Tuesday, October 07, 2008


North by Northwest

The Northwest Division is tough to predict in any season and especially difficult for 08-09.

Agreed, but I'll give it a shot too, having agonized over it for the past several weeks.


The Oilers are the ones with the most ground to make up from last season, and I just don't think they have enough. There's plenty of reasons they should be better: additions of some quality players like Cole and Lubo, subtraction of Greene, young players that figure to get better (most particularly and importantly Gagner), and a few less starts from Roloson. But on the other hand, I don't like Garon to be as good as he was last season (in the shootout or overall), and their top 6 D are probably the weakest in the division; Steve Staios just isn't getting any younger.

And lastly, it looks like -- at least to start the season -- that MacT is going to neutralize his own best comparative advantage (depth up front) by carrying a 28-year-old rookie who can't play, and not really having a fourth line.


I think the Avs' D (the skating portion) is a strength: besides Foote, Hannan, and Salei, a healthy Leopold should be a big asset, and a healthy Brett Clark might actually be their #1. Plus they still have Liles for the PP/O-zone work.

Their forward corps looks like it ought to be fantastic, but I'm not sure that it is. Little known fact: even before Smyth, Sakic, or Stastny got hurt last year, they had the worst PP in the league. Hedjuk can't seem to stay healthy. Wolski is a poor man's Hemsky, by which I mean a player for whom results over time just don't seem to match up to the obvious talent, even though you can't really point at one element of his game and say, "Well there's his problem!"

And as absolutely everyone else has noted, their goaltending will have to massively overperform to be judged as "adequate". I see the Oil and Avs as the two NW teams who cannot end up winning the division by 10 points.


Brunette seems like a decent replacement for Rolston, and their defense and goaltending should be as solid as ever, but I don't like them up front enough to call a repeat NW crown. They didn't replace Demitra, and I don't see a ton of room for internal improvement apart from Gaborik and Mikko Koivu, who were already excellent.

I respect the Wild plenty, and believe me when I say I'm terrified to go against the Lowetide picks, who has proven himself better than anyone at it. But at the same time, I think LT and I see Minnesota in a different light -- and how could we not -- because of the H2H performances of the Flames (quite successful) and and Oilers (quite miserable) lo these past several years. And lastly, I think you have to factor in the possibility that Gaborik gets traded mid-season, which in turn would almost certainly make them worse in the short term.


There are two big worries around the Flames. (1) Will Keenan be able to cobble together a 2nd line that can hold its own against really good forwards? (2) What's Kipper going to do? I'm not terribly optimistic about #1, and when you add the fact that Bertuzzi is more likely to act as a drag than a boost to Iginla, the top two lines will probably falter at EV relative to last year.

I have no idea on #2. I suspect that his days in the Vezina Trophy conversation are gone, never to return, but there's still plenty of territory below that very top tier in which to make a positive difference. Note that the worst-case scenario here is not that Kipper is bloody awful and McE becomes the de facto #1; the worst-case scenario is that Kipper is bad but not appallingly so, and he keeps getting run out there over 90% of the time.

That said, I think there are quite a few arrows pointing in the right direction. There's a good chance the PP will be better; there's a good chance that the PK will be better; the forward depth looks better; Phaneuf should continue to get better. I suspect they'll be a pretty good team this season.


I'm right with Tyler; hopefully you can check back at his site in the future for a clearer explanation, but: too often these previews focus on a team's weaknesses rather than its strengths. The Canucks have the best goaltending in the division, and probably the best D top-to-bottom, edging the Avs (though I think the Flames have the best top-to-middle). They have four excellent forwards who drive possession (Sedins, Demitra, Kesler). I doubt Pyatt and Bernier (or Wellwood for that matter) are worth a crap, but they have a few forwards who figure to compliment their top 4 guys nicely (Burrows, Hansen, Raymond, and presumably Ouellet soon enough). Their PP (see Sedins, Demitra, Salo) and PK (see D, Kesler, and esp. Luongo) should be terrific.

Aren't the Canucks going to be bloody hard to outscore? Looks like it to me, and I'm only partly saying this as a pre-emptive jinx. And let's not forget that they have both the cash and the defensive depth to acquire a high-end forward if the opportunity presents itself. [Think of it this way: if Sundin signed with Vancouver this afternoon, wouldn't they be the far-and-away favourite to win the division?]


Delusion abound. That's all I have to say about that.

Matt, you are an idiot.

