blank'/> THE PUCK REPORT: April 2016

Saturday, April 30, 2016

2016 NHL Draft Lottery Results

Tonight Deputy Commissioner Bill Daly presented the NHL Draft lottery results live on CBC, with the top overall pick in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, to be held on June 24-25, 2016 in Buffalo, New York, being awarded to the intentionally tanking Toronto Maple Leafs.
The actual lottery was conducted 30 minutes earlier in Sportnet's Hockey Central Studio in Toronto. In this video from 2013, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman offers a detailed explanation of the process.
Designed to guard against teams purposely losing regular season games to improve their draft position, the weighted lottery system implemented prior to the 1995 NHL Entry Draft provides weaker teams with a greater chance of a higher pick without any guarantees for poor performance.

Until 2013, only the league's five worst regular season teams were eligible for the top overall pick, allowing teams to advance up to four spots and fall only one spot in the lottery. That changed in 2013 with all non-playoff teams eligible for the top overall pick albeit with their statistical likelihood directly tied to their final regular season standing. Though, a team could still only fall one spot in lottery position.

In 2014, additional changes were implemented for the lottery to reflect the competitive balance of the league, with more balanced odds being introduced in 2015 and separate draws in 2016 for the top three positions (as opposed to just for the top overall pick), allowing the league's worst regular season performer to slip as low as fourth overall (as opposed to just second overall under the prior regime).  

For the first time in five years, the top pick went to the statistical favorite. The win provides Toronto with their first top overall pick since selecting Wendel Clark in the 1985 Draft, snapping the Edmonton Oilers streak of selecting first in four of the past six drafts (Taylor Hall 2010, Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 2011, Nail Yakupov 2012, Connor McDavid 2015).

Adding to the excitement, the Winnipeg Jets (7.5%) and Columbus Blue Jackets (9.5%) snagged 2nd and 3rd spots, leapfrogging statistical favorites Edmonton and Vancouver. The chart below shows final draft position by team with accompanying odds of selecting first, second or third overall, along with their most likely seeding in the lottery.

Draft Position 1st Pick    2nd Pick    3rd Pick    Likely Pick
1. Toronto  
20.0%
17.5%
15.0%
   4th (47.5%)
2. Winnipeg
7.5%
7.8%
8.1%
   7th (39.3%)
3. Columbus
9.5%
9.7%
9.8%
   6th (33.2%)
4. Edmonton
13.5%
13.1%
12.5%
   4th (35.2%)
5. Vancouver
11.5%
11.4%
11.3%
   5th (37.8%)
6. Calgary
8.5%
8.8%
9.0%
   6th (35.5%)
7. Arizona
6.5%
6.9%
7.2%
   8th (39.1%)
8. Buffalo
6.0%
6.4%
6.8%
   8th (39.2%)
9. Montreal
5.0%
5.4%
5.8%
   9th (51.8%)
10. Colorado
3.5%
3.8%
4.2%
  10th (64%)
11. New Jersey       
3.0%
3.3%
3.6%
   11th (73.6%)
12. Ottawa
2.5%
2.7%
3.0%
   12th (82.3%)
13. Carolina
2.0%
2.2%
2.5%
   13th (90.1%)
14. Boston
1.0%
1.1%
1.3%
   14th (96.6%)

Per HockeyViz math wiz Micah Blake McCurdy, the lowest seven finishers (i.e., 24th to 30th overall) are more likely to fall one spot in the draft than to move up under the current draft lottery mechanism.

Remaining NHL Entry Draft positions are set after the playoffs with the Stanley Cup champion and runner-up picking 30th and 29th, respectively. Conference finalists (28th, 27th) as well as division winners and wildcard teams (26th through 15th) are then ordered among their respective subgroup based on regular season standings, positioning teams with better regular season records to pick later than their peers.

* See also 2015 NHL Draft Lottery Results.
* See also 2014 NHL Draft Lottery Results.
* See also 2013 NHL Draft Lottery Results.
* See also 2012 NHL Draft Lottery Results.
* See also 2011 NHL Draft Lottery Results.
* See also 2010 NHL Draft Lottery Results.
* See also 2009 NHL Draft Lottery Results.

