Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Let's Look At Next Year's Flyers

Keeping in mind that the Flyers are not officially dead yet this season, I think we can all agree that running the table and getting the benefit of FIVE other teams all faltering down the stretch is extremely unlikely. So, we midas whale take a look toward the future and see what next year's squad might look like.

The Backbone

Let's start with the center position, because I think there's a pretty obvious lineup of pivots for next season. Giroux, Filppula, Couturier, and Bellemare are all basically locked in.

This was easy.

Wing Players

This is a bit trickier, and if you ask ten Flyers fans for their top eight wings you would probably get ten different answers. Let's start with the obvious ones: Voracek, Simmonds, Schenn, Raffl, and Konecny will be five of the eight. Matt Read and Dale Weise are in contention. Jordan Weal, should be elect to re-sign in Philly this summer, should have a spot reserved for him.

So what does that mean for Nick Cousins, Scott Laughton, Taylor Leier, Oskar Lindblom, German Rubtsov, and Nicolas Aube-Kubel? That's six young players that are almost unquestionably more talented than the guys Ron Hextall and Dave Hakstol will actually choose for bottom-six roles. Cousins and Leier have showed they can even play top-six minutes, and Lindblom is sneaky going to finish top-three on the team in goals next year.

My personal preference is to balance four lines that can all drive play and score. I'd like to ice four lines of decent hockey players, and it feels outrageous that saying that goes against the grain of actual professional NHL executives. I'd do something like this:


Some notes:
  • Cut a deal with Vegas where they take Scott Laughton, Michal Neuvirth, and Andrew MacDonald. They get a former first-round pick who is just about to break out (wink), they get a backup goalie on a decent contract, and they get a veteran/locker room guy/nice person who also helps them reach the cap floor.
  • If the Flyers don't re-sign Jordan Weal I'll be like 4/5 on the Mad On Line scale. It won't be like when they committed $10 million to Dale Weise instead of signing Ryan White for $1 million, but I definitely won't be happy. 
  • The Filppula trade was a slam dunk win for Ron Hextall. 
  • Oskar Lindblom should be a perfect complement to Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier. He's positionally sound and defensively responsible, he can score, and it's not like this would even constitute "throwing him into the fire" because he's playing in like the third-best league in the world right now already. 
  • I've accepted that the fourth line will be The Bellemare Line, and I'm working through how to maximize that. Including Read and Cousins (or maybe Leier?) puts some speed and skill on the ice. Maybe Weise's decent play-driving ability would help? Read-Bellemare-Weise? But then what the hell do we do with Nick Cousins? Let's just move on. 

There isn't quite as much variety on the back end, though there will certainly be some disagreements about which six players are the best unit. For me, it's these six (in these pairs):


When Provorov was drafted, I had dreams of a Provorov-Sanheim pair. All this season, I've been falling in love with the Sanheim-Morin pair. But Provorov and Gudas deserve to be the first pair, and a Sanheim-Myers pair would be among the best in the league if they develop together. 

Pairing Gostisbehere with Morin gives us two primary benefits. First, it allows the coach to shelter the two defensemen he'd most want to protect. They'd want to shelter them for completely different reasons, but they would be able to play this pairing primarily against third and fourth lines. Second, it gives you a good balance of size between your pairs. I shouldn't have to give you any "size/toughness" related information for Gudas or Morin, but the Sanheim/Myers pair stand 6'4" and 6'5" and they should both be well over 200 pounds at the start of the season. 

And, of course, Brandon Manning is the perfect seventh defenseman. Please do not direct any feedback in my direction on that point. 


It's Steve Mason. Shut the fuck up about it. 

Friday, March 24, 2017

I Fixed The NHL Again

Everyone seems to be doing a lot of whining in the hockey world. The playoff format is stupid, the divisions aren't even and that's not fair, the draft lottery is a mess and tanking is rampant, the officials are ruining the sport, the list goes on and on.

