1. 4.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

JabberHockey - The Medal Round, Sunday 7.30PM ET

A Super Sunday followed by a Gold Medal Sunday. For us hockey fans, Sunday is the new Friday night.

And the OGA Scoring Line will bring you the post-medal party this Sunday when JabberHockey airs at the special time of 7.30PM ET. We will discuss the big game, the coronation of the next Olympic kings, and then get you pumped and primed for the resumption of NHL hockey!

Trade deadline? Just around the corner. Playoffs? The fight begins now. And we at On Goal Analysis are ready. We know you are.

So please join us for our final episode celebrating Olympic hockey at OGAlympics, here on JabberHockey this Sunday at 7.30PM ET.

take me to On Goal Analysis.com
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Monday, February 22, 2010

JabberHockey - The Miracle Edition

Please join the OGA Scoring Line tonight at 11PM ET as we present a special, late-night Monday edition of JabberHockey in commemoration of the 30th anniversary of the Miracle on Ice

Lake Placid, February 22, 1980. Where were you? We'll give you our unique JabberHockey perspective on our recollections and what the date means to us.

Frankly, the Colonel has something very special planned for all of us as a way to celebrate the breadth of that special night.
Just a little way for us here at OnGoalAnalysis.com to give our thanks for Miracles.

We invite you to call in and share your thoughts and memories as well. Or simply join us for a listen and in the chat room during this special Monday, late-night edition of JabberHockey.

take me to www.ongoalanalysis.com
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Saturday, February 20, 2010

Men’s Olympic Hockey: Post-2’s And The End of Group Play – The Colonel

Last night/this morning, all men’s Olympic Hockey teams completed Game 2 within their Group and the last Group game is upon us. Where are we going for Game 3’s and on into the medal round?


For Game 1’s, the Olympimentum file’s measure of best goalie win percentage and average goals scored per man, per game, led us to the file’s TAB order from left to right. Using that order as a prediction of who will win Game 1’s, all winners were correctly chosen (USA, Canada, Russia, Finland, Sweden and The Czech Republic).

That same file’s rank order led OGA to predict the following Game 2 results:

18 February
USA over Norway
Canada over Switzerland
Russia over Slovakia

19 February
Sweden over Belarus
The Czech Republic over Latvia
Finland over Germany

It was pointed out the goalies for Switzerland (Hiller) and Latvia (Misalskis) would have to be nearly perfect to pull off an upset for their team, but these two might be possible surprises. Switzerland took Canada to a Shootout before succumbing to Sidney Crosby’s marker and the Czech’s defeated Latvia after a late second period push from Misalskis’ team smacked of Latvian momentum before Patrick Elias’ open net goal completely sealed the deal late in the third.

The surprise was Russia’s shootout loss to the Czechs where a lack of Russian scoring and a Jiroslav Halak that was JUUUUUUSSST better than his Russian counterpart in net provided the Czech Republic win.

After 12 games, Olympimentum and OGA are 11-1.

Game 3’s

Looking at Game 3’s is best done by Group as the results of these games will set the matchups for the playoff rounds:

Group A

Norway @ Switzerland (3pm EST Saturday) – Switzerland wins, based in large measure on the play of Jonas Hiller in net and Wick, Ruthemann, Streit, Sbisa, and von Gunten.

Canada @ USA (6:30pm EST Sunday) – Our analysis will be covered on the 5:30pm EST Sunday, 21.02.10 JabberHockey show brought to you on the Internet via Blog Talk Radio.

For Group A, look to our prediction on the JabberHockey show receiving the Qualification BYE, and our predicted match loser most likely joining Switzerland and Norway in the Qualification round.

Group B

Latvia @ Slovakia (7:30pm EST Saturday) – Slovakia will take this one unless Latvian goalie Edgars Masalskis shuts them out.

Russia @ Czech Republic (3pm EST Sunday) – The first barn-burner of ‘Super Sunday,’ this will be a great match. With Jagr, Elias and Plekanec picking up steam and a defensive corps with seven combined points and a +7, the Russians could suffer another defeat. The Russian forward corps is a better group as a whole, however, their defense just about even with the Czech’s and goaltending certainly capable of shutting down an opponent. Give the nod to the Russians in a close one based on a desire to absolve themselves of their SO loss to the Slovaks.

