense today in the Bergeron - Krug versus McAvoy matchup, that is about a three to one advantage for Halifax.  In a six game series the Destroyers should get about 1.5 points every game from their Bruins, so about 3 after game two.  McAvoy should get a point every two games, so about 1, being down 3-1 in that matchup after Sunday's game.  Anything different than that either way, means one of the two teams is winning that battle.  At 1-0 in game one means Ryan won that game.  A very short 4 game series helps the Islanders as they should only lose that matchup 6-2, instead of the projected 9-3 meaning they would only be a single point underdog instead of three points.  Halifax has the ability to put some distance between them and the Islanders going into game two.

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Teravainen Looks to Break Deadlock

GM Charlie is right where he wants to be in Miami, entering game two tied 3-3 in their battle for a place in the NHLP Cup Finals, the GM's first ever appearance.  Charlie has no choice but to play defense on Sunday, with the Titan sending out Teravainen, the key to the Titan series GM Scott believes.  "We know Karlsson can outscore Burns in a series, he is easily that good" the GM stated, "But if Teravainen gets us five, I don't think Karlsson will outscore Burns this round by numbers that big."  So far Burns and Karlsson are 1-1 after game one and both players are about a point a game with the CTR giving Burns a slight advantage over a long series.  Teravainen is expected to get 5 points in 6 games and after not pointing in game one, the number gets tough to achieve needing a point in the next 5 games to reach five.  A Boston shutout today would sure help GM Charlie, leaving Teravainen without a point and maybe only two to play.  "That is how upsets occur" said Muddy Capone, "Winning teams have everything go their way, or they don't win."  If Miami is to move on, Teravainen's points might be the deciding factor.
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Epic Battle in East Conference

Although on paper the Halifax Destroyers (Shawn) have a slim 3 point advantage in the series, GM Shawn knows this is going to be a battle.  The Islanders (Ryan) were likely ok with a Bruins win in game one, without McAvoy who was suspended and only down 1-0.  Now GM Ryan answers in his powerhouse, in what the CTR is giving a 12-9 advantage in the San Jose - St Louis series.  Hertl and Pavelski, who seem to play best when both playing together (at least on the power play) are expected to outscore Pietrangelo and Schwartz by 3.  If Ryan can get by Shawn with Hertl and Pavelski if could be an epic battle for the NHLP Championship, with McAvoy likely enough to make them the favorites to win it all.  Ryan can still win without his big two and play a McAvoy - Krug showdown for the Cup.  "GM Ryan is right there" said Muddy Capone, "But outmanned and an underdog, every point is going to be critical to advancing."  If Ryan is right there, Shawn must feel like he is already there.  His Bruins look strong and up in the series with the tie-breaker.  If the Blues can beat out the Sharks, as long as the Destroyers aren't upset, the Cup would a blowout in Halifax' favor.  Shawn is in great shape, just needing either the Bruins or Blues to advance and have a great shot at the Cup.  If just the Blues advanced Halifax will still be a 9-5 point favorite to win it all if San Fran (Scott) gets to the Finals.  "This is a potential Cup series" adds Capone, "The winner here can easily be favorites to win it all next round."  Both GM's can win.  Only one can win.  This is going to be an entertaining round that may just play out in another 7th game overtime.
  
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Karlsson Versus Burns - Round 1

Karlsson was unstoppable in round one of the NHLP playoffs, slowing considerably in round two.  For GM Charlie Karlsson will need to have a miracle series, maybe 10 points if the Miami Surf are to beat the heavy favorites from San Fran (Scott).  Karlsson will have to outscore Burn's and Teravainen with the Nyquists points cancelling this round.  Burns has outscored Karlsson 14-11 with Teravainen having a zero in game one this round, but 9 in the first two rounds means he is likely to point.  Karlsson seemed to be on fire after only playing in the final game of the regular season after missing almost two months, but back to back 7 game series have likely played the expected toll.  He know longer appears the top power play defensemen as he did in round one, giving way to a hotter and healthier Burns.  If Charlie can advance with San Jose winning, the Cup could go his way.  The same can be said for the Titan who could be Cup favorites with San Jose and Carolina playing for the Stanley Cup, or at least be competitive with San Jose in the Finals.  San Fran likely just needs to stay healthy and they should be going back to the NHLP Championship, trying to win their third team Cup and second in the past 6 NHLP seasons.
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Remember to start this season the NHLP Yearbook asked a daily question leading into the 21 days prior to the Draft.  Here is a look back for the GM's still in the chase....

Question #3:  When will GM Ryan finally win a Championship?