Nobody is ever going to fix the refs (in any sport), but I have a formula for the new NHL (after expansion) that erases some headaches and adds even more fun wrinkles to the league.

The Four Divisions


  • Boston
  • Buffalo
  • Montreal
  • NY Islanders
  • NY Rangers
  • Ottawa
  • Quebec City
  • Toronto


  • Carolina
  • Florida
  • Nashville
  • New Jersey
  • Philadelphia
  • Pittsburgh
  • Tampa Bay
  • Washington


  • Chicago
  • Colorado
  • Columbus
  • Dallas
  • Detroit
  • Minnesota
  • St. Louis
  • Winnipeg


  • Anaheim
  • Arizona
  • Calgary
  • Edmonton
  • Los Angeles
  • Las Vegas
  • San Jose
  • Vancouver
That leaves us with a map that looks something like this (full disclosure, I do not know where Quebec City is):

The two issues I have are we're splitting up the natural Pittsburgh/Ohio rivalry and the blossoming Chicago/St. Louis/Nashville rivalry. Those are fairly minor issues, and for this geographical thing to work we're going to live with them. Nashville is certainly more Southeast than Midwest, and Columbus is certainly the reverse. Are Philadelphia and New Jersey "southeastern" cities? Ignore that thought and let's move on!

Let's Rename The Divisions

For reasons totally unrelated to that last question I asked, we should give the divisions names that aren't strictly location-based. Let's do something that has never been done and name the divisions strictly after 90's era goalies:

Northeast - The Hasek Division
Southeast - The Brodeur/Kolzig Division (please don't make me choose)
Midwest - The Belfour Division
West - The Sean Burke Division 

In the time it took me to find a goalie to represent the West, I decided to choose Kolzig. So there you have it - three of the best goalies from the best goalie era in hockey, and one goalie who played for a long time or whatever. 

Regular Season/Playoffs

We're dumping the loser point. If you win in regulation, you get two points. If you win in the 5-minute 3-on-3 overtime, you get two points. If the game is not decided by overtime, then it is a tie and both teams get one point. Please do not direct any tweets to my attention criticizing this, because this will completely change how the last four minutes of regulation and all of overtime are played. 

The top two teams in each division receive a bye for the first round of the playoffs. Teams 3 through 6 in each division play in the first round, and (like the NFL), the bracket will be re-seeded after each round. 

So, during the regular season, there are the following incentives for winning:
  • Finish 1st or 2nd in the division and get a week or two off during the first round
  • Finish in the top 6 to make the playoffs
  • Finish as high as possible to increase your chances of home-ice advantage
The higher-seeded teams, in theory, get rewarded with their strong regular seasons by getting dealt an easier road to the conference finals. The NHL is wonky and the teams are all generally evenly matched, but there is certainly incentive to win as many games as possible during the 82-game season. 

But wait, there's more! We're stealing The Gold Plan for draft lottery seeding, and mixing it with the Bill Simmons Entertaining-As-Hell tournament. As soon as a team is eliminated from playoff contention, they begin banking points (two for a win, one for a tie) toward their Gold number. At the end of the regular season, the eight teams that miss the playoffs are seeded (one through eight) in the Gold bracket. This is a single-elimination bracket, and the winner gets the first overall pick in the upcoming draft (runner-up gets the second pick, and so on down the line). 

This season, that tournament would look something like this (keep in mind that we're short two teams from the final plan so this is just the bottom eight teams in the league):

1. Winnipeg
8. Colorado

2. Buffalo
7. Arizona

3. Dallas
6. New Jersey

4. Detroit
5. Vancouver

The Jets and Stars could try to put miserable seasons behind them and reap the reward of an impact rookie! The Sabres could continue to add to their loaded pipeline! That Detroit-Vancouver game will be super boring! Think about the home-ice advantage in a single-game setting where the stakes are potentially a real improvement in the team's roster. 

The Gold tournament starts the night before the playoffs and continues on an every-other-day basis. The whole thing only takes seven days. Does anyone really have a problem with that?