For Group B, look for the Russians to earn the BYE and the Czechs, Slovaks and Latvians to play in the Qualification round.

Group C

Germany @ Belarus (12am EST Sunday) – Belarus will win this game, but look for Felski, Hecht and/or Muller to finally light the lamp for the German team.

Sweden @ Finland (12am EST Monday) – Finland. They are hot at the forward position, great in goal, have the confidence and love the rivalry with the Swedes too much to roll over in this game.

For Group C, Finland has the BYE. Belarus, Germany and Finland are in the Qualification Round.

Wait a Minute…

“Hold on now!” you exclaim. There ARE four teams with a Qualification Round BYE. So who will this be?

The likely loser in RUS v CZE, CAN v USA and SWE v FIN on Sunday are potential BYE candidates. Based on current goal differentials, for all intents and purposes, it comes down to a six-point-getting RUS v CZE or CAN v USA-loser. By our best estimate, the USA/CAN loser is the fourth team to earn a BYE.

We cannot say that without saying Group B’s Qualification Round teams are going to be the scariest to play next to Sweden.

So for Game 3’s, OGA lays it on the line and predicts SUI, SVK, RUS, BRS and FIN to win, and begs off telling you the CAN v USA winner until Sunday’s JabberHockey show.
The four teams most likely to earn a BYE are USA, CAN, RUS and FIN.

And don't forget from the OGAlympics or On Goal Analysis Home pages you can follow the men's Olympic scores in real time, updated every 10 seconds with our Livescore function underneath the hot shot picture of the day.

Take me to OGAlympics

Take me back to On Goal Analysis
1. 4.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Burkie Was Right – The Colonel

Brian Burke said it before and can say it again right now, “I told you so. Ryan Miller is the best goalie in the tournament…

WHAT!? Not Roberto Luongo with his opening game shutout against Norway?! But he is perfect! OK. Big Lou is perfect. One game played, one win, 1.0 save percentage and no goals against.

Ryan Miller, on the other hand, has played two games, has two wins, but ONLY a .923 save percentage and a 1.0 GAA.

The differences here are one glaring item, and one that is more subtle.

Ryan Miller has been the difference for Team USA for a good 20 minutes of both games played because the American skaters have yet to put up a 60-minute game. In Game 1, it was what many have characterized as coasting in the 3rd period where USA was outscored 1 – 0 and outshot 6 – 2 by the Swiss. Had the game been tied after 40 minutes, Team USA would be 1 – 1 right now versus 2 – 0.

And in Game 2 against Norway, USA let up in the second period where they only outshot Norway 8 – 7. After going up 3 – 0, they surrendered a goal to Marius Holtet and allowed the Norwegians to carry a measure of momentum into the dressing room after two periods of play. The lopsided-looking score did not appear until 14:19 of the 3rd period with Ryan Malone’s second goal of the tournament and Brian Rafalski’s two goals in 2:23 to close out the score 6 – 1.

Miller’s obvious difference in these two games and some streaky scoring by USA has them 2 – 0 with a +7 goal differential and leading Canada who had to go to a Shootout win against the Swiss for their second victory.

On a more subtle note, Team USA’s netminder was also the difference in Game 2 when he stepped up near the faceoff dots and made a (goalie) tape-to-tape pass to defenseman Jack Johnson who fed Ryan Malone for USA goal number four mid-way through the third period. In the process, he notched an assist and simultaneously made a leadership statement. That play was telling his team to get off their rear ends and play Hockey. They did, adding two more late goals in the game. And USA finished that game looking like a proper, upper tier team with a very high quality goalie between the pipes.

Miller's obvious plan and more subtle leadership make him more of a standout than Luongo's shutout. There also is no controversy at Team USA about who starts in goal come Sunday.

Make no mistake, Ryan Miller will have to show he is the man again come Sunday when Team Canada, now feeling the media and home-town crowd heat for extending to a Shootout with the Swiss, comes ready to play the American squad. Tune in a 7:30pm EST for the game. If Team USA wins, it will be because Brian Burke is still right…

Take me OGAlympics

Take me to On Goal Analysis
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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Men’s Olympic Hockey: Where Are We After The 1’s And What Happens In Game 2’s? – The Colonel

As of last night, all 12 men’s Olympic Hockey teams have completed their first game. Where do we stand and what have we learned from the teams this early based on the On Goal Analysis Olympimentum file?