GM Charlie takes all the heat for he is entering his 19th season without winning an NHLP Championship, but then we have GM Ryan at 17 seasons.  While Charlie has never had a team in the Finals, GM Ryan has had 7 teams make it, close to a team in the NHLP Finals every second year, which is an outstanding number.  "There may be no bigger hard luck loser than GM Ryan" says Muddy Capone, "He has always been very close, much closer than most others realize."  When Ryan first entered the league in 2001/02 that was the final season of NHLP GM legends Raymond, Lee, Norman and Leo, a foursome who helped shape the first 13 years of the NHLP.  Those four GM's hold 6 of the first 13 Cups.  Although Ryan has been a game away from what surely would have been an NHLP Cup, he just seems to have no luck.  Most recently the GM was part of the Discount Double Check, which saw him winning the round and knocking out Cleveland (Tyson) only to see an end of round recount catch an added toe-touch point by Crosby, advancing the Fury instead.  Of course Cleveland would go on and win their second NHLP Championship, after being ruled out by a GM Ryan team.  Ryan has the tools, proven by his long list of losing teams in the finals.  Of current Cupless GM's, Ryan appears closer to the top of the list then the bottom of those considered a threat to win it all.  The GM is close to making all the right moves but likely needs to be a little more aggressive at the meetings, stepping in sooner for that one extra piece, instead of his typical take-what's-left-approach.  If Charlie beats Ryan to a Cup win, Ryan will have the longest current winless streak, something he does not want.  We expect the GM to come out strong in 2018/19 but he must do a little more if he wants to win it all this season.

 

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Question #6:  How will GM Scott do in the worst first round spot ever?

Although the NHLP Yearbook has not confirmed this is the worst first round picking positions ever, GM Scott is believed to now how this distinction.  The GM does not have a pick until number 26, before picking 34th and 36th to end the round.  All GM's will have picked at least 2 picks each (except Tyson) by the time Scott picks his first Elite player.  "We are starting in a serious hole this year" said Scott, "Our reward for our aggressive style."  The GM expects he will likely end up drafting players all ranked on his list in the top 25, "As almost every year my 25th player ranked is still there at the end of the first round."  The GM does have the luxury of the first NHLP Waiver of the season as that order follows the original draft, forward or backwards and this year Scott has the 1st and 36th picks.  Although the GM said it would be great to start this season with the 1st overall, he said he would not change the original deal and the plan that went with it.  "You don't win Cups by letting other GM's get opportunities to steal the players you believe in the most from the Minors" said Scott.  Although the 2016/17 deal did not work in the end for Edmonton the Oil didn't do badly outside of losing the first overall pick this season.  (Below is the trade and that aftermath of the deal)

    

Las Vegas Scores First Overall Pick

The attraction of grabbing any player in the entire NHLP with the very first overall pick in two seasons was too much for GM Vinnie to pass on in Las Vegas.  The Strip acquired the #1 overall in a Waiver swap with Edmonton (Scott) for the Waiver, their 26th overall pick, as well as their 4th overall the season after that, where they will now draft 35th.  "It is a sacrifice" said GM Scott, "But although that is a powerful pick, we landed a powerful 4th in return, the Waiver, and an option on the Vegas Waiver next year" said the GM who sent out 19 additional offers last night and woke up to 7 being accepted.  The Oil now have their morning full as they try and make sense of what combinations of offers will maximize the future for the players, picks and some 15 points that the Oil are dropping to the Minors.

 

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Edmonton Grab Their Man Huberdeau

GM Scott is one of the most aggressive GM's in the game.  He might also be the hardest working.  The GM saw something he had to have and went out and dropped an NHLP first overall pick to get it, trading something that is never traded, if ever.  In return the GM is convinced he has the makings of a team he wants to go to the playoffs with.  Adding heavyweights van Riemsdyk, Hoffman, Huberdeau and Huberdeau, with high scorers Wennberg, Marner and Marner, the Oil will be scoring a few points down the stretch in the next 7 weeks before the NHLP gets together one last time for the season.  "I traded a high pick, moved down 26 spots in the first round, but hard work got that back" said the GM.  Well, let us see.  The Oil moved down 26 spots in the first round.  They then added 31 spots in the first round, 20 in the 2nd, 21 in the 3rd, 11 in the 4th, 22 in the 7th, as well as now having an option on a future Waiver to bring more returns, and getting a Waiver to add the players the GM wanted most.  "Every guy is an asset, if you try hard enough, there is a worse player on some other team" said the GM who clearly can't be blamed for not trying.  The deal which looks bad may have helped set up Edmonton for Drafts to come with other picks acquired as a result.  The GM said he feels Florida, now with Huberdeau and Barkov returned from injury, will be the third seed, ahead of Toronto and Boston, to play Ottawa in the NHL first round.  "We can win that Division with Huberdeau in the semi-finals, I believe that" Scott said, "It is like they (Florida) were two points out and just traded draft picks to Colorado for Duchene and Landeskog.  Only better players and they saved those draft picks."  Huberdeau's low number will come in handy if needed and this is clearly the NHLP's highest scoring team, just waiting for some huge nights in the coming weeks.


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Question #13:  Is this the season Miami wins it all for the 24 hour a day camera crew?

