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Sunday, January 31, 2010

JabberHockey Today: The ILYA HOUR...and more!

JabberHockey is live today and we hope you can join us.

You can click over to our show page at blogtalkradio.com/jabberhockey and set an email reminder to join us today, Sunday, January 31st, 2010 at 5.30PM ET

TODAY, on JabberHockey: Aaron from BirdWatchersAnonymous.com, the premier ATL Thrashers blog on the SB Nation network, will join us to talk about all the talking about Ilya Kovalchuk.

The Superstar's seemingly impending move may happen at any time and we want to know what the folks in BlueLand are saying...and wishing for.

We will also expect a quick phone call from OdinMercer of FiveForHowling.com during our Open Ice Hits to discuss the 24-hours of consecutive hockey at Jobing.com Arena as the Coyotes and Phoenix helped celebrate Hockey Weekend Across America.

We'll also squeeze in some games2watch, the Colonel's PQC Slapshots and FanFantasy. Please join us today, Sunday at 5.30PM ET. We are the ProBowl of NoBowls.

Happy Hockey!

On Goal Analysis' weekly hockey talk show, JabberHockey is live every Sunday at 5.30PM Eastern. Topics vary each week as we highlight the lamps currently burning up the NHL. Always with a focus on our proprietary Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC), we offer unique insight into each teams' chances of making post-season play...and the stories to unfold along the way. OGA Knows. And you can, too. Please join us!

take me back to ongoalanalysis.com
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Saturday, January 30, 2010


Since today is Saturday, I thought I would sneak by another post by a similar name.

Was browsing the list of events across the country as we celebrate Hockey Weekend here in America. You, too can download the Excel spreadsheet of events at the official site, hockeyweekendacrossamerica.com. But in particular, I was glancing at some of the events in the 'non-traditional' hockey markets. Living in one of these NHL cities below the Mason Dixon line, I am always interested to see what various communities are doing to promote the game to the kid who may become the next Sydney Crosby...or Tyler Myers (who began playing as kid living in Houston, TX.)

Many of today's festivities offer free rink time for kids of all ages to try hockey (with loaner equipment) at no cost to the parents across the country. Other events are sponsored games or other activities designed to promote and honor the game of hockey in the local community.

For example, in Coral Springs Florida the Florida jr.Panthers are honoring the Big Panther's goalie coach, Robb Tallas for which the description is, "...will celebrate one hack of a goalie coach!!!"

Now that's either a brilliant miss on the spell check or just brilliant.

As for introducing the game to tomorrow's legends; one of the biggest participants each year for the weekend celebration is the Phoenix Coyotes organization. Yes, that outlaw of the NHL, the 4th-overall-in-the-West Desert Dogs who some believe don't deserve a team, are doing what they can to grow the fanbase as well as the talent pool and celebrate the Great Gift of Canada itself.

You can view the gaggle of fun events from their press release on the 18th here but the highlight is today's 24 hours of free hockey at Jobing.com Arena.

The first game in the 24-hour period begins tonight at 8PM ET (6PM local) as the 20-8-2 'at-home' Coyotes host the rarely seen, but truly hockey-legendary, Broadway Blue Shirts. At the NHL game's conclusion, fans can stick around (or show up at any time afterward, including the wee hours!) for any or all of 15 more games.

Desert mirage? Perhaps. A hockey oasis? More likely. In your face, Space Coyote.

Seriously, when you can camp out in a new NHL arena and watch high-school teams (they're prob. up anyways) from 2AM thru 4.30AM battle it out on the Big Barn's ice and then end the sojourn with a tilt between Coyotes and NHL alumni...and all for free...I'm gonna label that a big 'good on you, Southern Hockey Team'.

There will also be Adult League games, Midget U-18 and U-16, Bantam, Peewee, Squirt and Mite hockey games played in the 24-hour span. See the complete schedule at the Coyote's site here.

And if you live in the area, get ye to the games tonight/tomorrow! That sounds like so much free fun and hockey goodness I hope the northerly neighbors can call themselves green with envy.

take me back to www.ongoalanalysis.com
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Friday, January 29, 2010


Hockey Weekend Across America, presented by Reebok, begins today, Friday and continues throughout the weekend. Today is 'Favorite Hockey Jersey' and all you fans of the Great Game are encouraged to don some hockey wear today and this evening. In addition to my aforementioned Texas Stars sweater, I have also decided to sport my retro (they like to call them vintage now, don't they?) Capitals sweater for the early part of the day.

I figured some red, white and blue (and lots of stars!) would be appropriate for today's celebration across America.

And to suit, the little Pills are rocking their red OV-1 Caps infant sweaters today, as well. Tis an 'homage' to family roots and my first hockey game ever attended and to the fact we appreciate NHL hockey, itself - not just a home team doing well in the standings.

Ha. No conflict of interest there. (DAL is currently 11th in the West)

Pacific GP W L OT Pts GF GA Home Away L10 Streak
54 35 10 9 79 182 132 18-4-7 17-6-2 7-1-2
54 31 18 5 67 147 141 20-8-2 11-10-3 5-4-1 Won 2
53 31 19 3 65 160 147 14-9-2 17-10-1 6-4-0 Won 4
53 23 19 11 57 152 171 15-5-5 8-14-6 5-5-0 Won 1
54 24 23 7 55 150 171 16-8-2 8-15-5 6-4-0 Lost 2

Still, it's a beautiful thing, the fact you can buy a Reebok jersey small enough to fit a human who cannot even crawl, much less skate yet. We fans, at times, respect few boundaries, eh? But we'd have it no other way.

But the fun extends through the weekend and their various events being staged throughout the nation to celebrate the game by honoring its tradition and introducing the game to the future's stars...and for free.

From the USAHockey.com site:

USA Hockey will feature more than 140 rinks offering a free trial of hockey on Saturday, Jan. 30. Most free trials are being held at 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. local time, but please check with your local host site for official times. The final goal is to get as many first-time players on the ice and later transition them to each host site's full-time programs. For a list of the rinks currently participating, click here. For a complete overview, please click here.

View Hockey Weekend Across America "Try Hockey for Free" Clinics in a larger map
If you are formulating some weekend plans this evening, please check out their site for participating towns as well as the many other events planned.

And remember tomorrow, Saturday is 'Bring a Friend to the Rink' day, presented by the NHL. We at OGA suggest taking a friend who has never seen a live hockey game. Not only will you become a hero in that person's life, but you will doubly enjoy the game and the satisfaction of having won yet one more convert to the cause.