In using the Olympimentum file to measure rankings based on who had a combination of the best goalie win percentage and average goals scored per man, per game, the rank ordered teams by the tabs at the bottom of the page should have told us the winners of the early games would have been:

The Czech Republic

All of these teams in fact won game number one. For Game 2, if the momentum-because-there-isn’t-yet-chemistry theory holds out, the winners should be:

18 February
USA over Norway
Canada over Switzerland
Russia over Slovakia

19 February
Sweden over Belarus
The Czech Republic over Latvia
Finland over Germany

These predictions being correct would be because the talent in terms of goalies' ability to win and players ability to score on the 'winning' teams out paces that of the predicted losing team.


The predications above being wrong could be for the projected losing team’s goaltender coming up unsolvable. Of the goalies listed on losing teams, the best is Jonas Hiller for Switzerland who came into the tournament 5-2 in NHL play since 1 February.

Second would be Edgar Masalskis of Latvia who was 3-1 with the one loss being in a shootout. His only issue would be that he absorbed all eight goals in the team’s 8-2 loss to Russia which he would have to mentally overcome to beat a Czech team that has a rejuvenated Jaromir Jagr and a sharp Tomas Vokoun in net playing on it.


For all 28 players scoring at least one goal in their first game, only Jagr, Ohlund and Malone did not score any goals in the games they played between 1 – 14 February. The average for all scorers before the games was two goals scored. Only 10 of the 28 (35.7%) scored one or none pre-tournament.


Look for the game winners to be USA, Canada, Russia, Sweden, The Czechs and Finland. If there is to be any upset, it could be Latvia over the Czechs and the Swiss over Canada, but only if their goalies pitch at or near a shutout.

And check the Olympimentum file for players notching over two goals through the first two weeks in February for the potential goal scorers in these upcoming 2’s.

Take me to the OGAlympics page

Take me back to www.ongoalanalysis.com
1. 4.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

JabberHockey Is NEXT Sunday...

...Because today is a holiday and the OGA Scoring Line are studying hard on the X's and O's today and tonight.

Just a reminder that JabberHockey will be live again next Sunday, 5.30PM ET. But for today, enjoy the last day of NHL hockey for a couple of weeks and enjoy some Olympic action, as well.

Also remember to check out OGAlympics here and we'll see you hearing us next Sunday. Happy Hockey!

return to ongoalanalysis.com
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Friday, February 12, 2010

Another One Bites The Dust - The Colonel

True, using a quote from a song sung by Queen is suspect on some days. You might even say so today as On Goal Analysis calls a fifth team in the Western Conference at Tee Time, eliminated from 2010 Playoff contention.

That's right - the men from the State Of Hockey are now carried in (I See) Red color in the On Goal Analysis status spectrum. "WHAT?" you ask. "No, you're wrong - that was the Wild of the first 20 games of the season," you say. No, actually, the Wild scrapped for and secured an OGA call of Dusting Off Clubs, or just short of elimination, through the first 20 games of the season. That's just BARELY short.

For further reference, consider these facts:

1. The Wild's play against their average Playoff Qualifying Curve since the Lockout has been on a downward trend for 15 of their last 20 games.

2. They currently are at the second lowest PQC at Game 60 they have earned since the Lockout.

3. They would have to win about 1.5 games more in every 10 than they currently average unless everyone else in the West started losing.

So three key factors have seen them on the outs by OGA. We regret to inform the great state of Minnesota that this is the case again this season, but we do so by saying two potentially positive things:

Firstly, we have a fine line with that PQC and they have met the minimum criteria to be called out. They cold make liars out of us if they just win.

And lastly, the promise shown by the team in what many of us thought to be a rebuilding year anyway is, indeed, promising based on about 53% of the team's play and the way in which the new management has never seemed to panic at any time this season. Call it a nod toward quiet confidence for next season.

Take me back to On Goal Analysis
1. 4.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

N-Y-R O-U-T - So Who's Back In?

Would you buy a used defenseman from this man?

If you check the standings on the OGA home page, you'll see that the New York Rangers have suddenly turned a blood red. This indicates the sad fact that, as of Game 60, the Rangers are now at Tee Time - called OUT of the playoffs by OGA. This is an oddity, and (sadly) I'm not talking about the Rangers' elimination from playoff contention. What is odd about this situation is that New York is the eighth Tee Time call in the Eastern Conference. I'll give you a minute to do the math...