 

"We got some great material last season" said one of the producers of the behind-the-scenes look at what it is like being an NHLP GM.  The camera crew is right there, entering year seven this season, as Miami works towards building a winner.  The crew is there for every email and text.  In the first six seasons the project has been scaled back from a 5 to 10 year series to what they are hoping is a 30 to 60 minutes (without commercials) action packed documentary.  "We think we might be able to easily do an hour with footage" the producer says, "If we base the first 30 to 45 minutes on the leagues history and other NHLP GM's Charlie deals with on a daily, monthly basis."  The producers hope Miami can win it all at some point but surely even a playoff team every few years would help.  The shows producers aren't upset they choose Miami for the documentary, "But we are happy we didn't start 19 years ago with them as very little happened in the early years of the franchise."  We didn't know a lot happened in the past 8 years either, but we haven't seen all the footage.  The production company behind the project is looking at a DVD release and presales have been much better than anticipated at five.  Apparently Charlie ordered one for the wife, kids and himself.  "We just hope in 2050 he has something to play a DVD on" added the producer, "There is a sucker born every minute."   Below is just a taste from last season, a smigin if you will, of what we can expect to see in the end product. 

 

Netflix Was (Previously) There

The Miami Surf head office was buzzing last night after a 10 point night.  "The Camera Crew went home early, so we missed it" said a producer, "Go figure, first time in months that happened."  The Surf are in their 6th season of around the clock filming of what will eventually be turned into a Netflix Special.  "We are there every step of the way towards Miami building an eventual Cup" the producer of the series went on to say.  Set to release in 2050, originally the idea was for a 5 to 10 year series, multiple seasons.  Things are being scaled back, but there is belief, if the Surf can ever win it all, maybe a full hour 'action-packed' program could be produced.  The crew is there every moment.  For instance early in the season the crew was filming as GM Charlie opened an email offer.  "Imagine filming the very second the GM himself is reading the proposed deal, the behind the scenes to a die-hard is like nothing TV has ever seen" the producer went on, "In this particular email we have Charlie typing out his response without hesitation".  'I think I will keep Patrick', click - send.  "Keep in mind" Charlie tells the camera crew, "If someone offers you the deal, they must be trying to fuck you in some way."  Charlie then added, "And that guy has been trying to get rid of Aho all season."  This is the kind of insight we can expect in the eventual program.  Of course the Surf have not made a deal yet this season, still having their original team the GM Drafted.  "There is a reason I drafted those guys, the best of the best" said the Surf GM.  Rest assured though, when the time comes (unlike last night), surely the crew will be there to catch every live second of the heart-pounding action in Miami.  (Update on this non-deal:  In the end Aho ended with 65 points, Nolan Patrick 30.  "You don't win every deal" said Charlie looking back, "But you lose less of the ones you don't make." )


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Question #15:  Is this GM Shawn's year?

 

We have already spoken about Halifax and their three Waivers, but for GM Shawn, it gets better still.  The luckless GM has lost two game-seven, NHLP semi-finals, in the past two seasons.  Either of those going his way means he has a Cup win.  The GM has set himself up for potentially an outstanding season.  Shawn will have picked three Elite players before two GM's (Scott & Tyson) even make their first pick and before 8 other GM's pick for a second time.  The GM will have three of the top 15 Elite players in the NHLP, setting himself up for a huge start to the season.  "You have to think GM Shawn is the early Cup favorite" said Muddy Capone, "Halifax picks eighth overall and has three Waivers and Seattle and New Orleans have top 15 picks."  Shawn has been close, but he has been a GM for 14 years with this coming season.  He isn't a rookie.  Since GM Shawn entered the NHLP in 2003-04 he has only had two NHLP teams in the Finals scoring a combined 5 points.  That isn't a great number as only GM's Matt and Charlie have less appearances (zero each) in the past 14 years, while Jr and Vinnie have two final appearances along with Shawn.  The difference is both times Jr has been there he has won.  So yes Shawn has been close the past three years, and yes he is trending in the right direction, but it still hasn't turned into results.  Results are the only thing that truly matters.  The GM has been doing everything right the past few years, including stock piling Waivers and Drat Picks.  The pressure is on Shawn to step up his game and make some awesome picks with his first three Elites, as rarely does a GM ever start the season as the favorite to win it all, as Shawn will start 2018/19. 

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Question #20:  What will Halifax do with three Waivers?

 

It has never happened before.  A team enters the NHLP season with three Waivers.  "I have continuously tried to build future seasons" said GM Shawn, "I just have to now take advantage of this opportunity."  The Destroyers already have the 7th overall pick in the draft and will also have either the 7th, 8th and 12th Waivers, all three done by December 9th, or if the coin flip for the Waiver order is a tails, three Waivers between February 5th and 16th.  "Although Waivers are the most useful and powerful things a GM can likely have, having back to back Waivers is really of little use" said Muddy Capone. Halifax will have back to back Waivers.  Shawn could decide to trade a Waiver, likely to either Miami (Charlie) or Indianapolis (Matt), for a future season, giving one of those GM's one this season instead.  The GM might also swap one out for a better drafting position in a future draft.  "Those are logical choices" says Capone.  Halifax might also enter the season with the Waivers and move them around along that way, possibly building for a future season if they aren't needed with this seasons team.  All indications are Halifax will be solid this season as two spread out Waivers could really be used to build a very strong team if everything falls into place.  It isn't easy to say any team will be strong prior to the draft, but surely this season the Halifax Destroyers already have a leg up on everyone.  Shawn will as he states, just have to now take advantage of this situation.