What can I do? I can't help my Canucks love from shining through.

Yeow... you're on crack ;)

Yeah, another interesting thing about Vancouver last season is that they actually did really well against the other team's best players. In final results and by the underlying numbers.

The ice just sloped completely towards their own end when the bottom six forwards were out there though. Ridiculously so, both by eye and by the numbers. Even if nobody else in the league could feel their pain on this issue, surely to God Flames fans could, which probably explains some of your bias here.

And as much as I have liked Morrison in the past, and I know he was playing hurt with a core injury ... he was freaking terrible last year.

And as much as I think that Naslund can regain a lot of his counting number form if the gameplan is again built around him (a la Jagr, and Renney has Shanahan and Drury on the roster to get positive results playing the tough minutes, he can afford to do it) ... Markus wasn't making a difference in VAN though, and he needed to get away from Vigneault IMO.

Are Bernier (like him, btw), Wellwood and Ouellet enough to shore up the bottom of the forward roster? I dunno.

If it wasn't for the fact that I'm fairly sure that Lombardi is losing on purpose (I fully expect to find links to internet posts like "Why did Matt Greene and Denis Gauthier play 19 of 22 shifts against the Sedins last night?" posts at timeonice this season), if not for that, I'm sure he would grab Ouellet off of waivers at half price. And surely a team like St. Louis or Phoenix will take a flyer on him at half price, no? I just don't see a way for Gillis to get him through waiver returns.

Vic, I meant to note that they should probably be helped by Linden's retirement, too. I don't mind saying it since I never liked the guy; he was awful by the end.

Gotta love anon' calling you an idiot for your own predictions. Moron.

Anyway, although I disagree with your predictions, the questions and concerns you have on each teams are mostly bang on. Too tough to call, and injuries are probably going to flesh out the NW pack again, which is probably bad news for my team.

Keep up the good work Matt.

Andy where's your predictions? And, did you happen to see that tidbit in the Hick's column the other day regarding the new arena location and the World Fair. The World Fair?? What the hell?

Ten points seems to be what separates the first place from the eight place team these days, so I don't see how this assessment couldn't be reasonable and fair.

This is the worst divisional preview, are you f**king kidding me! Vancouver is going to be fighting for last not first. This is a worse team than last year and somehow you think they'll be significantly better!?!?!

Tom Benjamin recently talked about luck being a big factor in the NW division this year. Can't say I disagree with him. If the Flames are injury riddled this season rather than the 'Nucks, for instance, then they'll probably switch places in the conference standings.

And surely a team like St. Louis or Phoenix will take a flyer on him at half price, no? I just don't see a way for Gillis to get him through waiver returns.

Depends on when they do it. If they're serious about him - and I'd guess that they are - I would think that they'll do it in short order, to take advantage that everyone is kind of in love with the guys who they already have right now. I'm surprised that he passed through on the way down, to be perfectly honest, but then I sometimes wonder about the extent to which non-star players who haven't had a moment in the sun are well known and differentiated by other teams. The Ken Phelps bit I linked in my post is true; some guys who can play just never seem to get that real opportunity. It wouldn't stun me if he got through.

I assume that for Tampa Bay, this move was something of a salary dump - they don't have a ton of cash and can't be paying the guy to play in the minors. Vancouver has to try and pull him up - if they lose him for half price, well, that sucks but it beats paying him full price to spend the year in the AHL when they can have someone else there for 3-5% of his salary. He's a real NHL forward and he'll give the Canucks better depth than they had.

And, just to clear up my last post in case my atrocious attempt at sarcasm didn't come through in my writing, I was calling anon a moron, not you Matt.

Kyle McLaren on waivers as well.

Must be Matt's predictions the weather in Calgary has gotten really ugly. Don't agree but can be some fun fodder later in the year. I think the word vaunted may be used to describe the Lames this year.

Also Matt, have you ever checked http://geocities.com/oilswellweb/simulators.html. Mine and oilswell's season simulators are on there. Not the video game bullshit kind, the 'shit happens' variety.

Source code is available too (mine is embarrassingly heavy handed and not annotated well). In any case, two approaches with stunningly similar results that give you a terrific feel for just how wide the spread of results for a team can be, even given the presumed knowledge of a team's ability to generate offense and to defend against it.

MC79's sim thing that he has done for a couple of seasons ... that incorporates a different principle (Poisson distribution), which assumes we know the strength of two thunderstorms over two different random square miles of Saskatchewan farmland, and it counts the lightning strikes on each a bunch of times and averages the results.