Hypothetically, What Would The Actual Playoffs Look Like This Year?

As of the morning of March 24th...

Hasek Division 
  1. NY Rangers
  2. Montreal
  3. Ottawa
  4. Toronto
  5. Boston
  6. NY Islanders
  7. Buffalo
  8. Quebec City (last place because they are French)
Kolzig Division
  1. Washington
  2. Pittsburgh
  3. Nashville
  4. Tampa Bay
  5. Carolina
  6. Philadelphia
  7. Florida
  8. New Jersey
Belfour Division
  1. Chicago
  2. Columbus
  3. Minnesota
  4. St. Louis
  5. Winnipeg
  6. Dallas
  7. Detroit
  8. Colorado
Sean Burke Division (make sure you use his full name at all times)
  1. San Jose
  2. Anaheim
  3. Edmonton
  4. Calgary
  5. Los Angeles
  6. Las Vegas (ahead of Vancouver and Arizona because those two teams stink)
  7. Vancouver
  8. Arizona

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Tracing Dave Hakstol's Postseason Runs In North Dakota

Today's food for thought:
Let's go season-by-season and see if we can find any #HakstolTrends. Hak took the UND job in 2004, and his first NCAA Tournament was the following Spring.


Notable UND players: Drew Stafford (sophomore), Travis Zajac (freshman)
Result: lost in National Championship

The Fighting [Redacted] made it all the way to the final, where they got creamed 4-1 by Denver. That Denver team was led by Paul Stastny and Matt Carle, so it was unequivocally a good season for Hakstol's rookie year.


Notable UND players: Chris Porter (junior), Stafford (junior), Zajac (sophomore), Taylor Chorney (freshman), TJ Oshie (freshman), Jonathan Toews (freshman)
Result: lost in Frozen Four

The semifinal loss came to Boston College, who had a team featuring goalie Corey Schneider, forwards Nathan Gerbe, Brian Boyle, and Stephen Gionta. It was a 6-5 final score, and I bet it's an all-time if someone can find me a copy of the game film.

Going forward though, Hakstol's big name guys are only going to get better and they'll definitely improve enough to win a cup with Oshie/Toews right?


Notable UND players: Porter (senior), Oshie (sophomore), Toews (sophomore), Chorney (sophomore), Chris Vandevelde (freshman)
Result: lost in Frozen Four

They lost to Boston College (again) in a high-scoring affair (again). This was effectively the same BC team as the previous season, and they simply overpowered UND again.


Notable UND players: Chorney (junior), Oshie (junior), Vandevelde (sophomore), Brad Malone (freshman)
Result: lost in Frozen Four

It was Boston College again, and BC scored six goals again, but this time Hakstol's Fighting Racism could muster just one goal. Toews had left for the NHL before the season started, and somehow Vandevelde wasn't able to fill his shoes.

This beatdown was especially hard to swallow because it meant Hakstol had essentially wasted his two years of Toews and three years of Oshie.


Notable UND players: Ryan Duncan (senior), Vandevelde (junior), Malone (sophomore),
Result: lost in first round

I included Duncan this season because even though I don't think he's anything close to a household name - and he currently plays in Austria - he won a Hobey Baker, his godparents are Dany Heatley's parents, and the only other names I could have included were Travis Zajac's Younger Brother, Jonathan Toews' Younger Brother, and Ron Hextall's Son. 

This team managed to qualify for the tournament and then lose in the first round to a New Hampshire team that was led by South Jersey Native James van Riemsdyk and Phil Kessel's Little Brother. 


Notable UND players: Vandevelde (senior), Malone (junior), Brett Hextall (sophomore), Corban Knight (freshman)
Result: lost in first round

The "younger brothers and future Phantoms" squad lost to Yale, of all teams. The only name that I think I recognize from their roster is Mark Arcobello. But Boston College steamrolled everyone this tournament by a total score of 24-9. Maybe the trend here is that Jerry York is a significantly better hockey coach than Dave Hakstol.