 

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and two more questions further down the page....


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Question #17:  Is this the season of the elusive third team Cup?

With GM Jr's win in Memphis, for the first time ever the tables shifted in the NHLP to more teams have won a Cup than have not.  Of the current 36 NHLP teams, things were split at 18 & 18 last season, with 18 teams having a Cup and 18 teams without.  When the Machine won the NHLP's 28th Cup, 19 NHLP teams now have a Cup and 17 are without.  Of the 19 teams with a Cup, 8 of those teams have two team Cups.  In order teams won their second Cup:  St Louis (Norm), Las Vegas (Leo), Dallas (Jr), Edmonton (Scott), Chicago (Andrew), San Fran (Scott), Hartford (Andrew), and Cleveland (Tyson).  No NHLP team has ever won three Cups and no two time winners had a different GM at the helm of each Cup win.  The race to win three is a serious race, being able to claim you are the only NHLP team to have accomplished this simply amazing feat.  Will one of the 8 win in 2019? Bragging rights are very much on the line.


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Question #18:  Will the NHLP tie a record with 6 straight different Cup winners?

The six NHLP Champions starting in 2004 and ending in 2010 were all different GM's.  The sequence which started in '04 - Andrew, '06 - Scott, '07 - Chad, '08 - Marcel, '09 - Jr, '10 - Tyson.  The '05 season was the year the NHL wiped out the season with the lockout.  GM Scott had the bookend wins before '03 and after '11 this streak, but it was the first time in league history six straight Cups went to six different GM's.  The current streak which started after GM Andrew won in 2013 is '14 - Scott, '15 - Andrew, '16 - Chad, '17 - Tyson and '18 - Jr.  This makes five straight NHLP Cups won by a different GM without a repeat performance.   For this year to tie the longest stretch in NHLP history without a repeat winner a Cup Championship would have to be hoisted by either GM's Marcel, Charlie, Joel, Matt, Ryan, Shawn or Vinnie.  Of that group of seven NHLP GM's, only Marcel has ever won a Cup. Coming into this NHLP season those seven GM's have 103 combined years experience as GM's and only one Cup between them, meaning the odds of a second Cup by 110 combined years, at seasons end, isn't something a smart man might bet on.  Many of these GM's have individually been close, with Shawn a win away from Cups two of the past three seasons.  One of them has to win for us to reach six straight years with different winners or the streak will start anew again.


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2019/20 NHLP Divisions

First Round Winners and 5th Place Teams Stay

North Division

New Orleans (Shawn) - Stays in North
Las Vegas (?) - Stays in North
Miami (Charlie) - Stays in North
Chicago (Andrew) - Goes to North
Buffalo (Joel) - Goes to North
Cleveland (Tyson) - Goes to North

South Division

Boston (Ryan) - Stays in South
Dallas (Jr) - Stays in South
San Fran (Scott) - Stays in South
Toronto (Chad) - Goes to South
Florida (Marcel) - Goes to South
Cincinnati (Matt) - Goes to South

Atlantic Division
Pittsburgh (Chad) - Stays in Atlantic
NY Rangers (Charlie) - Stays in Atlantic
Halifax (Shawn) - Stays in Atlantic
Montreal (Marcel) - Goes to Atlantic
Carolina  - Barrie Island (Joel) - Goes to Atlantic
Philadelphia (Scott) - Goes to Atlantic

East Division

Memphis (Jr) - Stays in East
NY Islanders (Ryan) - Stays in East
Atlantic City (?) - Stays in East
Hartford (Andrew) - Goes to East
Hamilton (Tyson) - Goes to East
Quebec (Matt) - Goes to East

Pacific Division

Seattle (Shawn) - Stays in Pacific
Calgary (Jr) - Stays in Pacific
Portland (?) - Stays in Pacific
Phoenix (Charlie) - Goes to Pacific
Indianapolis (Matt) - Goes to Pacific
Vancouver (Joel) - Goes to Pacific

West Division

Los Angeles (Andrew) - Stays in West
Alaska (Marcel) - Stays in West
Edmonton (Scott) - Stays in West
Colorado (Chad) - Goes to West
Green Bay (Ryan) - Goes to West
St Louis (Tyson) - Goes to West
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Updated After Games Completed:  Wednesday - Unofficial (CTR 5-1 & 13-5 72%)
         
Second Round At a Glance...(Click for Playoff Page)
Seed Team Score Score Team Seed
Central Conference - North Division
2* #6 - Miami Surf (Charlie)
9 6 #17 - New Orleans Wolverines (Shawn)
+4
1
Central Conference - South Division
2 #11 - San Fran Titan (Scott)
+20
26 5 #10 - Boston Bruins (Ryan)
1**
 