That's right, boys and girls: The OGA Boys have now called one too many teams OUT in the East. What that means is that we're acknowledging (in advance) the fact that one of our eight Tee Time calls will be a Shot Off The Post come April...but we're confident that it won't be my beloved Blueshirts. If not New York, then who could it be - Montreal? Tampa Bay? Atlanta? Florida? Time will tell. While we wait for the East to sort itself out, feel free to peruse the Rangers' 2009-10 Season Eulogy below:

The 2009-10 New York Rangers were truly blessed: While many teams struggle to develop an identity, the Rangers had two...and you never knew which one would step onto the ice each night. Would it be the team that won seven straight games after dropping their season opener, or would it be the team that lost five straight in early December? Would they score fourteen goals in two games, or one goal in three games? Oh, the mystery! Oh, the excitement!

In the end, Tex Rickard's Boys were undone by the same fatal flaw that ended their Stanley Cup dreams in the Conference Quarterfinals last season: A lack of consistent scoring. After last seasons' struggles, GM Glen Sather made several bold moves to bolster the Rangers' scoring, signing free agent sniper Marian Gaborik, 20+ goal men Vinny Prospal and Ales Kotalik, and trading for 20+ man Chris Higgins. While Gaborik has actually exceeded expectations, Higgins was horribly snakebit and Kotalik quickly found himself in Coach Tortorella's doghouse, and both are now gone. Prospal has been good, if a bit inconsistent, but is on pace for just 17 goals. In short, despite Gaborik's efforts, New York is averaging just 2.52 Goals/Game. Last season, they averaged 2.44.

Back in early December, I called the Rangers a "One-Trick Pony." Since then, they've done little to prove me wrong. In fact, the only thing the Blueshirts have proven is their unworthiness as a playoff contender. Look for more changes this summer, assuming Glen Sather is given yet another chance to find the right pieces for the agonizing puzzle that is the New York Rangers.

Take me back to On Goal Analysis.
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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Trade Deadline Rubik's Cube

I can’t help it: I love the NHL trade deadline and all its’ attendant shenanigans. The trade deadline is like a Rubik’s Cube (the link is for all you whippersnappers who don’t know what that is), as every move made affects moves on the other side of the cube (or league). Trying to figure out “…IF Trade A goes down, then how does that change Trade B?” can easily occupy most of your waking hours. Case in point: Yours Truly. The trade of oft-injured Atlanta goalie Kari Lehtonen to Dallas for prospect d-man Ivan Vishnevsky and a 4th round draft pick has set my mind a-spinnin’. Allow me to share a little stream-of-consciousness trade thought with you:

1. Lehtonen’s arrival in Dallas must signal Marty Turco’s departure. Who wants a goalie? Chicago and Philadelphia, that’s who.

2. Dallas needs a puck-moving defenseman to quarterback the PP. Vishnevsky was supposed to fit the bill, so why would the Stars trade him...UNLESS they thought they could get a puck-moving d-man for Turco?

3. If Chicago wants Turco, methinks it will cost them one Cam Barker

4. …OR one Brian Campbell. This works for Chicago, as they need to shed salary before next season, but they have to get a defenseman back from Dallas in addition to Turco (Trevor Daley or Matt Niskanen would be my guess).

5. If Chicago gets Turco, they must unload Cristobal Huet…to Philadelphia.

6. Who would Chicago want from the Flyers? Braydon Coburn and draft picks? Matt Carle?

7. Now that Atlanta has stocked their blueline with Enstrom, Bogosian, Oduya, Kubina (assuming he re-signs with the Thrashers), Valabik and now Vishnevsky, could one puck-moving defenseman (Enstrom or Bogosian, or even Vishnevsky) be dealt to Columbus for Nikita Filatov, thus giving the Blue Jackets the offensive d-man they so desperately need and the Thrashers their next non-backchecking Russian superstar?

8. …OR could Filatov go to Los Angeles in exchange for Jack Johnson?

See how easy it is to cross the line from sound reasoning to wild speculation? And that, my friends, is how trade rumors are born.

Take me back to On Goal Analysis.
1. 4.