Notable UND players: Chay Genoway (senior captain), Malone (senior), Hextall (junior), Aaron Dell (sophomore), Knight (sophomore), Derek Forbort (freshman), Brock Nelson (freshman)
Result: lost in Frozen Four

Hey, some new names that you might have heard of if you're an NHL fan!

Aaaand they ran into Carl Hagelin's Michigan team and then they died. Luke Glendening and Greg Pateryn were also on that team, and they eventually lost the championship game in overtime, but it was another year of accomplishing nothing for Hakstol's Fighting Hawks (were they the Hawks yet?).


Notable UND players: Dell (junior), Knight (junior), Forbort (sophomore), Nelson (sophomore), Rocco Grimaldi (freshman)
Result: lost in regional final

Erik Haula-Nick Bjudstad-Nate Schmidt-Mark Alt. That's the core that beat Hakstol before the Frozen Four even began.

Boston College won the whole tournament again.


Notable UND players: Andrew MacWilliam (senior captain), Knight (senior), Forbort (junior), Drake Caggiula (freshman)
Result: lost in regional final

They lost to Yale. Kenny Agostino? Is he a name I recognize? That Yale team went on to win the whole thing, so I guess that's somehow a bright spot for Hakstol. 


Notable UND players: Caggiula (sophomore), Troy Stecher (freshman)
Result: lost in Frozen Four

Credit where credit is due - Hakstol led a team with only one guy who will eventually contribute in the NHL to two tournament wins before eventually losing to the team that lost to Shayne Gostisbehere's Union team. 


Notable UND players: Caggiula (junior), Stecher (sophomore), Nick Schmalz (freshman)
Result: lost in Frozen Four

Credit where credit is due - Hakstol led a team with only two guys who will eventually contribute in the NHL to two tournament wins before eventually losing to the team that lost to (Googles who was on the 2014-15 Providence hockey team) Mark Jankowski's team.

And that's it. That resume of postseason excellence got Dave Hakstol a five-year contract and a fuck-ton of money to come to Philadelphia.  

Friday, March 17, 2017

Deep Dive: Michigan vs. Oklahoma State

It's going to be a slow morning at work. I'm reeling from a rough day yesterday: Notre Dame, Virginia, Minnesota, Maryland, and Villanova all didn't cover their spreads. We need a rebound day today or we're going to be homeless by the time the first game tips on Sunday.

So, I guess, let's start at the beginning and see if we can get a read on what should be one of the most interesting games of the day: Midwest Region, (7) Michigan against (10) Oklahoma State in Indiana.

Oklahoma State

  • Let's start with something good: at 85.0 points per game, they are the third-highest scoring team among power conferences
  • But, also, something bad: at 77.8 points against per game, they are the second-worst team that qualified for the tournament (maybe even the worst, because the only team that gave up more points per game was play-in loser Wake Forest)
  • Their offensive prowess comes primarily from the fact that they are fifth in the entire country (third in the tournament) in free throw percentage and tenth in the country (eighth in the tournament) in three point percentage
  • You might worry about a team like this relying too much on threes and fouls to score, but OSU is surprisingly balanced; 31.8% of their points come from three pointers (138th out of 351 schools) and 21.7% of their points from from free throws (76th)
  • Overall, their offensive efficiency (sabermetrics) is eighth in the country and sixth among teams that qualified for the tournament
  • BUT, however, their defensive efficiency is 243rd in the country, which is worse than every tournament team except Virginia Tech and Wake Forest
  • Quick rebounding breakdown: they out-rebound opponents 36.7 to 33.2, grabbing 35.5% of available offensive rebounds (13th in the country, which is good) and 70.5% of defensive rebounds (266th, which is bad)
So that leaves us with a few questions that should really tell the whole story of today's first game. Can Michigan slow Oklahoma State's offense down at all? Can Michigan take advantage of Oklahoma State's poor defensive efficiency? Is either team going to dominate the boards? And, most importantly, where does Michigan's plane crash factor in to the game's intangibles?