East Conference - Atlantic Division
4 #12 - Pittsburgh Penguins (Chad)
10 18 #4 - Halifax Destroyers (Shawn)
+13
2
East Conference - East Division
2 #5 - New York Islanders (Ryan)
 +8
11 5 #9 - Atlantic City Gamblers (Andrew)
1
 
West Conference - Pacific Division
4 #14 - Seattle Storm (Shawn)
2 6 #20 - Portland Winter Hawk (Scott)
+7
3
West Conference - West Division
2 #16 - Edmonton Oil (Scott)
+14
18 3 #1 - Alaska Attack (Marcel)
1*

* - Predicted to win Division (*Beside Scoring - Tiebreaker Guaranteed)
Scoring Underlined - Series Official, Can't Score More in Round
** - Predicted to Go to NHLP Finals
*** - Cup Favorites

Updated After Games Completed:  Wednesday - Official (CTR 8-4 67%)
                   
First Round At a Glance...(Click for Playoff Page)
Seed Team Score Score Team Seed
Central Conference - North Division
4 #15 - Toronto Maple Leafs (Chad)
+1
19* 24 #17 - New Orleans Wolverines (Shawn)
1
3 #24 - Cincinnati Rage (Matt)
22 28* #6 - Miami Surf (Charlie)
+8
2*
Central Conference - South Division
4 #18 - Cleveland Fury (Tyson)
11* 20 #10 - Boston Bruins (Ryan)
+3
1**
3 #7 - Chicago Blackhawks (Andrew)
16 24* #11 - San Fran Titan (Scott)
+2
2
 
East Conference - Atlantic Division
4 #12 - Pittsburgh Penguins (Chad)
34 21 #2 - Hartford Whalers (Andrew)
+6
1**
3 #13 - Hamilton Hitmen (Tyson)
13* 25 #4 - Halifax Destroyers (Shawn)
+11
2
East Conference - East Division
4 #19 - Montreal Canadiens (Marcel)
18* 37 #9 - Atlantic City Gamblers (Andrew)
+8
1
3 #22 - Philadelphia Flyer (Scott)
24 26* #5 - New York Islanders (Ryan)
 +2
2*
 
West Conference - Pacific Division
4 #14 - Seattle Storm (Shawn)
+3
39* 25 #23 - Green Bay Knights (Ryan)
1
3 #20 - Portland Winter Hawk (Scott)
22 14* #3 - St Louis Blues (Tyson)
+1
2***
West Conference - West Division
4 #8 - Phoenix Coyotes (Charlie)
19* 25 #1 - Alaska Attack (Marcel)
+4
1*
3 #21 -  Indianapolis Icemen (Matt)
+3
18 20* #16 - Edmonton Oil (Scott)
2

* - Predicted to win Division (*Beside Scoring - Tiebreaker Guaranteed)
Scoring Underlined - Series Official, Can't Score More in Round
** - Predicted to Go to NHLP Finals
*** - Cup Favorites

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New Orleans Wolverines (Shawn)

The Wolverines NHLP Cup hopes rest with the St Louis Blues winning game 7 of the second round.  If the Blues go out, New Orleans stands no chance at moving onto the NHLP Finals.  The bigger issue for GM Shawn may not be the Blues winning, but he will have to gain at least two points if the Blues win.  Again, if the Blues lose, it will all be for nothing.  New Orleans will be in the NHLP Finals if they can beat Miami and the Blues win and Sharks lose game 7.  Even if the Blues and Sharks win, it might be a pick'em series with San Fran (Scott).  It might be a miracle just beating Miami (Charlie) who still has a game 7 of his own to counter anything the Wolverines do with their Blues in game 7.  Shawn can win it all here, but it might take his most memorable night ever for it to happen.
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Miami Surf (Charlie)

It appears Miami can pull a massive upset.  This is Charlie's only hope at a Cup, unlike GM's Scott and Shawn who have multiple chances.  Miami can likely only win if they can hold off New Orleans (Shawn) and have a Sharks win.  If the Sharks lose, all San Fran (Scott) would need is a single point from Teravainen or Radulov if the Stars advanced.  Charlie likely needs the Blues to win their game 7 to eliminate anything from Radulov next round as the Surf would be at least a 5 point underdog against San Fran without another 5 more from Radulov.  Charlie winning this round isn't as crazy as St Louis winning and then pulling another upset next round against the Titan, but that is what the Surf are up against if they are to win the NHLP Championship.
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San Fran Titan (Scott)
20032014
The Titan have a great opportunity to be the first team ever to win a third team Cup.  The last thing GM Scott wants is New Orleans (Shawn) beating Miami (Charlie) and having a Blues and Avs win in game 7.  That would mean New Orleans would be a 5 point favorite and the Titan won't even make the NHLP Finals.  That may be the only scenario where the Titan don't make it.  The Titan can win the NHLP Championship many ways, but most involve San Jose and likely needing the Bruins out if that doesn't happen.  These game 7's are huge for the Titan and a dream scenario will include Dallas and San Jose advancing.