Men's Pre-Olympic Ice Hockey Exhibition - The Colonel

Tonight, 09.02.10 at 2030 hrs EST, Team Switzerland (Men's) takes on Team Belarus in Winnipeg, a pre-Olympic warm-up game with both teams only missing a couple of NHL players.

Why watch this game?

If you have been checking out On Goal Analysis' Olympimentum, you would know:

1. Team Switzerland boasts Defenseman Rafael Diaz of EV ZUG (Swiss Nationalliga A), one of the top scoring Olympic defensemen since 1 February with 2 G and 2 A in games on 5 & 6 FEB. They also will be playing their backup goalie, Tobias Stephan, formerly of the Dallas Stars and now playing for HC GENEVE-SERVETTE, while projected starter Jonas Hiller finishes out the week's ANAHEIM DUCKS schedule.

2. And Team Belarus will ice a team with two goalies, a defenseman and four forwards from DYNAMO MINSK of the KHL and one goalie and four defensemen from SHAKHTYOR-SOLIGORSK of the Belarus Extraliga. Will Team Belarus play their Belarus goalie, Maxim Malyutin of HK VITEBSK who has won both of his previous games in February to include a shootout?

How will both of these teams respond minus their NHL players? Will the large number of players on Team Belarus from only two professional teams give them a chemistry-driven edge over the Swiss?

You can follow the game's score at On Goal Analysis by looking for the listing marked as "Friendlies" in tonight's Livescore scoreboard. You can also go to 92 CITI FM who it looks like will be carrying the game online.

Additional men's Hockey exhibition games are listed on the IIHF page.

First puck drop for the men's teams is one week from today as Team USA takes on the Swiss at 3pm EST on 16.02.10.

It's time to get into the (Olympic) game!
1. 4.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Team Belarus Coach's Interview - The Colonel

Below is the Google EN translation of a press conference led by Team Belarus Head Coach Mikhail Zakharov. Note Team Belarus flies to Canada 07/08.02.10 where they will play two games against the Swiss on 09.02.10 and 11.02.10 in Winnipeg.

Directly From http://hockey.by/news-931.html

"...06/02/2010Play to win
On Saturday, February 6, in the office of the Republic of Belarus Ice Hockey Federation held a press conference with head coach Mikhail Zakharov and Secretary General FHRB Sergey Goncharov. Meeting with journalists was timed for the flight team for the Olympics in Vancouver.

In dealing with the press Mikhail Zakharov stressed once again that at the moment among the candidates for getting into the Olympic team is not "major" and "spare":
- Frankly, I'm tired of repeating that we have a list of candidates, where all are equal before February 15 - the date of the official Olympic bid.
Mikhail said he hoped that all the Belarusians, the speakers in the NHL, yet be able to participate in the Games:
- I would not say that the same Mikhail Grabovsky everything has been decided definitively. Naturally, I would really like to Misha played at the Olympics, as, indeed, all of our other representatives of the NHL. Salei, according to my information, has rides, the recovery process is successful.
Sergey Goncharov added that the issue of enhaelovtsam will most likely resolved early next week after the regular communication sessions with the leaders of clubs, which serve Belarusians overseas.
Speaking of problems, Mikhail Zakharov assured all present that the team will fight for victory in each match. For the psychological motivation of hockey in Vancouver coaching staff has prepared a variety of video materials, the most memorable moments and the team of the Minsk "Dynamo". By the way, Mikhail Mikhailovich in the national team play an important role of video-training players.
- In modern hockey video-viewing and analysis of the episodes - one of the most important moments in the coaching business. In "Youth", for example, we constantly train hockey players on the basis of video materials. This, I introduced and the national team. Believe me, it's really insanely important aspect.
Arguing on goalkeeper coach complained that the last game Andrei Mezin and Vitaly Koval was carried out not as reliable as it is the case, but problems in that Mikhail does not see:
- We have a great tandem of goalkeepers. I think the past is not the most successful games in their performance of moral consequence of depression is not the best performances of Minsk "Dynamo" in general. In sports psychology is very important. I am sure that during the collection goalkeeper forget about everything and concentrate on the Olympics will show their best game.
At the end of the press conference, Mikhail Mikhailovich asked an interesting question: "Given the problems of national team (players' injuries, which counted coaching staff, refusal to travel to the Olympics as an assistant Andrei Khomutov), Do not you regret that led the team?"
- Never! Yes, we have a difficult situation, but is that a man's cry and run away from difficulties? I am proud to head the national team and will put all their strength and knowledge to achieve maximum results!
Applauding, all present wished the Belarusian national team good luck in Vancouver.