In any case the results will be near enough identical to those from me and oilswell written five or six years ago. Because shit still happens, and in the right measure.

And there has never been anyone online who has ever predicted regular season results with better success than the bookies (everyone is just copying the guy from EZsportsbook I suspect, Vegas runs higher holds so can cheat the lines a bit (SEE MC79's tragic post on the subject at his site).

They will consistently be just outside the std deviation and |xa -xp| of oilswell's simulator (the best one, btw). Because injuries and trades happen. Still, damn impressive.

Rank is meaningless, of course. The teams are sp close that a few bounces here or there, even in the last couple of weeks alone ... they shift that order around like mad.

BTW: David Johnson is the bomb, btw. hockeyanalysis.com was getting killed outside the hold when he first started his site with "Dave's picks against the game lines". But he must be figuring something out, because he wasn't that far outside the bookies last year in the "total regular season points" category. I mean he would have lost money, but not much. And the extent to which he was wrong was impressive, only marginally worse than the oddsmaker, and close to the theoretical maximum as provided by oilswell several years ago.

Spot on. That's all I have to say about that.

(SEE MC79's tragic post on the subject at his site)

Which one is this?

Also, as it would be inappropriate to post it on IOF.

BetUS.com emailed me a few days after the Smyth trade and offered a flat sum annual advertising fee, paid in advance with no conditions attached. I've declined this stuff before, but in the spirit of the EIG I accepted that time.

Plus they are based on the Khanawake reserve in Quebec. And Bruce Cockburn is right, it really is the third world we don't see. Some fairly high tax levels there, at least there were a few years ago when a friend of mine looked into it (20 or 25k iirc), but much better infrastructure than the Caribbean. Plus there are obvious economic spinoffs to a community that really needs them. Granted the industry does seem to live in a legal grey area on Canadian First Nations property.

In any case they sent me an email as a sponsorship partner a little while ago, offering a bunch of swag and asking for my home address ... and I realized the buggers hadn't paid me for the second year, shitheads that they are(IOF is NOT a well oiled business machine). The sidebar over there is long overdue for updating, and I'll scratch them whenever I get around to doing those changes.

In any case, BetUS appears to have made an error and left a middle-out opportunity available. Not a pure one, but close enough.

You can take the Oilers over 86.5 at http://www.betus.com/sportsbook/nhl-ice_hockey_futures-regular_season_point_totals.aspx. BetVegasVic.com has ridiculous 6.5% holds, too much for this type of wager, but the -115/-115 93.5 gives the under real value against BetUS's over.

I'll leave you to do your own math, and apply oilswell's reasoning. But it's a no brainer. Massive returns if the Oilers finish between 87 and 93 points, and small losses if they don't.
This is, of course, a cottage industry with minor league game lines, but this sort of thing at the NHL level is rare. You'll have to move quick before it's caught, and you may or may not need an offshore account.

Merry Christmas, one and all.

If these standings were reversed, I think they'd be closer to the truth. Obviously Edmonton in first isn't even close, but the rest is defensible.

Matt's right.
If Vancouver signs a star forward (like Sundin) the suddenly they have two potent forward lines and, what looks like, some very reasonable checking lines. Throw in Luongo and what maybe is the best defensive depth in the NW (not too mention healthy) and you've got your NW division champs.

And if Vancouver doesn't sign Sundin, their forwards remain mediocre at best and they miss the playoffs.

Vancouver in first and Edmonton in last? I think it's much more likely the opposite happens.

Minnesota 3rd is about as low as they go (they're my pick for division champs).

Calgary in 2nd isn't so far-fetched, but Matt seems willing to penalized the Oilers in the standings for deficiencies that are a lot less pronounced than the lack of a top line LW or the potential to have a 6 million dollar albatross between the pipes. The Oilers will be battling the Flames for 2nd.

Colorado in fourth is about the only thing I agree on here...

this years nhl will be like imitation ikea furniture sold at XS cargo. vaunted! go blue jackets! yeehaw!