Halifax Destroyers (Shawn)

If Boston and St Louis play for the Stanley Cup, no one beats GM Shawn in Halifax.  Even if the Blues go out in game 7, the Destroyers still will go to the NHLP Cup Finals if the Sharks go out.  At that point all Shawn will need is the Bruins winning next round and Halifax will be hoisting their first ever Championship, the GM's well deserved first ever.  Where things could be really bad will be the Blues losing followed by a Sharks win.  If that happens, the Islanders (Ryan) will be about a 15-12 favorite in the Conference Finals and preventing Halifax from being in the Finals.  Shawn has likely the best opportunity all all GM's to win it all, but things still must go his way.  The Blues winning Tuesday likely removes all the pressure of the San Jose - Colorado game on Wednesday. 
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New York Islanders (Ryan)
 
GM Ryan is big time invested in both game 7's.  Without a perfect outscome, Ryan likely does not win his first Cup this season.  The Islanders must have Dallas and San Jose.  If it doesn't go like that, the Islanders will get very likely be crushed in more ways then one.  Ryan can win it all.  If the Blues are out and San Jose wins this round, it could set up a potential great Championship where three teams have either one player each or two or three each.  Either way the Islanders will be in good shape.  There is no room for error.  The Blues must go out.  The Sharks must win.
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Portland Winter Hawk (Scott)
2007
The path to Portland winning the NHLP Championship is about as small as there is.  After saying that, it definitely can happen.  The Winter Hawk will need a Dallas win over the Blues, or it is all over.  If Dallas can win, Portland will be alive if San Jose then also loses out.  Portland and Edmonton (Scott) would be a pick'em Conference Finals where Dallas going to the Cup could be enough if the other series all fall certain ways.  Dallas must win or the final GM Vinnie drafted team will be out.
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Edmonton Oil (Scott)
19922011
Edmonton has a great opportunity to win it all for GM Scott.  It will likely take San Jose winning this round.  If the Sharks go out, although it is still possible to win, it will be very unlikely.  A Sharks and Bruins Stanley Cup Finals could make for one of the best NHLP Championships of all time with Edmonton and New York (Ryan) both having about 15 points each in that finals and even San Fran (Scott) or Miami (Charlie) bringing another 10.  Scott already had the Sharks win one game 7.  It will take winning another if the GM has realistic hopes of Cup 6 from Edmonton.
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 Halifax Not All Blue

There is no doubt GM Shawn's Halifax Destroyers take a hit Sunday if the St Louis Blues are knocked out.  The team has the best Boston team remaining in the NHLP and currently without the Blues players Pietrangelo and Schwartz would be a three point underdog against the favorites from Long Island (Ryan) in the semi-finals should green hold.  If the Blues can come back and force a game 7, everything would change back to GM Shawn being Cup favorites, maybe even with two teams in the finals.  Without a Blues win Sunday, it is possible the GM doesn't even make the finals.  If St Louis does not win Sunday, Shawn will likely really need Colorado to force out San Jose yet this round.  Huge game Sunday with Cup hopes for GM's clearly on the line.
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New Orleans Needs Big Sunday

With Miami (Charlie) up on the tie-breaker of Dallas, GM Shawn will need a win by St Louis and points by Tarasenko and Perron, a deadly Blues combination, if the Wolverines have any realistic hope of being in the NHLP Finals.  If they don't point today and Dallas wins, Miami would need to just match what Labanc gets, still having Karlsson and Nyquist to do so.  The San Fran Titan (Scott) face the winner and if it is Shawn's team without the Blues, the Titan are going to the Finals.  GM Charlie would rather face the Titan without Radulov for a better chance to upset the will be favorites in San Fran if Miami holds on to win.  However, cheering for the Blues means two more Blues games and more chances Tarasenko and Perron cost Miami the series.  As for the Titan they are huge Dallas fans Sunday.  Dallas going to the Stanley Cup Finals, versus Carolina would mean San Fran would have about 11 points in the finals versus no players from any other team.  The Titan would win their third team Cup, the 6th for GM Scott should that happen.  As it is they may be too hard to beat, but Sunday could add a lot more options for an already powerful team.  Sunday could decide the Central Conference.
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Surf in Position to Pull Upset

The Miami Surf (Charlie) are a single point down with the tie-breaker from taking the lead in their Division Finals series with favorites New Orleans (Shawn).  GM Charlie sends out Karlsson and Nyquist for at least two more games and can a great position to win the series outright with one big game.  Karlsson who was on fire in round one can do it for Charlie, but for any how of winning an NHLP Championship, San Jose must also win this rounds series.  With Carolina and Teravainen moving on in San Fran (Scott) who would be the opponent next round winning might be bitter sweet for Miami who would be as much as a five point underdog.  "They are a four point underdog and have a shot to win, so you never know what can happen in a later round, with injuries to key players and all" explained Muddy Capone about the Surf chances, "You just never know."  As for New Orleans they still have Labanc to counter and will need St Louis coming back to win the series or winning won't mean a thing against potentially a strong Titan team next round.
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 Gamblers Cup Hopes Worth a Bet