Recall, our team flies to Canada in the night from Sunday to Monday (the night of 7 to 8 February). Check out team is scheduled for 3 am from Minsk-Arena. The team initially will fly to Winnipeg, where 9 and 11 February will have two friendly matches with the Swiss. After these sparring Belarusians fly directly to Vancouver.

Press office FHRB...."
1. 4.

Friday, February 5, 2010

OGA Introduces: Olympimentum

Our own mad-hockey-scientist, The Colonel knows no bounds. And when one synaptic relay is followed by a few more something is bound to happen.

And happen it has. Olympimentum is coming soon to www.ongoalanalysis.com.

Straight from The Colonel's smoke signals comes the following message:

We were going to sit around and enjoy soaking up the Olympics from our couches here at On Goal Analysis.

BUT WE LOVE HOCKEY! So we cannot do that.

The OGAlympics page will be going up soon. In the meantime, we are providing you something of value.

You know Olympic hockey medaldom is potentially won and lost in the first game or two. That means momentum more than chemistry is very important from the first leap over the boards. In light of that fact, you can now go to www.ongoalanalysis.com and click on the link at the top of the page entitled “Olympimentum.” From this link, you can go to the online spreadsheet which shows you just what players on the Olympic rosters are doing from 1 FEB until the NHL shuts down for Vancouver after games on the night of 14 FEB.

Want to know which goalie is the hottest? Who is scoring the most? What about +/- and SOG? We have it from a ton of sources, to include information on roster changes and links to key news releases.

Is it perfect? No. But it is a huge compilation effort each and every day because of where you have go to find the stats. Here are the few limitations:

1. Injured but not replaced players’ cell in is red and the word “Injury” is out to the far right of that players’ line.

2. Blocks in yellow to the right of a player indicate an NHL game scheduled.

3. Blocks in light red to the right of a player indicates a game played in Europe.

4. Blocks in gray indicate no information available for a player (there is only one).

5. A block in red with “DNP” indicates a player did not play that night.

6. Player performance in red in a game block is from the Swedish league and only includes goals and assists – it is the best I can get from the web for now, but I will continue to search.

7. And on the bottom right is your total for goalie wins and losses, +/- and goals and assists. The farthest column over shows the average of each, per man and per game for team comparison because, for instance, Team Canada will play more games than Team Belarus before the games. This allows you to see relative team totals.

And just to entice you a bit more:

Current status for the two, new USA defensemen is posted.

A new defenseman replaces Richard Lintner on Team Slovakia.

Team Belarus’ coach is set to have a presser on 6 FEB (three team injuries there).

There are a ton of international games tonight for updating.

And a by-player total column will be added to the far right for tomorrow's posting.

So again, that’s www.ongoalanalysis.com and click on the link at the top of the page titled “Olympimentum” while the OGAlympics page is being constructed.

1. 4.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Trade Deadline Moves - An OGA Joint Production

It's that time of year again, kids: The NHL Trade Deadline Season. General Managers around the league are phoning/texting/sending telegrams (can you do that anymore?) back and forth, trying to put together "The Deal" - the trade which will give their team the boost they need in order to have a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup. The $10,000 Question is: When is a trade deadline deal the right thing to do? Just like everyone else, we OGA Boys have our own opinions on the subject, and today, we're going to share them with you.

What follows is three separate answers to the question, written individually by Frozen Pill, The Colonel, and Big Tex. Combined, it's our first OGA Joint Production. Enjoy!


WHEN should a team "rent" a player at the trade deadline?

As a general rule, I do not like seeing a team trade away valuable assets (the future, via draft picks or prospects) to obtain a ‘rental’ player for a post-season run. Assuming salary cap status for the organizations is not in play for such a deal, there are two scenarios in which I envision a ‘rental player’ acquisition as being a viable option.