Can Michigan slow Oklahoma State's offense down at all?

Short answer: maybe.
  • UM does a good job of limiting free throw attempts, limiting opponents to 10.1 free throws made (6th in the country) and 14.7 free throws attempted (12th)
  • Even when you adjust for the slower pace of play in the Big Ten, Michigan allows just 0.275 free throw attempts per field goal attempt (27th in the country, 12th among tournament teams)
  • Michigan allows the fourth-fewest three point attempts per game in the country (and the 23rd-fewest makes), which is a great sign for their hopes of slowing down OSU
  • Bad news though, that a Big Ten skew, because opponents shoot 37.8% from three against the Wolverines (305th in the country, only Wisconsin and Kansas State are worse among tournament teams)
So it seems like Michigan should be able to hold the free throw portion of Oklahoma State's offense in check. But what about from beyond the arc? What if we look at Big Ten teams that have a similar profile to Oklahoma State (score a lot, shoot three pointers well) to see how Michigan did against them?
  • Ok State: 85.0 points per game, 40.3% on threes, 9.0/22.4 3FG/game
  • Indiana: 79.7 points per game, 54.1% on threes, 8.7/22.8 3FG/game
  • Iowa: 80.2 points per game, 37.3% on threes, 8.6/23.1 3FG/game
  • Purdue: 80.1 points per game, 40.7% on threes, 9.0/22.1 3FG/game
I am absolutely floored at how well that idea played out. That's three teams (and five games) worth of data to dissect. Let's jump in:
  • 1/1: Michigan 83 @ Iowa 86 - Iowa shot 11/19 from three and 47.8% overall
  • 1/27: Indiana 60 @ Michigan 90 - Indiana shot 7/13 from three and 54.5% overall
  • 2/12: Michigan 75 @ Indiana 63 - Indiana shot 4/19 from three and 49.0% overall
  • 2/25: Purdue 70 @ Michigan 82 - Purdue shot 5/16 from three and 49.2% overall
  • 3/10: Michigan 74 @ Purdue 70 - Purdue shot 8/19 from three and 45.9% overall
That's three games that were inarguably bad for Michigan's three point defense, one that was okay, and one that was pretty good. I think those odds favor Oklahoma State, especially considering their offense is overall more efficient than any of those three teams. 

Can Michigan take advantage of Oklahoma State's poor defensive efficiency?

I mean, probably. Right? I just told you that OSU is the second-worst defense in the whole tournament. And Michigan, though they score 10 points per game less than Oklahoma State, is still a very efficient offense:

  • True shooting percentage - 120.0% (7th in the country)
  • 2FG percentage - 56.7% (8th)
  • 3FG percentage - 38.1% (44th, 19th among tournament teams)
  • Free throw percentage - 77.5% (11th)
  • Overall offensive efficiency - 1.143 (7th)
One thing that might hurt Michigan and help Oklahoma State is Michigan's general lack of getting to the foul line. They shoot just 16.6 free throws per game and 0.305 free throws per field goal attempt, which is good for third-fewest and eighth-fewest among tournament teams. Oklahoma State's defense generally gives up a TON of foul shots, but Michigan's record this season means that shouldn't really be able to take full advantage of that. 

Is either team going to dominate the boards?

First, let's look at the rosters.

