April 16th, 2010

My Equally Valid Opinion

5:4 troll enforcers every day

Tongue planted firmly in cheek and dick grasped solidly in hand, recent Fangamer ban recipient Rockwell posted that he only watches hockey for the fights. But, as with many backfiring troll attempts, he actually got me to tilt my head and go "hmm." I loaded up the penalty statistics and did a little analysis of which playoff series were most likely to feature fisticuffs.

My first conclusion is if you want blood on the ice, you should watch the Jersey-Philly series (127 majors combined in the regular season) or SJ-Colorado (118 combined). Not so much Detroit-Phoenix, they only took 52, which was one less than Ottawa alone (who are no slouches, combining with Pittsburgh for 104). Montreal-Washington will be another boring skills contest with only 56.

Nashville and Chicago combined for just 62, and Buffalo and Boston are somewhat average with 77. In all of these cases, the team totals are already fairly close; the only place there's an odd contrast is in Vancouver's 63 versus LA's 39.

'Course, I'm just counting five-minute majors, so there could be some boarding calls in there or something. But this should give you a rough idea of where to find the most bang for your buck, especially if you factor in things like play style (of course the Broad Street Bullies will find time for impromptu dentistry) and rage-enhancing circumstances (an awful lot of teams who got "shocked" in game 1 are gonna want to pick up the intensity).

In other psycho home team fan mode news, I like how even though the Sens took game 1, we're still considered heavy underdogs, fueled mostly by the news that Michalek is out for the year. Never mind that he played in only two of our last eleven contests, during which time we went 7-2-0 without him (including an overtime win against Washington) and 0-1-1 with him (including the disastrous 5-2 party crash by Thomas Vanek on Alfie's night.) No, really, I'm not being sarcastic, I like this. Let the media latch onto the unimportant elements, like injuries to dead-weight players and how many fake penalties get called on Peter Regin, and ignore our quiet strengths, such as our unheralded defensive corps (every blue-liner was even or +1 despite four goals going against us) and Brian Elliott's legitimate claim to playoff experience from the Wisconsin Badgers' 2006 NCAA championship. That'll get the fans overconfident, which sometimes passes on to the players, although they'd have to be idiots to not realize that they're in the thick of it now. Game 2 goes tonight. S'gonna be a whopper.