SCENARIO 1 (rarely in play):
An NHL team must make a post-season appearance in any given season in order to generate enough revenue to continue to exist in its current location. If the books are that bad, there are many concerns needing to be addressed but there is no doubt a blockbuster move and/or acquisition of a marquis player (sniper or goalie) generates buzz in the local and national media and will help the butt-to-seat ratio move in a positive direction.

SCENARIO 2 (with pros/cons and caveats):
IF a team has been comfortably positioned in the top 6ish of its conference for the majority of the season and…
IF said team is obviously on track for spring hockey (Chicago is a good example this season) as measured, not only by the standings, but by the health of team chemistry, quality coaching, and backed by a sense of momentum, THEN the rental option is indeed an acceptable gamble.

Because it is a gamble to sign a soon-to-be-free agent to wear a team’s colors for months in hopes the newly acquired player is the ‘missing element’ for that season. More often it costs the signing team too much in terms of ‘player currency’ as they usually have to give up younger players with promise.

Every NHL team puts thousands of man-hours into scouting, courting, drafting and developing players in their unique system and organization. Trading away perhaps even just one of these ‘products’ for a loaner from another team can be more costly in the long term. And very often, it is more than one prospect that is moved.

Again, it comes down to chemistry. Will the departure of the players sacrificed to the Cup Runneth Over altar affect the existing team’s unity adversely? Will the Rental land on the right line combination soon enough to be as effective as the stats should indicate?

And what about those pesky Hockey gods? If a team moves some good players, draft picks or prospects only to find their ‘answer’ is injured in the second game after the trade deadline the deal doesn’t look so good to anybody. Aye, there’s the rub.

It’s always going to be a gamble to invest what a team must in order to obtain the ‘missing element’ player an organization feels they need for the long run at the Cup. And if it proves to be a good bet, it looks like genius in retrospect. This gamble is best made by the team who believes their time is now…that this is their season…and they have the numbers to back it.

In other words: If Chicago has to give up some treasure from their plentiful chest to obtain Ilya Kovalchuk by the trade deadline, this would be a good year to do so. The New York Rangers, on the other hand, for the sake of their fans, have no business even calling Atlanta.


The subject is when should a team pay the steep price a rental player costs? I prefer to answer this (as I usually do) with some reverse logic. What should be asked is when is it too late for a new player to make a difference? Past the fact that more often than not one player and the mojo he brings is nowhere near the only thing a team needs, the answer is when that trade is irrelevant to the Playoff picture.

As we close in on Game 60 for every NHL team, the only ones a trade is currently relevant to in the Eastern Conference are:

Atlanta – Though called at Tee Time by OGA, they B-A-R-E-L-Y made the minimum requirements for OUT of the Playoffs when the call was made. They sit a point behind the 6th and 7th seeds right now, so a little something is all they need to spark their team. Something like damn good, consistent goaltending would be just enough. This is certainly NOT the time to contemplate losing their top scorer to a trade deadline mishap, but it is time no later than Game 60 to bring in the best netminder on the block that doesn’t cost them a Kovalchuk.

Boston – Wow! What a change a year makes. They have actually needed their trade deadline met since the week after the Winter Classic. Apparently, they can only score when Marc Savard is not injured. So the team has been in need of a trade for some scoring since 2 January/Game 40.

Florida – A team on the verge again. It seems like they need a replacement for injured forwards, some blue line scoring AND some cushion in case more injuries occur. Hind sight being 20/20, someone who is a 25 – 30 goal scorer plus a 10-goaler on defense were needed about 22 January/Game 51, the day after they lost Nathan Horton.

NY Rangers – How do you trade for a stable psyche when you cannot dump Wade Redden’s cap hit? Let’s say the Rangers could. As tight as the race for the last Eastern Conference Playoff slot(s) is (are), and IF they knew they would be on a five-game losing streak beginning 21 January, they would have wanted to make changes to stave off the losses on 20 January/after Game 50.

In the Western Conference, trades may be more relevant to a few more teams than in the East:

Anaheim – I would say let’s see how the Toskala and Blake for Giguere trade plays out, but I firmly believe the need for a stronger defense has been there for the Ducks all season long. OGA called them at Tee Time on December 31/Game 30. Their true need to change things occurred in the midst of losing six games in seven 29 November – 11 December or by Game 32.

Calgary – I WILL reserve my comments about whether or not the blockbuster with Toronto has done the trick. Certainly it could not come much later this year as the Flames were in the midst of a two-wins-in-13-games skid. Let’s see f this trade at Game 56 is enough.