Because it's good to share. That's what I keep telling the little Pills, anywhoo. More on the weekend's festivities later, as time allows...

take me back to www.ongoalanalysis.com
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Chicago, Chicago...and Other Thoughts

Those of you who didn't stay up late last night missed one heck of a game. The Blackhawks-Sharks tilt was my personal selection for Game To Watch this week, and I was not disappointed. Chicago was clearly the only team ready to play when the puck dropped, and skated easily to a 3-0 lead just 8:23 into the game. With the 'Hawks just one goal away from an early bedtime for Yours Truly, the Sharks rallied: Joe Pavelski scored at 11:52 to make it a two goal game. Pavelski's second goal of the night came on the power play, late in a San Jose-dominated second period, and left me wondering why I hadn't claimed him off the fantasy waiver wire when I had the chance. 4:56 into the final frame, Manny Malhotra completed the Sharks' rally, making the remaining fifteen minutes an exciting, see-saw battle. 1:37 into Bonus Hockey, Troy Brouwer (whom I DID claim off the fantasy waiver wire a few weeks ago) won it for Chicago with his second strike of the night. Four thoughts/impressions from the game:

1. On the rush, Chicago uses their (quite impressive) speed to carry the puck into the offensive zone, quickly backing the defense down below the faceoff circles, then hits the brakes and either passes or carries the puck into a wide-open mid-slot for a premium scoring chance. They're dangerously close to elevating this play to an art form.

2. The Blackhawks' ability to exert sustained pressure - at one point, keeping the puck in the Sharks' zone for over a minute at even strength - was (I have to use the phrase again) quite impressive. Almost as impressive was the Sharks' ability to weather these storms and (eventually) clear the puck without taking any penalties.

3. Duncan Keith is worth every penny of his contract.

4. While Ross McKeon isn't happy with Chicago's netminders, last night went a long way toward convincing me that the Blackhawks can win it all with their current goalie tandem. Huet made big saves when they were required, and the d-men in front of him were quite good at clearing the rebounds. Thus, McKeon's proposal of a trade for Dallas' Marty Turco only makes sense if the 'Hawks believe Antti Niemi will be ready to carry the load full-time next season, and the Stars are willing to take on Huet's contract.

And now for something completely different...

Caught the third period of the Thrashers-Flyers game last night. If the fans are booing a timeout, the game must be in Philly.

All the talk of late regarding the Patrice Cormier incident and the Auger/Burrows affair has led me to the following conclusion: WHAT IF referees, rather than targeting players for "making them look bad" or allowing opposing teams to take liberties with players they (the officials) don't particularly care for (coughSean Averycoughcough), said to players who were guilty of dangerous play/deliberate attempts to injure (like Cormier), "Kid, your actions have crossed the line, so you'd better watch your back tonight, because I won't be watching it for you." In other words, if referees let the guilty party know that they were going to allow the opposing team a great deal of retaliatory leeway, I believe the Patrice Cormiers of the (hockey) world would think twice before throwing that elbow or hitting from behind. BOTTOM LINE: If the refs are going to "target" players, they should be targeting those who attempt to injure, rather than those who simply attempt to aggravate.

That's my two cents (keep the change). Bonus Item: As my esteemed colleague, Frozen Pill, pointed out, it's Hockey Weekend Across America. Today, wear your favorite jersey/sweater. Personally, I'll be rocking my blue Rangers Mark Messier and dreaming of 1994. Good times...

Take me back to On Goal Analysis.
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Thursday, January 28, 2010

A Friendly OGA Reminder: Remember to wear your favorite hockey sweater tomorrow regardless of the where the day leads you. Friday begins the second annual HOCKEY WEEKEND Across America taking place, well, in America.

Some NHL cities (WSH, PHX) are hosting special events to spread the good word of Hockey to the masses and many more communities without NHL teams (i.e. Vancouver, WA) are even getting in on the special events with 'try hockey for free' skating sessions at participating rinks.

I'll post more about this later but whether you live in a host-city or not, you can still do your part. Your country and your frozen game need you. So wear your sweater tomorrow and answer all the questions with a smile. You are an ambassador for the great game. And you know you love to talk hockey, anyways...

Check out the official site for more information at www.usahockey.com/HWAA

As for my choice of fave sweater for tomorrow? Picking a favorite is hard... *mike modano stars 93 black/green picked up at a grocery store on clearance for next to nothing in 1994 because it was most likely delivered in a box on the wrong truck* ...so I will choose to wear my latest favorite - the Dallas Stars AHL affiliate Texas Stars Reebok jersey -

Home white, of course. I'm liking more of the white designs these days. Is that just me? And a hockey sweater that boldly proclaims TEXAS? Definitely worthy of a hockey ambassadorship.
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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Strip It Off – The Colonel

That’s right. Do what you really want to – take it all off…

A bit of a let down, eh? Not a write up that the title would seem to advertise. But it is a great characteristic of the entire ‘Three Point Game’ complaint. Here at On Goal Analysis, we say the argument against it is moot – do it or not, it doesn’t really matter.

Let us illustrate this by stripping away the extra point for an OT/SOL. Those that argue against it should be vindicated by how it MASSIVELY skews the true standings, right?

Wrong. Look at all teams at Game 50, drop the third point and see how they stack up below.

All Stripped Down, How Does She Look?

For the argument that the ‘Third Point’ needs to go away to be pertinent, you really have to show that the goal of getting into the Playoffs each year is skewed by those extra points. To make the argument, you need to know your baseline. From season to season since the Lockout, a ‘normal’ average of 2.5 new teams per Conference enters the Playoffs each season. The range of change is 1 to 4 in each Conference, and there has not been a season without a new team in the Top Eight in either one since the Stoppage. Also, it is ‘normal’ for 7.167 teams to switch positions in that Top Eight, per Conference, and per season. The Range there is 5 to 8 changes, and of six measurable periods, four of them in the Conferences have had either 7 or 8 teams who are either new or in a different, finishing order.

So in the Eastern Conference at Game 50, here is how the standings would look with the actual Game 50 standings under current rules versus no points awarded for an OT/SOL:

That’s right – some change is there. As far as dropping the third point changing which teams are in the Top Eight, the only difference is Boston and Montreal switching between seed #8 and #9. In confirming with the tie breakers minus OT/SOL points, MTL still comes out in front of BOS based on two Canadiens’ wins versus the Bruins so far this season. So out of 2.5 ‘normal’ changes for new teams, we have one in the East. We also have four positional changes in the Top Eight, to include the insertion of MTL into the Number 8 slot.