Funny to see the eyes opening to the possibility of Vancouver winnin the NW. Its common knowledge that goaltending and defence win longterm. Vancouver should be the best in both categorys with the Flames comin closest to them. The Wild are always there regardless of players and Colorado is average at both. It leaves the Oilers with the worst goaltending and defence in the NW.
Now i'm thinkin that the games are gonna be tight this year all the way through, and I see the Oilers goaltenders and defence startin to show holes before any of the other 4 teams. I know Kippers been average for a while, and Minny has Backstrom with Colorado changin Budaj and Raycroft back and forth. I think all those above mentioned are still WAY more apt to carry a team than Garon or Roli. JDD is minor league and won't ever get but a cup of coffee in the NHL. Now regarding the Oilers, if you throw in the very real possibility of sophomore slumps and the year is a washout. I see MacT gone before Christmas and Khabibulin tendin goal before New years.

ps. Vancouver is a little thin up front, but i'm confident that Gillis will make a HUGE splash soon. Maybe to the tune of Kovalchuk... (wishful thinkin) :)

I see MacT gone before Christmas and Khabibulin tendin goal before New years.

Sounds like a recipe for turning Tyler back into a Flames fan!

Do I ever hope you're right!

I think Bernier is worth a crap, and could be good for 30 goals with the Sedins if the puck keeps deflecting off him into the net.

This is pretty much Pyatt's last gasp to show he is anything but a third liner. And I doubt Wellwood is even going to see much playing time.

It seems inevitable that within the first month of the season Salo and one of Bieksa/Mitchell/Ohlund will have some kind of injury that will keep them out for 15-20 games. If that happens, all bets are off. But if those bastards on the blue line can stay healthy, you may just be right.

Curse you for getting my hopes up.

"...Colorado changin Budaj and Raycroft back and forth. I think all those above mentioned are still WAY more apt to carry a team than Garon or Roli."

This Billy guy sure knows his stuff, especially goalies...

This Billy guy sure knows his stuff, especially goalies...

He also once said that Sam Gagner was just another Mike Comrie. Because Comrie put up 50 points as an 18 year old in the NHL.

In other words....nothing to see here people, move along.....just another troll. It would be nice to call him out when his Canucks are languishing in the basement come mid-season, but he won't be around, alas....

Colorado, ahead of EDM? c'mon, crack isn't good for you buddy. COL's goaltending is waaay worse than Garon-Rolosson-JDD. You saying Theodore-Budaj is better?? LOL

I think it will be MIN, EDM, CAL, VAN, COL, in that order (thats 1-5)

Theodore is in Washington now.

Normally your blogs make a lot of sense. In fact, they're an enjoyable read. In the prediction department however, you suck donkey dicks.


On Ouelett and the Nucks; yeah, now is the time for Gillis to bring him up. Actually the first day of the regular season (non-European games) is strategically probably the best time.

I completely agree with you on that player as well, I think you were stumping for him a year ago as well, no? Any way you slice it, the guy seems to be able to get results. And at some point in the past it stopped being luck.


Also, the 'tragic post' refers to your prediction thread. The notion that the odds come out this late because they are waiting for THN and similar is just sad. Christ, they wouldn't have even come out this soon if not for the fact that the league started early in Europe again.

Some people are held to a higher standard, MC. Though apparently I'm not, considering that people seem to forget the stupid shit that I say.

I mean I can still remember Dennis pondering that scoring chances don't matter in the playoffs. This after the Oilers won a few games that they were outplayed in during the playoff run of 06. And the rationale ... "look at Calgary in 04, same thing!". Good Lord.

Related to that, I saw your over/under post at HFboards when I was checking up on my own annual poll posted a few days earlier, which asked for more specific points predictions. My poll gotten a lot more responses at the time that I checked, and gave a feel for the distribution of the annual optimism.

Also, the 'tragic post' refers to your prediction thread. The notion that the odds come out this late because they are waiting for THN and similar is just sad. Christ, they wouldn't have even come out this soon if not for the fact that the league started early in Europe again.

Ah...I was wondering what that meant. I don't know enough about how odds are set and did some googling about the topic. I guess I was influenced by what I read more than I should have been.

If you've got a good link you can recommend about how they do this stuff, I'd be happy to read it. As I understand things, the books want an equal amount of action on each side of the line. Thus, if there were two equally influential media outlets, one of which thought that the Oilers were going to put up betweeen 120 points and the other that thought they'd put up 121 points and the media perfectly shaped public perception, I'd figure the line at 120.5. To that extent, it would seem to be relevant info.

1) Minnesota Wild. I don't see the Wild trading Gaborik, especially if they're still in the race for 1st in the NW which they most likely will be. And Nik Backstrom might have something to say about whose the best tender in the NW.