Detroit – The rub with the Red Wings is if they were completely healthy, to simply make the Playoffs while not leading the Conference could be done if everyone was healthy. Maybe they could have used a scoring forward back when Franzen went down in light of the off-season losses, but whom would they have traded? So I say this team could not have improved their lot with a trade.

Dallas – I do not think Dallas has the financial wherewithal to trade for what they need. A Power Play quarterback has not been present since the injury bug began hitting Sergei Zubov seasons ago. They would need a presence on the order of a Pronger, Scott Niedermeyer, or Lidstrom and could only afford more like an Ian White. Since the answer would be somewhere in the middle, a bring mark Streit to Dallas campaign would have been good over the summer. And consistency in goal would help. So, being generous, I would offer around Game 50 trading Marty Turco for an elite D-man would have been a good call.

Minnesota – A trade by this team was not needed. What was required was the team that appeared at Game 22 to be the one skating in the previous 21 games. Since Game 22 and as of the end of January, the team has gone 20-11-2, or played .637 Hockey. Applied to the entire season, on 1 February the team would have been holding 70 points and either 3rd or 5th place in the Conference. Call this team a wash with no trade needed.

Nashville – This team may just make it as is. Let’s say they hang in there well until the trade deadline and get that last, crucial, blue collar piece they need to complete their team for a Playoff run. That will be after Game 53.
If a team is not listed above, they are already either going to make it, or a trade is for the future because it’s just not happening this year.

In reading the above, it is easy to see that the trade deadline is relative to each team’s situation. As an overall average, however, the answer is that the deadline should have happened by Game 48, or by mid-January this season in order to have a true impact on the season’s outcome.

Lest you call that a copout, see the blog I wrote entitled “When To Execute The Trade Deadline” on 23 January 2009. I am sticking to my guns.


The Question: When is a trade deadline move appropriate – in other words, should a team mortgage the future (i.e., trade draft picks and prospects) merely to secure a playoff seed, or should a move only be made if doing so will give the club a legitimate shot at the Stanley Cup?

The Answer (or An Answer, anyway):

The merits of patiently developing prospects and slowly building a contender vs. trading those prospects for proven veterans in order to compete for Lord Stanley’s Cup NOW can be debated ad infinitum, but in the end, it’s all about the Benjamins, baby. Playoff teams practically print money during their run for the Cup. As this chart indicates, the 2007-08 Dallas Stars generated an average of $950,000 in ticket revenue for each regular season home game. During their nine playoff home games, the Stars earned an average of $2,000,000 per game. The net result was that the Stars’ playoff run in the Spring of 2008 increased their ticket revenue by roughly 46%! As players aren’t paid during the playoffs, that extra ticket revenue is huge for teams. Quite often, it’s the difference between finishing the season with a profit, or a loss.

Thus, GM’s around the NHL must make a critical decision each year: Is playoff revenue this year more important than (potential) playoff revenue in the coming years? Often, the decision is complicated by another consideration: the fans. Fans don’t care about playoff revenue, profits or (financial) losses; they just want to WIN.THE.CUP. Failure to make the playoffs, particularly over several seasons, erodes the season ticket base. On the other hand, getting into the playoffs will boost (at least temporarily) season ticket sales.

If you ever wondered what was running through Atlanta GM Don Waddell’s head in the Spring of ’07, when he sent young Braydon Coburn to Philadelphia for Alexei Zhitnik, or Glen Metropolit and three draft picks (2007 1st & 3rd round and 2008 2nd round) to St. Louis for Keith Tkachuk (who returned to the Blues as a UFA the following summer), now you know. Waddell’s moves paid off, and the Thrashers earned the first playoff berth in franchise history. Though they were swept in the first round by the New York Rangers, Atlanta received a much-needed cash infusion for their two home playoff games, and saw a bump in season ticket sales the following season. That one foray into the postseason gave longtime Thrashers fans hope, and created new fans in the process. Though Atlanta’s attendance woes continue, there can be no doubt that the numbers would be even lower, were it not for their 2007 playoff run.

In conclusion, it’s not about winning now vs. long-term; rather, it’s money now vs. long-term that NHL GM’s have to consider above all else.

Take me back to On Goal Analysis.