What will the Western Conference bring as it sits there, still staring us down?

Nope. No complete team changes. None. Sure there are two changes in standings order. But that is more than 3.5 times lower than the average. But bottom line, the same top eight teams are on top in the West no matter whether those annoying ‘third points’ are stripped out of there or not.


So let’s review. The normal, average number of changes in teams that make the Playoffs each year is 7.167 changes in Top Eight seeding and 2.5 new teams entering the Playoffs per Conference. The number of changes at Game 50 for this season are a total of six seeding changes and one new team inserted from BOTH Conferences if you drop the ‘third point’ and award nothing for an OT/SOL.

The ‘Third Point’ argument? Irrelevant, I say.
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Saturday, January 23, 2010

On JabberHockey: 50 Games In...Which Teams Are IN? OGA Knows

Olympics are nearing. The trade deadline looms. And yet the playoff picture is taking shape right now as each team completes a minimum of 50 games this Saturday. And with the end of each 10-game furlong it's time for the OGA CALLS! Who has qualified for the 09-10 playoffs? Who has been eliminated? And which teams are on the bubble? OGA Knows...

And we reveal names this Sunday, January 24th at 5.30PM ET on our weekly radio talk show, JabberHockey on blogtralkradio.com. It's free to listen and it's before this big game on Sunday I hear they are playing. I believe they call it 'football'.

But ye know not of what I speak because every day is a Hockey Day.

So please join us Sunday at 5.30PM ET here. (ifn's you click the 'here' over there, you will be directed to the show page wherein you can check a box, enter an email address and haven's yourselves an email reminder sent to ya before show time)

We'd be honored to have you as we shoot hard At the Top of the Slot with The Colonel's PQC Slapshots and discuss the 7 teams in EACH conference we already Know will skate past 82.

We'll also do some free-form hockey chat and take your calls in our Open Ice Hits segment while we reveal the most dominant player of the week per OGA's Comprehensive Player Index (CPI). We'll discuss the games2watch for the coming week and in FanFantasy, we'll dig Deep In The Corners as we spotlight players in the AHL who may soon heed the call to the big barn in this injury-riddled, schedule-compressed regular season...and their potential impact on your fantasy team.

Now, if not familiar with us here at On Goal Analysis (OGA), you may ask yourself, 'how can you call a team IN or OUT of the playoffs at only the 50th game of 82? Ridiculous.' Perhaps.

But after a thorough analysis of NHL stats since the Lockout, OGA has developed a proprietary curve - our PQC (Playoff Qualifying Curve) - along which teams must play at or above in order to qualify for a spot in post-season play. Conversely, our PQC can also identify teams eliminated from playoff contention.

We make these calls every 10 games and have done so with almost 90% accuracy and, on average, 84 days before the same mathematical call.

You can review last season's OGA Report Card (to see exactly what we do and how we did) here. And with many of our OGA CALLS coming earlier than ever during this 09-10 NHL regular season, we are anxious to see how things shake out for the coming Report Card as we have had some bold IN/OUT Calls this season...and early!

Of course you can always see what OGA Knows by checking our PQC Status Spectrum at the top of the homepage at www.ongoalanalysis.com

But do please join us each Sunday for JabberHockey at 5.30PM ET. That's where the hi-jinks, tomfoolery and shenanigans are. We talk hockey, we have a good time and you're invited.

take me to www.ongoalanalysis.com
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Columbus Blue Jackets' 2009-10 Season: R.I.P. (Part 2 of 2)

In Part One, the Blue Jackets' problems were explored. Part Two looks at what fans can expect to see in Columbus between now and the start of next season.


Obviously, the Blue Jackets have many issues to address. First and foremost, does Coach Ken Hitchcock have a future in Columbus? The fact that he survived a brutal 6-17-7 stretch from Games 21-50 is remarkable; I can't think of ANY other coach to keep his job through such a slump. The single issue which will (I believe) have the biggest impact on Hitch's future with the club is the progress, between now and the end of the season, of Derick Brassard (and, to a lesser extent, Jakub Voracek).

By constantly shuffling Brassard throughout the lineup and displaying an obvious lack of trust in the young center, Hitch has succeeded only in damaging Brassard's confidence and impeding his development as a player. To remedy the situation, the coach has to get the most out of the final 30 games: Brassard needs to center the Jackets' top line (Rick Nash's line) from here on out. Brass was projected to be a top line center for Columbus, and he must now be afforded the opportunity to grow into that role.

Bottom Line: Columbus is one of the youngest teams in the NHL, and Ken Hitchcock must now demonstrate an ability to develop young talent. If he doesn't show progress in this area, management must make a coaching change in the offseason.

On the GM front, Scott Howson must begin entertaining offers for certain players, and move them before the trade deadline. According to Columbus Dispatch beat writer Aaron Portzline, the most likely players to be moved are: Nikita Filatov, Raffi Torres, Jared Boll, Freddy Modin and Milan Jurcina. While I wouldn't be at all surprised to see four of the five aforementioned players changing addresses in the next few weeks, expect Howson to take his time moving Nikita Filatov. The young superstar-in-the-making is a valuable asset, and Howson needs to (at least) break even on any deal. As Columbus still needs a swift-skating, puck-moving, top-two defenseman, a trade with Atlanta would seem to be a good fit for all parties.

Columbus will undoubtedly trade roster players for draft picks and prospects. At some point between now and October, those draft picks and prospects have to turn into a faster defensive corps. As the Blue Jackets demonstrated last Saturday, they can skate (and score) with the (early Stanley Cup favorite) Chicago Blackhawks. If Columbus wants to play a more wide-open style of hockey, however, they need d-men who can keep up.

In the crease, look for Steve Mason to see more playing time. His confidence has taken a hit this season, but he's looked better in the past couple of weeks. Mase should be given the opportunity to find his rhythm over the next 30 games, as he (not Garon) is the future of the franchise in net.

Overall, expect the Blue Jackets to loosen up and play better hockey between now and April, as the pressure to make the playoffs dissipates. This will, of course, prompt frustrated fans to wonder "Why in the @#&% couldn't they play like this earlier?!?!?" C'est la vie. The Jackets will have a long summer to reflect on this (lost) season, and will enter training camp in September eager to prove themselves.