2) Edmonton Oilers. I think Garon will do well this year. I see no reason to fear some kind of catastrophic meltdown on his part, he's in a contract year and seems to have his head on straight. Our D is the best its been since Pronger left, and our forward depth is top 2 in the NW (Colorado being the other).

3) Calgary Flames. Kipper needs to bounce back or they're outside looking in. Forward and defensive depth is suspect. They also need to keep their run of good health going.

4) Vancouver Canucks. Loungo's a great goalie, love to have him on my team (Oilers) but he's only been to the playoffs once, and its been the same problem every time for him, not enough scoring. I don't see how losing Naslund and Morrison and adding Demitra and Bernier makes them any better up front. Solid D, but is that enough? Will Loungo have to go 20-8 in one goal games for them to make the playoffs? Of course if they get Sundin (haha) then that probably puts them 2nd, considering it costs them only cap space.

5) Colorado Avalanche. Goaltending is going to kill them this year. Even if Budaj plays 60+ games that still means that Raycroft plays in close to twenty. They have solid D, and very good forward depth, but again, goaltending is going to let them down bigtime this year.

With those predictions made, its probably only a difference of 7 or so points between worst and first. I could easily see 2-4th being completely backwards, depending on injuries/performance.

And I think that playing less divisional games should help the Oilers, considering they had the worst record within the division and the best record against teams outside the NW (correct me if I'm wrong).


Matt , please stop sniffing glue. Nucks dont have a prayer to win this division, even if they land Sundin, at 37 or whatever the hell he is. Flames made lateral moves and finished only 3 points above the Oilers last year who lost nearly everyone to injuries. Minnesota will win, Oil second , Flames third then. With Van and Colorado being the bottom feeders.

I mean, I knew this, but My God does Lowetide have a lot of influence. :) How many predictions in this thread are identical to his?

And Tyler, Vic is obviously the better one to answer this, but the books will only go so far to "split the action". Let's say the Jets are constantly getting more action than they're worth: the bookies will cheat the line in that direction by a couple of points, but the business model, such as it is, accepts the fact that sometimes they'll take a bath when the Jets win and cover, but over time they'll cover <50% of the time, enough for the bookies to come out well ahead.


(a la Jagr, and Renney has Shanahan and Drury on the roster to get positive results playing the tough minutes, he can afford to do it)

You are hilarious. Shanny playing the tough minutes? And getting positive results doing so? How's worse competition (which doesn't even factor in that Jagr's qualcomp is muted due to the fact that he goes against checking lines so often, when was the last time Shanny faced a checking line?), better teammates, and a worse relative rating? Classic spouting of the accepted, mythical narrative that bear no relation to reality. You have become everything you despise.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sports_betting - read the section on bookmaking.

"Most people believe that bookmakers adjust their prices so that they get the same amount of money on both sides of a game. Theoretically, the bookmaker's only financial interest in the bets it accepts is the vigorish it takes from losing wagers, and it simply wants to ensure that the amount of wagers on each side is equal. However, some bookmakers are willing to take more risk and attempt to maximize their bottom line."

I think I disagree a bit with Vic, but it might just be semantics. It's not in the bookmakers' best interest to correctly predict the standings. It's in their best interest to maximise their profits. They set the lines according to bettors' preferences and shade where appropriate. The bookies' standings aren't predictions so much as they are a consensus of bettors opinions, with the big spenders carrying more weight.

It's not that hard for a careful bettor to do slightly better than the bookies' standings. After all, you only need to beat the other bettors (who are indirectly responsible for the lines). It *is* hard to beat them by more than the vig. I think the more astute observers in these parts could set lines slightly better than the bookies. Not wholesale of course, but being on the right side 51-55% of the time shouldn't surprise anyone. It will be interesting to look back at MC79's post come April. Small sample so anything can happen, still I think he'll do better than 50% more than half the time with that sort of thing.

You *can* make money. To make it worthwhile it takes a high volume of bets, a large bankroll and a lot of work. The way to do it is to take all of your own careful independent analysis and throw it in the garbage, then pot sportsbooks against one another. Look for anomalies and jump on them before they disappear. Seize the opportunities to middle, like Vic's find. It's easier and more rewarding to put in some extra effort at the office instead.


Your faith in markets astounds me, hive minds are terrible.

Bettors, of course, shouild think that they are betting against the market.