Today In NHL History - Kirk McLean's Game 7 Save

On April 30th in 1994, Vancouver Canucks goalie Kirk McLean denied Calgary Flames forward Robert Reichel of an overtime open net opportunity in Game 7 of the 1994 playoffs' opening round, in what is now known in Canucks circles simply as 'The Save'.
The spectacular save set the stage for Pavel Bure's double overtime series winner, considered by many as the Greatest Moment in Canucks History, capping the Canucks improbable 3-1 series deficit comeback with three consecutive overtime wins against the Flames and igniting their Cinderella run to Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Highlights from this historic Canucks Game 7 can be viewed below.
That's today in NHL history.

* See also Canucks Game 7 Overtime & Stanley Cup Finals.
* See also NHL Stanley Cup Playoff Game 7 History.

Today In NHL History - Steve Smith's Own Goal

On April 30th in 1986, rookie defenseman Steve Smith of the Edmonton Oilers accidentally played the puck off of goalie Grant Fuhr and scored on his own goal, putting the Calgary Flames ahead 3-2 in the third period of Game 7 of the Battle of Alberta Smyth Division Finals.
Smith's 23rd birthday blooper held up as the winner and Calgary took the series 4-3. The Flames would eventually advance to the Stanley Cup Finals only to lose to the Montreal Canadiens in five games.

That's today in NHL history.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Today In NHL History - Roger Neilson Surrenders

On April 29th in 1982, Vancouver Canucks head coach Roger Neilson surrendered to referee Bob Myers during Game 2 of the Campbell Conference Finals against the Chicago Blackhawks in protest of poor officiating.

Stymied by seemingly unjustified penalties, Tiger Williams suggested throwing all of the sticks on the ice. Coach Neilson replied, "No, I've done that before, let's surrender". And with that, a white towel was raised on the end of a stick for all to see and Towel Power was born.

Neilson was tossed and the Canucks lost the game 4-1. They went on to win the series against the Blackhawks by the same margin, advancing to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in franchise history.

Some 29 years later the Vancouver Canucks unveiled an 800 pound bronze sculpture by Norm Williams outside of the coincidentally named Rogers Arena, memorializing Neilson's historic stand that inspired a team and a tradition.

That's today in NHL history.

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Today In NHL History - Dale Hunter Hits Turgeon

On April 28th in 1993, Washington Capitals forward Dale Hunter delivered a late shoulder-separating hit on New York Islanders center Pierre Turgeon after the Lady Byng recipient converted Hunter's defensive-end turnover for the Isles 5th goal in Game 6 of the Patrick Division Semifinal.
Witnessing the foul firsthand at Nassau Coliseum, the newly appointed Commissioner Gary Bettman assessed a 21 game suspension costing Hunter $150,000, one-quarter of his $600,000 annual salary. New York beat Washington that night by a score of 5-3 to win the series 4-2.

That's today in NHL history.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

NHL Playoff Seeding And Re-Seeding Rules

With the opening round of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs in the books, the list of Stanley Cup suitors has officially been halved from sixteen teams to a remaining eight. The next question is who plays who in the next round, and why.

The NHL relies on reseeding to pair opponents beyond the postseason's preliminary round. This process sets top teams in each divisional bracket against bottom dwellers and matches middlemen against each other. Winners from each of the four divisional brackets battle in their respective Conference Final, with victors skating in the Stanley Cup Final.

Home ice advantage in each best-of-seven series belongs to the team with the most regular season points. When teams have the same number of regular season points, tiebreaker rules are employed.

The beauty of reseeding is it rewards regular season strength. Underdogs never shed their skin, forced to play through higher finishing teams to advance, whereas top dogs always enjoy an extra game at home. In short, regular season records position playoff teams back where they belong.

So yes, the regular season does count for something.

* See also NHL Tiebreaker Rules and Playoff Seeding.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

NHL Consecutive Stanley Cup Wins

Since the Stanley Cup was dedicated to NHL's top team in 1926, only seven franchises (Montreal Canadiens, Detroit Red Wings, Toronto Maple Leafs, Philadelphia Flyers, New York Islanders, Edmonton Oilers, Pittsburgh Penguins) have successfully defended their title and won the Stanley Cup in consecutive years.