Take me back to On Goal Analysis.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Columbus Blue Jackets' 2009-10 Season: R.I.P. (Part 1 of 2)

Chicago at Columbus, 16 JAN 10

IN the 2008-09 season, the Columbus Blue Jackets qualified for the postseason for the first time since they entered the league in 2000-01. Columbus started the 2009-10 season strong, going 12-6-2 through their first 20 games to earn a call of CHASING STANLEY from On Goal Analysis on 19 NOV 09. After Game 20, however, the wheels fell off: The Blue Jackets stumbled through a disastrous 6-17-7 stretch, culminating with a 6-5 home loss to Chicago in Game 50 (16 JAN 10). That loss put Columbus so far below OGA’s PQC (Playoff Qualifying Curve) as to make a comeback virtually impossible, forcing us to call the Jackets a SHOT OFF THE POST, meaning…our original (IN) call was wrong, and we’re now sitting down to a dinner of Crow a l’orange. Like the fans in Columbus, we find ourselves wondering just what went wrong with this season, and where the organization might go from here. Let’s break it down:


1. Goaltending – Steve Mason won the Calder Memorial Trophy last season for (essentially) carrying this team on his back to the playoffs. This season, his confidence has been damaged by the dreaded “sophomore slump”. Mason’s slump has been magnified by:

2. Team Defense – This team was carefully constructed by GM Scott Howson to play hockey the Ken Hitchcock Way; that is, a tight-checking, defense-first, grind-it-out style. This season, the Jackets have attempted to play a more wide-open, run-and-gun style (i.e., Chicago Blackhawks-style) at times. Unfortunately, while Columbus has the offensive talent to score goals, they lack swift-skating blueliners capable of both contributing offensively and hustling back to make the defensive play (i.e., the Blackhawks defensive corps). This, coupled with spotty backchecking from the forwards, has left both Steve Mason and Mathieu Garon exposed far too often.

3. The Kids – 09-10 was supposed to be the year for young Derick Brassard to develop into the number one center that he was projected to become. Instead, he’s regressed, as Coach Hitchcock has shuffled Brassard from the top line to the Press Box (for one game) to the fourth line, and everywhere in between. Brass has even played a couple of games on the wing…And speaking of wings, rookie (and future superstar) Nikita Filatov, after a promising showing in just 8 games last season (including a hat trick against Minnesota), made the club out of training camp, but spent the majority of his tenure either on the fourth line or in the Press Box. After averaging around 8:08 of ice time and scoring just two goals in 13 games, Filatov decided he’d had enough: He asked Howson to allow him to return to Russia, where he promptly recorded 5-9-14 in 12 games.

4. LeadershipRick Nash is unquestionably Columbus’ best player, but…is he the Jackets’ best leader? The consensus seems to be that Nash’s leadership style is too quiet, too understated for this club, and he needs help. Scott Howson took a step in the right direction by trading for Washington’s Captain, Chris Clark, who has had an immediate (positive) impact in the room and on the bench. The full impact of Clark’s presence won’t be felt until next season, though.

5. The Coach – Bottom Line: Hitch gets paid to win games, and the Jackets’ tight-checking style leaves no room for rookie mistakes. How, though, can rookies learn and grow as NHL players in Hitch’s system? If anyone in the Columbus organization could answer that, the Blue Jackets wouldn’t be a Shot Off The Post. The Hitchcock Way is also tough on veteran players, and concern is growing that some of the older players might be/already have tuned Hitch out. Ironically, Ken Hitchcock had his greatest coaching success (the Stars' Stanley Cup win in '99) with a team made up largely of veterans, including FIVE current or former team captains. Today, he coaches a team with leadership issues, which also happens to be one of the youngest teams in the NHL. The question must be asked: Is Ken Hitchcock the right coach for the Columbus Blue Jackets at this time?

TOMORROW, PART TWO: Where does Columbus go from here?

Take me back to On Goal Analysis.
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Monday, January 18, 2010

The Great White (Winter) Hope – The Colonel

North of the U.S./Canadian border lies The Great White (Winter) Hope. That is the hope ‘Up North’ that a Canadian team will find their way deep into the Playoffs. Where do the Canadian teams stand and what chances do they have in the 2010 Playoffs with the NHL now just about at the Game 50 mark?

Those That Are Out

On Goal Analysis has called Toronto, Edmonton and now, as of Sunday night, Montreal at Tee Time, or eliminated from potential play in the 2010 Stanley Cup Playoffs. That’s 50% of Canadian teams on the sideline. Why did we say they are goners, and what are the chances our model is incorrect?

Toronto was the first Canadian team called at Tee Time on 28 October/Game 10. GAME10?!?! Yes, that early. But since or call, nothing has indicated we’re incorrect in this assessment. Through 17 January, the Maple Leafs currently are winning at only a .4184 clip and would need to win at better than an 80% pace for the rest of the season to make the Playoffs. That will be hard to do when they are ranked Number 18 in goals per game scored and Number 30 in goals against per game. They also are Number 23 on the Power Play at 17.1% and last in the League on the PK at 68.6%. Add that all up and see that League-leading Chicago isn’t even winning at a 74% rate and the comparison tells you that there is too much for Toronto to overcome to get where they need to go. Some of us are Maple Leaf fans at OGA and hope for the best but know the best will have to come ‘next year.’

Edmonton was the second team slated for Tee Time on 30 December/Game 40. While the Oilers were in front of OGA’s proprietary Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC) by Game 10, they have only averaged 1.7 wins in every five games since Game 11. At Game 20, they were on the negative side of the PQC and have continued the negative trend minus a slight upward spike from Game 26 to Game 30. Edmonton currently is winning at a lesser pace than Toronto (.394) and requires an even greater ‘catch-up’ playing percentage than the ‘Leafs despite being Number 10 on the PP. On Goal Analysis has a 96.4% accuracy rate in December to boot, so saying the Oilers are done like dinner is also probably a safe bet this season.

Montreal was the third team called at Tee Time this past Sunday, 17 January. They are just a bit under the criteria that indicates to us a team is done. We are at the scary time in our calls right now where they can ratchet up their effort and make liars out of us. In our call’s favor, however, are the facts that the team is Number 29 in goals per game at 2.48 while allowing an average of 2.74 goals against in each tilt. Their special teams are pretty durn good (Number 2 on the PP and Number 7 on the PK) which could help pull them back p. They played better than their average PQC four times and worse five, which tends to indicate they try to work themselves into contention after they slip. Add in their tendency to win at about a .656 clip in their last 12 games annually which they will likely need again this season. So if they can hang in there at about, or a bit better than, average and hit that surge in their last 12 while one or two teams in front of them suffer a bit of a skid, they could find themselves back in contention.