The Carolina Hurricane's NHL odds of winning the Stanley Cup to start the season were 80 to 1.  As of yesterday the Canes had the best Vegas odds of the remaining teams, now down to 3 to 1.  The NHL could yet see all four Wild Card teams playing in the Semi-Finals.  It has been a wacky playoffs so why not an NHLP first.  No NHLP Championship in league history has been playerless and although technically it is possible, it is very unlikely to occur this season after studying all the combinations.  What is more likely is Atlantic City (Andrew) still winning NHLP Championship, being the first team ever to win with just one player from round two on.  With Atlantic City (Andrew) down 5-3 with Pastrnak heating up Andrew isn't as unlikely as it might seem to win in AC.  First, the Gamblers will need to win this round against the New York Islanders (Ryan) who without Pavelski have allowed the series to be closer than anticipated.  The best thing for Andrew could be Boston winning in 7 games and having a huge finish to knock out GM Ryan.  If San Jose goes out quietly to the Colorado Avalanche, all the big teams remaining will be decimated.  Andrew would then need Pastrnak to outscore Bergeron and Krug, about a 5 point underdog to go to the Cup where Pastrnak could then face at worst Klingberg or Radulov or at best, not one if the Avs go to the Finals.  The odds are long, but no one is offering up 80 to 1 odds it won't happen either, so the Gamblers hopes aren't over for winning their first ever NHLP Cup just yet.
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  Meier and Meier Move Edmonton Closer to Finals

GM Scott has admitted he has a weakness for certain players.  "Once I get these guys and fall in love with how they play, it is very hard to part with them" the Oil GM stated about Meier.  The Oil sat with the first Waiver of the season, a dream for GM Scott and looked at a fully loaded Minors.  "I knew on November fourth, I wanted Meier's twice and stated as much" said Scott, "And we made the deals we did to ensure we did just that."  In the first three trades of the year, the day before and day of the Waiver, big names went out in trades that make little sense looking back if the GM wasn't targeting something better in his eyes.  Hayes was traded for Svenchinikov.  Barrie for Yandle and Stone for Kerfoot.  Ya, you read that right, Stone was traded for Kerfoot.  The GM then dropped Marchessault (one of his favorites) and Teravainen in a six player swap out, adding key pieces Meier, Meier and Krug, three of the four remaining Oil in the playoffs.  At the NHLP Trading Deadline when the team sat with Meier, Meier, Johansen and Arvidsson, it was one of the Preds that were shopped and shipped out, with Scott so determined in his believe that come playoffs, the Sharks would go to the NHL Stanley Cup Finals.  Arvidsson got traded for the fourth current Oil, Bailey who has done well and who could yet play a huge roll if the Islanders come back as the GM firmly believes they will.  After beating Colorado Tuesday, the Sharks are half way to the Stanley Cup Finals, just six more wins away from that happening.  If the Sharks go, Edmonton will be in the NHLP Finals as well with a shot to win a third NHLP Cup, the first franchise to ever do so.  Meier and Meier started the playoffs slow after returning from a late season injury, but they are on fire now.  The 6 point game Tuesday was a shock to no one watching him close, as every game there have been numerous glorious chances.  Meier now has points in 6 of the last 8 playoff games of the playoffs.  If Edmonton is going to win it all, more games like this will be needed from the Meier's, likely in the Finals which is projected to potentially be close.  The way they are on their game, that just might spell a sixth NHLP Championship for GM Scott.
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Surf Feeling Good

The Miami Surf (Charlie) are feeling good being down only 4-2 in the North Division series with favorites New Orleans (Shawn).  "We just need San Jose to go the distance" said GM Charlie about his chances, "Then the Blues over in five."  That just might be enough if Karlsson lights back up like round one.  Karlsson and Nyquist are expected to outscore the hot Labanc by about 6 points in the series with the Wolverines 10-0 favorites in points from their two Blues.  So if the Blues go out even a game early, if the series is close, Miami has a chance.  Tarasenko and Perron have three point sin three games, not enough if the Blues wrap in five and the Sharks go 7.  The Winner here gets San Fran (Scott) who is looking like a walk-over if the Sharks go out or a slight favorite otherwise as things sit.
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Jones Carrying Entire Penguins Team

Jones was only expected to get 3 points in a 6 game Columbus series in round two.  So far, in two games, Jones has 4 points, the same amount as Bergeron, Krug and Schwartz.  "We just keep waiting for the Boston players to break out" said Muddy Capone, "But if the Pens can stay within a point or two into an elimination game, things can get interesting."  With the series tied 6-6 GM Chad can't really afford Dallas coming back and making this a long series as each game gives Schwartz uncontested chances at points, and he has three in three games.  Halifax (Shawn) may be the strongest of the teams left in the NHLP playoffs as long as the Blues and Bruins keep playing.  With those two teams going to the NHLP Finals GM Shawn will ensure he wins his first ever Championship.  "You really have to like Shawn's chances at this particular point in the playoffs" said Muddy Capone, "The Blues-Bruins finals could actually be the bettors choice halfway through the second round."  If either team goes out Shawn can still win on either the Blues or the Bruins in Halifax but might go no further then the Semi-Finals should San Jose win this round versus the NY islanders (Ryan).
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Second Round Tie-Breaking Picks