The point is to make as much money as possible, and if you're making book you have to follow the lines anyways, either that or fall victim to middle outers. Minor league lines are an exception. I know someone who middles for a living, and that's what he works. I have no idea how well he actually does, but he's been at it for years and he's not starving. He also has a script to middle on the shifting game lines just before a game starts, when some betting houses are hedging. But that's a dangerous game to play. Personally, I think the middling game is for fools.

The Nevada gaming commission reports sports wagering results, so when the bookies claim that they lost hundreds of millions in an NFL postseason, it's true. And it will be because the favourites covered the spread.

The natural holds are typically around 4% for sports, and the actual holds (or vig, as Jeff J prefers) are 6.5% in Nevada. Granted there are some idiot bets, essentially crazy parlays such as "who will win the Stanley Cup". The natural holds on that are probably in the 50% range, but not much volume, mostly just tourist bets.

Bettors like the favourites more than they should, in every sport, they will capitalize on that. Nobody is doing God's work, just trying to increase profit. And nobody who knows what they are doing is contributing to Wiki.

So if you bet on the underdog to cover the spread in the NFL for the rest of the regular season, you'll probably end up breaking even or close to it. If you bet on all the favourites you'll probably lose about 8% or 9% of the total amount you've wagered.

Same goes for hockey. And I'll bet as much money as you're willing to wager that over any time frame, any NA sport, the underdog will outperform the favourite relative to the odds.

Seriously Tyler, put down enough that it will hurt if you lose, say 10 large, against this proposition of mine. The odds against you will be enormous, you will almost certainly lose. But finally it will be a lesson learned, and then we won't have to have this same conversation over and over and over again every six months for the rest of our internet lives. :D

Love ya Tyler, but Jesus, you're my own personal Bryanbryoil on this issue.


Yeah, I remember you telling us how Jagr had to play against Tolbert. That must be tough.

And Jagr came on the ice for more offensive zone draws, relative to the bad kind, than anyone else in the league iirc (Lecavalier or St.Louis may have edged him out by season's end, they were close).

OTOH Zetterberg was the opposite.


I take it all back, ranada. Looking at game number 20619 vs the Oilers Jagr played a staggering 10.9 of his 15.6 EV minutes against Marty Reasoner. With Stoll and Thoresen just behind.

Damn, those are good checkers. And starting 5 times in the Oilers end of the rink against those guys ... well that's just harsh, because they are defensive specialists and defensive zone draws are right up their street.

And as I've said to you many times before, I think that Jagr was a much better player after his stint in Omsk. His shifts ended a lot better in any case. According to published reports, the Rangers have been able to record who was on the ice X minutes before an EV goal or scoring chance, this for nearly 20 years. He was positively Bure-ish at this earlier in his career I suspect (having Bure and pre-lockout Jagr on the same team was a sure fire formula for getting the coach fired, btw) but much, much better later, at least in the games I saw.

Of course the location of his draws mean more than his quality of competition! especially when considering that quality of competition is undervalued for those players that routinely see the maddens and pandolfos and savards and mike richards (because those players' relative ratings are undervalued). please, oh maven from maspha, explain to us earthly followers how shanny 06-07 or 07-08 was used, as you suggest, playing the tough minutes, which I would suggest, means in the way that players like pahlsson and kessler and other actual tough minute crunchers are used. renney has never used shanny as such on the rangers. the narrative lives on.

who had the last change in that game? whose choice was it to put out reasoner against jagr? go through jagr's game logs and you see the pattern emerge: at home he usually plays against the other team's top lines (because renney don't mind going toe-to-toe) and on the road he usually gets the checkers (holik or bergeron, etc). this trend was even more pronounced in 06-07 when nylander-jagr would hold the puck for a minute at a time, and it got all messed up in 07-08 because jagr was much less effective and renney had jagr, gomez, and drury on three different lines for most of the year.

going back to the lone edm-nyr game, who took the brunt of the horcoff-hemsky? betts/hollwed/orr. the same guys who routinely hopped over against crosby. to the extent renney had anyone playing the "tough minutes" the last year (which he mostly didn't), it was betts. not shanny and by miles.

Vic: I wasn't going to mention it;) but, earlier you thought Holik was still in Atl and later you thought Shanahan was still in NYC:)

earlier you thought Holik was still in Atl and later you thought Shanahan was still in NYC

He also thinks Jagr and Bure played together on the same NYR team. And that Jagr was a better player on the Rangers than Penguins. Yikes.

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