The ‘Still In It’ Crowd

Calgary, Ottawa and Vancouver are still currently in the hunt for a Playoff berth.

Of the three, Calgary was the first team called Chasing Stanley on 24 October / Game 10. Just as Toronto’s call of Tee Time at Game 10 carries a measure of worry, the opposite call of IN the Playoffs so early could still see a club tank and make a liar out of us. In fact, Calgary has given us concern as in their last 20 games the Flames have gone 7-10-3, or, if you count the losses in extra stanzas as 1/2 of a ‘W,’ have only won at about a .425 pace. THAT is not good enough to carry a team into the Playoffs unless you are currently Chicago, Washington, New Jersey, San Jose or Buffalo and that’s all you need to finish out the season as an average team. Calgary needs to score more (Number 21 in goals per game for) and improve their Number 17 Power Play in order to climb back up into more of a comfort zone for a run against Colorado, a resurgent Minnesota and a confident Vancouver in the Northwest.

Ottawa was the second Canadian Chasing Stanley call on 21 November / Game 20. Since then, they have gone 14-15-1, or just under 50%, and have been a worry in the Game 31-45 stretch. This, of course, matches up directly with injuries to the starting goalie and entire Number 1 line. As the team continues to get healthy, however, it is readily apparent Ottawa has something in their character that was MIA last season. While their PP is worst in the NHL as of 17 January, an on-track first line can do nothing but improve their chances of maintaining their in-the-Playoffs call. Called as IN the Playoffs right now, they must continue to get healthy and improve if they are going to continue onward after mid-April.

Vancouver has been playing what OGA calls In The Curve, or just about average. But in their last 18 games, the Canucks have gone 11-4-2 / played .722 Hockey. They need to be that good as they are poised to go on their 14-game road trip in support of the 2010 Olympics and are only at .452 on the road this season. Their worst team statistic is a Number 14 ranking on the PK and they are in the top 10 in other categories, however, so OGA is looking for good things from this team. Could there be potential for a call of Chasing Stanley in the Canuck’s future? Hmmm...


If you live north of the United States you might on a rare occasion wonder what we think down here about your six teams. OGA can tell you we think Toronto and Edmonton are definitely done. Montreal is most likely done but can improve, and, if teams in front of them lose, still make it into the Playoffs. Vancouver is on the cusp of potentially making it into the post-season and currently looks to be the strongest of the six northern teams. And Calgary and Ottawa are both IN, but need to improve in order to remain Chasing Stanley.

I know south of the border teams have a higher percentage chance of making it into the post-season. Despite that fact, since the Lockout fans have enjoyed 50% of Stanley Cup finals as a nationalistic conflict. Do we get that again this season? Time and effort in 30 games or so will tell…
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Sunday, January 17, 2010

JabberHockey is LIVE today, Sunday at 5.30PM ET

Injury Olympics, the Blue Jackets' Obituary and our own Colonel's PQC Slapshots get us rolling on JabberHockey, LIVE today, 01.17.10 at 5.30PM ET.

You can click over to our show page at blogtalkradio.com/jabberhockey and set an email reminder to join us today, Sunday, January 17th, 2010 at 5.30PM ET

TODAY, on JabberHockey: This week, the OGA scoring line debate as to who the last man standing will be BEFORE the Olympics start. Every 4 years, fingers are crossed hoping all the NHL players who participate in the Olympics escape any kind of serious injury and can return to normal duties as assigned at the end of the festivities.

This go round, various countries have to be wondering which of their NHL players will even still be skating by the time the games begin in Vancouver. In anticipation of Olympic Fever, we'll attempt to light a little torch to keep burning as the day draws nigh...

We'll also have an update on the Playoff Qualifying Curve in the Colonel's PQC Slapshots, more hot topics and your calls in our Open Ice Hits, and the games2watch for the coming week.

We'll then dig Deep In The Corners in FanFantasy as we spin the call-up roulette wheel again this week. Should be a slap-happy show this week as Big Tex returns from the 'Hawks@Jackets Weekend with the Texes and the voice returns to proper working order.

We hope to have you join us!

On Goal Analysis' weekly hockey talk show, JabberHockey is live every Sunday at 5.30PM Eastern. Topics vary each week as we highlight the lamps currently burning up the NHL. Always with a focus on our proprietary Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC), we offer unique insight into each teams' chances of making post-season play...and the stories to unfold along the way. OGA Knows. And you can, too. Please join us!

take me back to ongoalanalysis.com
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Saturday, January 16, 2010

Making It All More Meaningful – The Colonel

I hear it on many levels. The wife wants to know why I am in love with the longest-running sport of the entire calendar year. Fans grumble because they have trouble putting together the cash for a season ticket package. And the media, players and teams talk in short-sided terms of being ‘five games out of the final playoff spot, but there are 30 games to go….’

The simple fact is, each and every game in the season is important. Tell me you are not thrilled the kids could be quiet and your spouse had no complaints about you being in the back room watching that one game of the week you really wanted to see. Or see the face of your son or daughter light up because you got tickets to this weekend’s home game. Or witness the joy of the 2006/7 New York Islanders on 8 April 2007 when their Shootout Win secured them a playoff berth. See – every game is important whether we instinctively know it or not.

The problem is we do not understand the subliminal and overt messages about the manner in which the schedule is laid out that underscore for us how important each and every game is. If we did, there would be no problem explaining to our spouse why we have to see that game, or want to pack up the kids and drive for hours to get to the arena.

Below, I make a plea for the 84-Game season and explain how it should be laid out to in order to make it exceedingly obvious why 84 games need to be played from October to mid-April.

Laying Out 84 Games

There is a simple reason to ask for 84 games – the chance for 100% visibility. You have to go to 84 games to get every team in your building at least once in the season if you are going to also maintain the value of intra- and inter-divisional play. So here’s how you play the 84 games:

1. Play a home-and-home against every team in the other Conference (30 games). This allows everybody a chance to see every star in the League at some point in the season. It is also a grand way to sell a 15-game season ticket mini-pack. At the same time, it makes you want to retain some seats for sale to the general public based on how hot a particular team’s star(s) are when they come to your building. And finally, it subliminally tells the fan and teams the League cares enough to send the very best into their building. The last does not have to happen – heck, it never has in the past. But it does make it easier to go to the effort of getting out to the arena.