These Teams
Boston (Ryan) - Colorado
Atlantic City (Andrew) - Boston
Alaska (Marcel) - Boston

Picks Either
Columbus @ Boston (Default)
Colorado @ San Jose

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These Teams
New Orleans (Shawn) - St Louis
Halifax (Shawn) - St Louis
Portland (Scott) - NY Islanders

Picks Either
Carolina @ NY Islanders (Default)
Dallas @ St. Louis
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Updated After Games Completed:  Wednesday - Official (CTR 8-4 67%)
                   
First Round At a Glance...(Click for Playoff Page)
Seed Team Score Score Team Seed
Central Conference - North Division
4 #15 - Toronto Maple Leafs (Chad)
+1
19* 24 #17 - New Orleans Wolverines (Shawn)
1
3 #24 - Cincinnati Rage (Matt)
22 28* #6 - Miami Surf (Charlie)
+8
2*
Central Conference - South Division
4 #18 - Cleveland Fury (Tyson)
11* 20 #10 - Boston Bruins (Ryan)
+3
1**
3 #7 - Chicago Blackhawks (Andrew)
16 24* #11 - San Fran Titan (Scott)
+2
2
 
East Conference - Atlantic Division
4 #12 - Pittsburgh Penguins (Chad)
34 21 #2 - Hartford Whalers (Andrew)
+6
1**
3 #13 - Hamilton Hitmen (Tyson)
13* 25 #4 - Halifax Destroyers (Shawn)
+11
2
East Conference - East Division
4 #19 - Montreal Canadiens (Marcel)
18* 37 #9 - Atlantic City Gamblers (Andrew)
+8
1
3 #22 - Philadelphia Flyer (Scott)
24 26* #5 - New York Islanders (Ryan)
 +2
2*
 
West Conference - Pacific Division
4 #14 - Seattle Storm (Shawn)
+3
39* 25 #23 - Green Bay Knights (Ryan)
1
3 #20 - Portland Winter Hawk (Scott)
22 14* #3 - St Louis Blues (Tyson)
+1
2***
West Conference - West Division
4 #8 - Phoenix Coyotes (Charlie)
19* 25 #1 - Alaska Attack (Marcel)
+4
1*
3 #21 -  Indianapolis Icemen (Matt)
+3
18 20* #16 - Edmonton Oil (Scott)
2

* - Predicted to win Division (*Beside Scoring - Tiebreaker Guaranteed)
Scoring Underlined - Series Official, Can't Score More in Round
** - Predicted to Go to NHLP Finals
*** - Cup Favorites

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San Jose  - Lebanc - Historical

Things in the NHLP changed very quickly.  With 10 minutes to go in game 7 it appeared all but over.  Vegas was up very comfortably 3-0 and San Jose was going home.  In the NHLP the Vegas built teams looked solid and Toronto (Chad) and Philadelphia (Scott) were 10 minutes away from advancing, against all odds.  What happened next had to be seen to be believed.  Eakin was given a 5 minute major on a "push" on Pavelski (go to the 1 minute mark).  "It was one of the weakest calls I have ever seen in my life" said GM Scott, "If Pavelski jumps up, there is not even a thought of a penalty, nothing remotely close to two minutes.  The call was made cause it was hurt and five minutes cause the refs thought at 3-0 the game was over anyhow."  Vegas got robbed on this call.  With emotions through the roof San Jose scored, scored, scored and scored again in less then 5 minutes.  Lebanc got a point on every goal, knocking out Chad's Toronto team.  Scott's Philly team was out on the first goal.  Scott's Edmonton team would have been out as well had Meier not been awarded an assist on the final goal of Lebancs.  The crazy thing is Vegas ties it and it goes overtime where both goalies made crazy saves and both teams had chances to win it all.  When San Jose did score, everything in the NHLP was altered, almost every series.  GM Shawn said the NHLP "Is amazing some nights and other times it drives you fucking crazy."  Well said.   
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Cup Hopes End if Washington Goes Out?

There is little doubt that Vegas going out ended a few teams hopes of winning the NHLP Championships.  The same can be said again tonight if Washington cannot get through to the second round.  Atlantic City (Andrew), Boston (Ryan) and Miami (Charlie) will likely all be out next round should the Caps choke in game 7.  For Charlie he could not have asked for a better game 7 in Miami where he moved on Karlsson and Nyguist and avoided Stone.  Charlie can now add Ovechkin and Carlson giving the team an unbeatable foursome should San Jose and Washington play for the Stanley Cup.  The Gamblers and Bruins will be trounced in the second round should the Caps not win, ending any hope those teams have of winning the NHLP Championship.  The second round starts tomorrow so GM's will be asked to quickly get their tie-breakers in once the playoffs page has been updated.
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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". 
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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.   

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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.    

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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.

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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.

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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.
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  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.

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 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.

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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.

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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.   

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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. 

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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

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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

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

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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. 
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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.     

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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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