The record for consecutive Stanley Cup wins by the same club is five (Montreal 1956-1957-1958-1969-1960) with two teams managing four straight wins (Montreal 1976-1977-1978-1979, New York Islanders 1980-1981-1982-1983), one team duplicating three year streaks (Toronto 1947-1948-1949 & 1962-1963-1964), and four squads posting one or more pairs (Detroit 1936-1937 & 1954-1955 & 1997-1998, Philadelphia 1974-1975, Edmonton 1984-1985 & 1987-1988, Pittsburgh 1991-1992).

The charts below describe these streaks by team, years, and vice versa.

Team                  Years
Montreal 1930-1931 (2), 1956-1957-1958-1959-1960 (5),

1965-1966 (2), 1968-1969 (2), 1976-1977-1978-1979 (4)
Detroit 1936-1937 (2), 1954-1955 (2), 1997-1998 (2)
Toronto 1947-1948-1949 (3), 1962-1963-1964 (3)
Philadelphia 1974-1975 (2)
New York** 1980-1981-1982-1983 (4)
Edmonton 1984-1985 (2), 1987-1988 (2)
Pittsburgh 1991-1992 (2)

Years                  Team
1930-1931 Montreal
1936-1937 Detroit
1947-1949 Toronto
1954-1955 Detroit
1956-1960 Montreal
1962-1964 Toronto
1965-1966 Montreal
1968-1969 Montreal
1974-1975 Philadelphia
1976-1979 Montreal 
1980-1983 New York**   
1984-1985 Edmonton     
1987-1988 Edmonton
1991-1992 Pittsburgh
1997-1998 Detroit

** New York Islanders

Detroit was the last team to appear in consecutive Stanley Cup Finals (2008, 2009) when they rematched against Pittsburgh. Unfortunately for Detroit, they failed to defend their title. Fortunately for Pittsburgh, they spared themselves the shame of losing in consecutive Cup Finals.

With the defending Stanley Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks being ousted last night by the St. Louis Blues in the preliminary round of this year's postseason, there will not be a repeat winner this year.


* See also NHL Consecutive Stanley Cup Losses.
* See also NHL Consecutive Stanley Cup Rematches.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Today In NHL History - Carcillo Fights Talbot

On April 25th in 2009, Pittsburgh Penguins forward Maxime Talbot challenged Philadelphia Flyers tough guy Daniel Carcillo to a scrap down 3-0 in the second period of Game 6 of the Conference Quarterfinals.

Carcillo won the fight but Pittsburgh stole the momentum responding with five unanswered goals to win the game 5-3, clinch the series 4-2 and eventually hoist the Stanley Cup seven weeks later. Though some discredit the fight as a turning point, Talbot's silencing was golden.

On July 1, 2011, the Flyers parted ways with Carcillo and signed Talbot. Carcillo took a one year $750,000 deal with the Chicago Blackhawks. Talbot earned a five year $8.75m deal with the Flyers.


That's today in NHL history.

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Today In NHL History - Alan Eagleson

On April 24th in 1933, Robert Alan Eagleson was born in St. Catherines, Ontario. Once considered the most powerful man in hockey, Eagleson's reputation was destroyed and person imprisoned when his fraudulent ways towards his colleagues and clients were revealed.

Starting out as a player agent before pioneering the NHLPA and international tournaments among professionals (1972 Summit Series, 1976 Canada Cup), the NHL icon was enshrined into the Hockey Hall of Fame and appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada in 1989 only to have both honors stripped nine years later upon cross border convictions.

The unraveling originated with articles penned by player agents Ritch Winter and Ron Salcer, and Eagle-Tribune sports editor Russ Conway. Allegations of embezzlement, colluding to repress player salaries, misrepresenting player negotiations, and skimming disability funds resulted in disbarment as a lawyer, U.S. courts taking his money ($700,000) and Canada's his freedom (18 month sentence of which he served six), as described in Conway's 'Game Misconduct'.

That's today in NHL history.