2. If you are playing two against the other Conference, you have to play at least three against everyone else in your own. That is to underscore the fact that competition to make it into the Playoffs each year comes down to where each team sits within intra-Conference standings. Accordingly, recommendation number two is for the League to give us three games against every team in the Conference that is not in our home team’s division (total of 60 games so far). This could force the League to plan the schedule two years at a time if the goal is to even out how many are played in each building over a two year stretch. I would argue here the league could also decide to play these however seasonal requirements dictate as long as they ensure the ‘Visibility Rule’ is adhered to. So no matter how you slice it, you would get either one or two of these games against inter-divisional foes in your building each season. If possible, also give us two of these games as a home-and-away pairing to take advantage of any immediate rivalries that may crop up.

3. Right now, the NHL’s emphasis on intra-divisional play is truly only overt in terms of Round 1 where, regardless of standings points, if you are the top team in your division, you can initially seed no lower than number three. This does these more-regional rivalries a measure of injustice despite playing these games six times per season. I say keep the number of intra-divisional games at six. But feed us those six games in groups of three as a home-away-home series and compacted over one each five-week period before New Years and again to close out the season (for a grand total of 84 games). It takes five weeks to play them this way because only four intra-divisional teams can compete simultaneously. But having an “Islanders’ Week” if you are a Rangers’ fan, or a “Red Wings’ Week” if you follow the Blackhawks is putting a proper emphasis on each and every contest between those rivals. Some other, overt benefits to this slight modification:

a. Does a team own its own travel section? Think of six-game packages in Toronto for both the Air Canada and Centre Belle contests complete with air/rail/limo service and hotel accommodations over the winter holidays and again in the spring. Are you there already? Or only get the three home-game ticket pack and reserve your seat at your local sports bar for the other half of the tilt.

b. The media will have week-long hatred fodder just like in the Playoffs to deal with for 10 weeks each and every season… Wait a minute… That’s like 10 weeks of Playoff series right smack dab in the middle of the regular season! Exactly. It replaces the subliminal importance of these games with competition that is just as overt as mid-April to mid-June. The advertising of these series, both planned and unintentional, will reach every level the NHL touches.

c. And for the players who must endure the grueling schedule, a five-week period like this would allow teams to conduct a weekly reset of themselves from current negative trends as rivalries change. Practically like rebooting your computer so the memory dump makes it run better, each week a coach only need tell players to “…Wipe last week from your mind and concentrate on beating the snot out of (fill in appropriate team name here)….” That is, if he has to.


So Mr. Bettman (and the NHLPA) – give us 84. In so doing, make the value of the long, grueling schedule an overt measurement of what it means to be a fan, an employee, and/or a player of the greatest sport on the face of the frozen earth. Give us every team in our building at least once. And give us our rivalries in doses that present us with the electric feel of the Playoffs for 10 weeks out of the regular season. Do all of this, and it makes it that much easier to be your ambassadors of the Great Game.
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Thursday, January 14, 2010

Odds and/or Ends

Odds and/or ends on a nondescript Thursday morning in January:

First, brothers from the same mother? You be the judge:

One of my all-time favorite fantasy hockey team names (which I could never use, because it won't fit in the space allowed) is Starring Tie Domi as Sluggo and Peter Forsberg as Nancy.

Moving on...

Much has been written already on the Auger/Burrows Affair, so I will add only one (brief) thought: Yes, referees are human (mostly), so we shouldn’t be surprised when one allows his emotions to cloud his professional judgment…HOWEVER, when that happens, the League must discipline the referee. Officials must be held to a higher standard; the integrity of the game depends upon it.

Yours Truly is just over 24 hours away from boarding a plane to catch Saturday’s Blackhawks @ Blue Jackets game. It’ll be my first game at Nationwide Arena, and I’m looking forward to it. As usual, I’ll be Tweeting, blogging, and sending up smoke signals throughout the whirlwind 36-hour tour of Columbus, so follow along @OGAs_BigTex. Here’s hoping the game turns out more like Gettysburg and less like First Manassas for the Blue Jackets.

After achieving near-total domination over the East in the early going, it appears the Western Conference is finally coming back down to Earth. At one point, the projection was an unheard-of 99 points would be necessary to make the playoffs in the West. Now, they’re back down to a more realistic 95 points…Interestingly, though, the Eastern Conference is still projecting at about 84 points to qualify. While the Western Conference is quite selective – much like a country club – the Eastern Conference will clearly let anyone in the playoffs (except Carolina or Toronto – they have low standards, not no standards).

Last, but not least, here’s an idea I’ve been kicking around for awhile: As far as I can tell (without doing any serious research on the subject), the reason one team wears white and the other wears (dark) colored jerseys is to provide the best possible contrast for TV…Black & White TV, that is. Now that even my 100-year-old grandmother has upgraded to a flat-screen HD (do I even need to say it? Color) TV, perhaps the NHL can loosen up this outdated edict and let us see, for example, the Rangers (in blue) play the Canadiens (in red). Mr. Bettman, I promise you we won’t have any difficulty telling them apart. And I’m willing to bet the added color on the screen will grab the attention of casual viewers. Anyway, that’s my good idea for the week. Do with it what ye will.

Take me back to On Goal Analysis.
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Sunday, January 10, 2010

JabberHockey is LIVE today, 01.10.10 at 5.30PM ET

Today's date looks like binary code. Well, we'll push the buttons as best we can when JabberHockey is LIVE today, 01.10.10 at 5.30PM ET.

You can click over to our show page at blogtalkradio.com/jabberhockey and set an email reminder to join us this Sunday, January 3rd, 2010 at 5.30PM ET

TODAY, on JabberHockey: This week, the OGA scoring line host Cory Lavalette from CanesCountry.com, the excellent Carolina Hurricanes blog on the SB Nation network. We'll ask Cory for updates on some big names on the roster who are about to return to action in Carolina and find out which of the AHL's Albany River Rats will get to stick around the big barn as injuries heal up.

We'll also have an update on the Playoff Qualifying Curve in the Colonel's PQC Slapshots, hot topics in our Open Ice Hits, the games2watch for the coming week and then we'll dig Deep In The Corners in FanFantasy as we spin the call-up roulette wheel again this week. Should be a tasty show and we hope to have you join us!

