Help me win my hockey pool! (or at least avoid coming dead last)

Help Northern Piper earn a modicum of respect from his hockey-nut co-workers!

Every year we have an office hockey pool. I participate just for the fun of it, but rarely do well, since I don’t follow hockey. My colleagues have come to view me as a lovable bloke who subsidises their winnings each spring. I would like to change that, into a lovable bloke who actually placed respectfully in the final standings.

Draw date is a few days from now - any tips on what teams I should focus on, particular players to watch, etc.

Here’s the standings. (1 vs. 8, 2 vs 7, etc.)

1 Washington - 121
2 New Jersey - 103
3 Buffalo - 100
4 Pittsburgh - 101
5 Ottawa - 94
6 Boston - 91
7 Philadelphia - 88
8 Montreal - 88

1 San Jose - 113
2 Chicago - 112
3 Vancouver - 103
4 Phoenix - 107
5 Detroit - 102
6 Los Angeles - 101
7 Nashville - 100
8 Colorado - 95

Is it a team pool, a player pool? Lot’s of possibilities. Pittsburgh is probably better than their record implies: Malkin was injured quite a bit throughout the year.

Washington looks great, and so do both San Jose and Chicago.

If it’s a player pool, you’ll want to cluster your picks amongst just a few teams. Obviously you don’t want to pick players on teams that will be facing each other (unless it’s for the Conference Championship or the Stanley Cup).

As Leaffan noted, Washington, San Jose and Chicago all look good for a long playoff run. If you can, load up on as many players from there as you can.

As to individual players; Vancouver’s Henrik Sedin had the most points of any player this year. Sidney Crosby of Pittsburgh had the most goals (tied with Steve Stamkos, who isn’t in the playoffs.) Alex Ovechkin and Mike Green of Washington are that team’s top forward and defenseman, respectively.

Washington plays an up-tempo, balls to the wall attack system. The team scored 318 total goals this year, which is a ton for this day and age in the NHL and, in context, on a par with anything Gretzky’s Oilers did in the '80s.

I start by weighting players based on how far I think their team will go in the playoffs. Then I apply this weighting to the player’s expected PPG performance, which is difficult and highly subjective as some players are 1.5PPG during the season and total bums in the playoffs, and vice-versa. Now I have a generic preferred draft order of available players. I basically just auto-draft from this list as players are available; if I’m near the top or bottom of the draft order, I make more of a point to pick players in pairs that are likely to play on the same line (including, particularly, the power play).

Then again, so far you’ve got responses from fans of two teams that didn’t make the playoffs, so our input may be suspect. :stuck_out_tongue:

Blue Jackets?

Huh? Did someone say Blue Jackets? We are in post-season hibernation, please call back on July 1.

Speaking as a Blue Jackets fan, I believe nearly all of the playoff teams kicked our butt this year. But… if I were picking for a pool, I would follow these rules:

  1. Its always San Jose’s year. Much in the same way next year is the year for the Cubs.
  2. Defense wins championships - applies to every sport. The Caps are a fast paced scoring machine, that is going to get crushed again.
  3. Goaltending is the first step in good defense. Be wary of teams with questions in goal. I am looking at you Ottawa and Chicago.
  4. It hurts to say this, watch out for the accursed winged wheel. They are at playoff speed and they are going to roll through Phoenix.

My pick for the finals - Caps v. Wings, and the Wings in 5.

I too think the Caps will go a long way into the playoffs, so if Ovechkin is already picked, go for Niklas Backstrom (and/or Alexi Semin) before Mike Green…he’s pretty much Ovechkin’s set-up man as well as an iron man.

For the Pens, Crosby first, Malkin second. Only these 2 teams in the East should be considered first and foremost…NJ is second tier…and the rest is window dressing.

The West is IMHO, open to any team going deep…save Nashville and Colorado. The other 6 are capable of beating any other team on any given night.

Either Sedin brothers for Vancouver, but I think Vancouver will not make it out of the second round, if not the first round. (Yeah, I’m a Kings homer)

Therefore, Anze Kopitar is my darkhorse pick. [/shootingfromhip]

Awww hell, just use the last column of this table.

Thanks for the comments, everyone. I’m taking notes. And the table will be particularly helpful, Yeticus Rex - it’s a player pool, not a team pool.

How long have you been watching hockey? :smiley:

(“What do the San Jose Sharks and the Titanic have in common? In April, they both look good until they hit the ice!”)

Got me there.

They do look good, though, and they have every year since the lockout. Of course actually getting it done is a different story altogether.

Flames. Although, I live closer to the Blue Jackets.

Depending on how the selection of players goes, a good late-round pickup will be Ryan Clowe of San Jose. He’s been playing lights-out lately and I expect he’ll average a point per game in the playoffs.

So…Piper…who do you have and how are your standings?

So, an update. I’ve been meaning to come back to thank everyone for their suggestions.

Mrs Piper and I are actually looking pretty good!

What I did was pick only players from Washington, Pittsburgh, Vancouver and San José. My thinking was that those four teams looked liked they would all go a couple of rounds, and weren’t likely to meet each other in the second round. I assumed that even taking only high seeds, there would likely be at least one upset, so perhaps only three of my teams would make it to the second round. I tried to spread the players as evenly as possible, so I didn’t load up on any one team: 3 Pittsburgh, 3 San José, 2 Washington, and 2 Vancouver, including Henrik Sedin (thanks, KennerTheGreat!

So here was my list:

Letang, Kris	PIT			
Huskins, Kent	SAN					
Cooke, Matt	PIT				
[del]Bradley, Matt	WAS[/del]		
Dupuis, Pascal	PIT					
Ehrhoff, Chris	VAN					
Malhotra, Manny	SAN					
[del]Fleischmann, T.	WAS[/del]			
Boyle, Dan	SAN					
Sedin, Henrik   VAN

There are thirteen in the pool, and Mrs Piper and I are currently sitting towards the bottom, but not out of reach.

Two factors in our favour: first, none of the three teams are playing each other in round two, so theoretically we could carry three teams into round three.

Second, here’s the kicker: of the thirteen teams in our pool, only one still has all 10 players; five of us have 8 players; the remaining seven teams have 5 players or fewer. I think that means we’ve got a good chance of a respectable showing, for once.

Thanks, all!