On Goal Analysis' weekly hockey talk show, JabberHockey is live every Sunday at 5.30PM Eastern. Topics vary each week as we highlight the lamps currently burning up the NHL. Always with a focus on our proprietary Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC), we offer unique insight into each teams' chances of making post-season play...and the stories to unfold along the way. OGA Knows. And you can, too. Please join us!

take me back to ongoalanalysis.com
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Saturday, January 9, 2010

How Do You Solve A Problem Like Nikita?

photo: guardian.co.uk photo: Shaun Best/Reuters (h/t sportsillustrated.cnn.com)

It seems Nikita Filatov - the Columbus Blue Jackets' wayward wunderkind - has been shooting his mouth off again about his treatment at the hands of Jackets' coach Ken Hitchcock. While his exact statement isn't clear, if the gist of the report is correct, it sounds as though young Filatov's return to Columbus will be preceded by a cold day in the Congo. Assuming that's the case, GM Scott Howson now finds himself with quite a dilemma: Fire Hitchcock, or trade Filatov?

Until the last two games (and Friday night's solid W over Calgary in particular), the answer would've been clear: Call Hitch into the office and give him the old "the club is moving in a different direction" speech. With the losing streak over, and with the team looking (in Calgary) like last season's playoff-bound Blue Jackets, it appears as though the players are responding to their coach and the ship is being righted. Thus, replacing the coach would seem to be a much less attractive option at this point.

On the other hand, Nikita Filatov seems to have "future NHL superstar" written all over him. He recorded his first (and only, so far) NHL hat-trick at the age of eighteen. After scoring two goals while averaging just over eight minutes of ice time in 13 games this season, Filatov returned to Mother Russia...where he put up 5-9-14 in his first 12 games, while averaging over 17 minutes per game. This kid is The Real Deal. He's said repeatedly that he wants to play in the NHL, but that's the key: he wants to PLAY in the NHL, not ride the pine with fourth-line minutes or eat pretzels in the press box. If Filatov won't play hockey The Hitchcock Way, however, fourth-line minutes is all he'll get...and he's made it clear that he won't do that any longer. What's a GM to do?

Undoubtedly, many other clubs with coaches NOT named Hitchcock would love to have Filatov on their second or third lines, and there are several situations in which the kid could thrive. Atlanta would seem to be a perfect fit, with coach John Anderson's run-and-gun offense and back-checking exemptions for Russian-born superstars. Another advantage of sending Filatov to the Thrashers is the fact that they're not in the same conference. The question, then, is: What can the Blue Jackets get in return?

*Big Tex dons his "Mad Hockey Scientist" fedora*

Columbus continues to search for a Grade A puck-moving defenseman, and Atlanta has a few to choose from: Tobias Enstrom, Zack Bogosian and Pavel Kubina. While the Thrashers might part with Kubina easier due to his age (32), the Blue Jackets would be much better served by acquiring either Enstrom or Bogosian for Filatov. Would Atlanta GM Don Waddell part with either of his young star d-men for the enigmatic Nikita Filatov? If he can't re-sign Ilya Kovalchuk, then this trade looks much better from Atlanta's perspective.

Realistically, however, Howson will take his sweet time before acting. After all, he's under no pressure to move Filatov NOW. On the other hand, if the Blue Jackets' play during the last two games proves to be a fluke, rather than the beginning of a trend, Howson will have to replace Ken Hitchcock. Should that come to pass, Filatov might very well skate for the Blue Jackets next season. At this point, only one thing is certain: If Hitchcock stays, Filatov must go...and vice versa.

Take me back to On Goal Analysis.
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Friday, January 8, 2010

a scrum

playful scrum ... team is feeling light and looking relaxed. this could be a fun battle tonite
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DipsyDo. And here we go...

RickyD is smiling tonight in warm up. And looking sharp in net, too. Witt's mane in background of photo...
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Islanders' Rick DiPietro to Start vs Stars

Well, the Frozen Pill was determined to sneak away to the AAC (the Hangar) and be able to see the Texas debut of the Long Island Ice T, John Tavares during his rookie campaign. And, indeed, it will be happening.

Added bonus applied when RickyD will get his first start in over a year in the NHL. And the Pill will get to see the 15-year contract in all its glory. Simply put - cannotwait.

Of note, the last time the Islanders played in Dallas, they shut out the Stars 3-0 and it was DiPietro with the doughnut. Considering how the Stars fared against the other Manhattanish teams the other nights (shutout by Brodeur and shutdown by Avery), it should be fun to see exactly why the Isles had to follow the Stars back home for more of that special New York kind of treatment.

Then again, I guess the Stars could spoil Rick's Return with a solid victory in front of the home crowd.

But I do have on good sources OGA's Big Tex will also be in attendance this evening. As always, you can look for witty, yet sometimes insightful tweets from both Frozen Pill and Big Tex as OGA IS AT THE GAME.

Tonight. Follow here:

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The Colonel’s Teams At The Half-Turn

For On Goal Analysis (OGA), I follow Anaheim, Atlanta, Buffalo, Edmonton, Minnesota, New Jersey, Ottawa, St. Louis, Tampa Bay and Washington. I constantly analyze them against OGA’s proprietary Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC) which tells me early on who will or will not make the Playoffs. What did these teams look like at Game 40, the veritable mid-way point, and why has OGA made the calls they have about them?

The Colonel’s Team Summaries

Anaheim has been called at Tee Time, eliminated from 2010 Playoff contention. This call came at Game 40, on 31 December. Last season, they were called out on 18 February (Game 59) ringing as a Shot Off The Post, or incorrect call of Tee Time. After this season’s Game 40 (G40), they stand at the lowest point they have ever been against the PQC. Said another way, they are 11.5 games below where they were at G40 of the Ducks’ Stanley Cup winning season in 2006/7. Can they still come back? In our opinion, their season is done. After resting on the negative side of both their team and the NHL’s average PQC since Game 5 this year, they need to win 7-in-10 games for the rest of the season to stand a chance of holding down the last Playoff position in the West.

Atlanta at Game 25 was 1/2 of a game below their 2006/7 best at that point and looked to be on the way toward a call of Chasing Stanley – or IN the 2010 Playoffs. They hit a bad lull immediately after that point and before the Chasing Stanley call could be made, however, suffering a constantly decreasing gap between their average PQC and this season’s reality. At G40, they sat with a call of In The Curve, our average call between IN and OUT of the Playoffs. They have to right their sinking trend, however, because they now sit lower against the PQC than any season other than 2008/9. If they cannot start winning at better than .600 Hockey, they will find themselves watching the Playoffs from their couch instead of their bench.

The Buffalo Sabres of 2009/10 are playing right on par with the Sabres of 2005/6 at G40 and strongly at five games above their average PQC. Called as Chasing Stanley at Game 10, this team looks like the Sabres of old as they stand on the square shoulders of Ryan Miller. The only thing that can derail them at this point is an injury to their netminder, so much knuckle biting will be had between the remaining games of the season and during the Olympics.

Edmonton was called at Tee Time on 23 December and has been brutal to their loyal fans. At this season’s G40, they tied their worst ever G40 PQC from the 2007/8 season. Over 25 of their first 40 games, they have displayed a negative trend in play when compared to their average PQC. All indications are that it looks like a disappointing season is done unless they can win an average of 7.5 games in every 10.

Minnesota teased us at just short of Tee Time for their first 20 games and then kicked it into gear, finding their stride in new coach Todd Richards’ system. At G40, they were solidly In The Curve with 25 games’ worth of positive trend against their average PQC to boot. They will be hanging in for one of the remaining playoff berths in the West, but have to surpass the likes of Nashville and Vancouver to do it. So as good as they have been of late, they need to be even better or they will sit and watch the Playoffs with a middle-of-the-West finish.

New Jersey will be competing in the Playoffs this year for the fifth straight season since the Lockout. They have been solidly Chasing Stanley since Game 15 when they rose above their best performance against the PQC since 2005/6. Despite a shallow PQC dip in their last five games, they are winning more than 3.5 games in every five. The only question will be how deep they go in the Playoffs this year.

Ottawa was called Chasing Stanley at Game 20 and has fallen a bit flat since then. At G40, their PQC was more on par with being In The Curve than at the top of the heap. But after suffering through weeks without your starting goaltender and injuries to your top two points-getters in Alfredsson and Spezza, they are hanging in there well enough for OGA to consider them still playoff bound. They DO need to pick up their 2.75-games-in-5 winning average, however, to keep form seeing the likes of the Rangers, Canadiens or Thrashers climbing up the standings at their expense.

St. Louis was called at Tee Time last season on 16 December and fought back as the best team in the second half of the season to earn their first Playoff berth since the Lockout. They were also the second of three Shots Off The Post for OGA last season (yes, I am considered the trouble-maker on staff). High expectations have been dashed this season again with another Tee Time call on 31 December. While their current PQC still out-paces their post-Lockout numbers, at Game 40 they remained under the NHL average and below where they were in the 2007/8 season at New Years’ for comparison. New coach Davis Payne has to provide a spark that equals 7-wins-in-every-10 games to see this team enter the NHL’s post- season.

The interesting thing about Tampa Bay is that in 2005/6 and 2006/7, they made the Playoffs below and right at the PQC average respectively. So are they IN or OUT for this year? Were they in the Western Conference, they would be a Tee Time right now. But at G40, they were at Dusting Off Clubs, just shy of elimination for contention. Their G40 ranking was the second best they have recorded at that mark since the Lockout and their trend is to play higher than their average PQC more often than not this season. But winning an average of only 2.5-times-in-every-five-games is not going to be enough to get them into the post-season. If they do not pick up the winning pace, they will find themselves in the middle of the pack, just shy of the Playoffs, just like Minnesota out West.

With New Jersey and Buffalo, Washington stands as the class of the Eastern Conference this season. They were Chasing Stanley at Game 15 and have not looked back. This season’s best, post-Lockout run has tied last seasons’ peak at G40. Since Game 10, their performance has sat at a noticeable amount above their average PQC. This could very well be Washington’s year with New Jersey and Buffalo their primary hurdles to get to the finals.


So Buffalo, New Jersey, Ottawa and Washington out of the Colonel’s teams are Chasing Stanley with Ottawa the only one that needs to play a bit stronger to justify that call.

Atlanta, Minnesota and Tampa Bay are in between IN and OUT of the playoffs and will all need to improve their play to secure one of the remaining Playoff berths in their Conference.

Anaheim, Edmonton and St. Louis are at Tee Time, eliminated from 2010 Playoff competition. None of these teams are winning at better than a 49% clip and all need to win at 70% or better to change their fortunes.
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Sunday, January 3, 2010

JabberHockey - Hockey on the Highway, 01.03.10-5.30PM ET

You can click over to our show page at blogtalkradio.com/jabberhockey and set an email reminder to join us this Sunday, January 3rd, 2010 at 5.30PM ET

THIS SUNDAY, on JabberHockey: The Colonel and Big Tex will be headed home from St. Louis after catching the game with visiting Chicago and will join the show live, from the road. Frozen Pill will be in the JabberHockey studio, pushing the buttons.

ON THE AGENDA: We have seen all 30 teams reach the 40-game mark by yesterday so OGA will have new calls to reveal in The Colonel's PQC Slapshots.

A roundup of the OGA Road Trip IV will be at the top of the slot and we'll discuss the success of the Winter Classic and the most dominant player of the week per OGA's Comprehensive Player Index (CPI) in our Open Ice Hits.
We'll have time for your calls during our Open Ice Hits - (347) 857-4848, so please join us with a ring.

For FanFantasy, we'll dig Deep In The Corners as we examine the top performers in the AHL and their potential impact on your fantasy team. Lastly, we'll discuss the games2watch for the coming week. As always, we hope it's fun and we hope you are with us.

On Goal Analysis' weekly hockey talk show, JabberHockey is live every Sunday at 5.30PM Eastern. Topics vary each week as we highlight the lamps currently burning up the NHL. Always with a focus on our proprietary Playoff Qualifying Curve (PQC), we offer unique insight into each teams' chances of making post-season play...and the stories to unfold along the way. OGA Knows. And you can, too. Please join us!

take me back to ongoalanalysis.com

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Friday, January 1, 2010


Are you going to be at THE Game today with your phone? Will you be tweeting from the game? Follow @WinterClassic on Twitter and tweet any comments in regards to your daily activities as you make your way to Fenway Park and once settled in your seats. Include @winterclassic and #winterclassic in your tweet and we will retweet out to those following.

Perhaps you can share your thoughts on your view of the game. Today's event will be viewed from angles like hockey rarely is so we want to know how it looks to you. How is the weather? The fans? The food? Mmmmm....food.

It's a bit of a beta run as we prepare the idea for more full development next season, but get on board with a follow @WinterClassic on twitter.com. Even if you simply WISH you were going to be there and want to share what your 01.01.10 Winter Classic Day is like (including the watching conditions from your couch!), join in the fun and give 'er a follow.

Just tweet and include @WinterClassic in your message and we will retweet it out.

But if you know someone getting ready to head out to the big game today, pass this along and ask 'em to do that thing with their mobile phones they're going to do anyways. Use them.

Happy New Year, Happy Hockey.

Follow @WinterClassic here