Oklahoma State:
  • Jeffrey Carroll, 6'6", 28.9 minutes, 6.6 rebounds
  • Mitchell Solomon, 6'9", 19.7 minutes, 5.2 rebounds
  • Leyton Hammonds, 6'8", 22.4 minutes, 4.8 rebounds
  • Jawun Evans, 6'1", 29.0 minutes, 3.3 rebounds
  • Cameron McGriff, 6'7", 16.0 minutes, 3.1 rebounds
  • DJ Wilson, 6'10", 30.1 minutes, 5.4 rebounds
  • Derrick Walton, 6'1", 34.6 minutes, 4.7 rebounds
  • Zak Irvin, 6'6", 35.2 minutes, 4.5 rebounds
  • Moritz Wagner, 6'11", 24.0 minutes, 4.2 rebounds
  • Muhammad-Ali Abdur-Rahkman, 6'4", 30.0 minutes, 2.8 rebounds
From a pure size standpoint, you'd rather have the 6'11 and 6'10 guys who play 24 and 30 minutes per game than the 6'9 and 6'8 guys who play 20 and 22. But, as Jawun Evans and Derrick Walton will show you, rebounding isn't all about height. 
  • I mentioned before that Oklahoma State recovers 35.5% of available offensive rebounds (13th in the country) and 70.5% of defensive rebounds (266th)
  • Michigan recovers 23.2% of offensive rebounds (290th) and 72.2% of defensive rebounds (207th)
That's advantage Cowboys, who should have the advantage on their own defensive glass in addition to a sizable advantage on their offensive glass. 

Where does Michigan's plane crash factor in to the game's intangibles?

I have no doubt that they will cram this angle down our throats, but it's undeniable that Michigan has been a different team since their March 8th runway incident. They ran through the Big Ten tournament, blowing out Illinois before defeating tournament teams Purdue, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. 

In those four games (which were all 500 miles away from home in Washington DC), Michigan either shot 50% from the field or hit at least 18 free throws. In the Minnesota game, they did both. They also chucked 96 threes in those four games, and made 33 of them for a 34.3% number that actually fell below their season average of 38.1%. So, really, they should have dominated the post-plane-crash run even more than they did. 

The one thing I would worry about if I were a Michigan backer is the rebounding battle in the Minnesota and Wisconsin games. Michigan allowed 15 and then 14 offensive rebounds in those games. It's  honestly a miracle that they won either of those games, and it's a testament both to Michigan's defense and to how fucking awful the Big Ten was this year. 

Let me just repeat: Minnesota is an average rebounding team on both ends of the court (184th and 139th in the country). Wisconsin is a good rebounding team on both ends (20th and 14th). But still, 15 and then 14 offensive rebounds in back-to-back games? The worst teams in the tournament (Arkansas) and the whole country (Savannah State) allow 10.6 and 13.2 offensive rebounds against, respectively. 

Considering Oklahoma State is better on the offensive glass than anyone Michigan has played since Thanksgiving, that moves the needle a whole hell of a lot toward the black and orange. And oh by the way, that November game was against SMU, who tallied 18 offensive rebounds and still lost. 18!


Oklahoma State is getting three points. I love it. I also love their +130 moneyline. Bingo mango, fire in the hole. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Let's Go See A College Football Game

Some quick research. Distances/times are via Google Maps, flight estimates are from Philadelphia because that's what Google Flights gives me.


Home games: 9/16 (Air Force), 10/7 (Michigan State), 10/28 (Rutgers), 11/4 (Minnesota)

Airport: Detroit
Distance to stadium: 27.5 miles (30 minutes)
Flight price: less than $100 on Spirit


Home games: 9/23 (Syracuse), 9/30 (Troy), 10/14 (Auburn), 11/11 (Arkansas)

Airport: Baton Rouge
Distance to stadium: 10 miles (20 minutes)
Flight price: mid-$200's on American/Delta

Airport: New Orleans
Distance to stadium: 73 miles (70 minutes)
Flight price: low-$200's on Frontier/American/Delta

Ohio State

Home games: 9/16 (Army), 9/23 (UNLV), 10/7 (Maryland), 10/28 (Penn State), 11/11 (Michigan State), 11/18 (Illinois)

Airport: Columbus
Distance to stadium: 10 miles (20 minutes)
Flight price: high-$200's on American


Home games: 9/23 (Boston College), 10/7 (Wake Forest), 10/28 (Georgia Tech), 11/11 (Florida State), 11/18 (Citadel)

Airport: Greenville
Distance to stadium: 35 miles (55 minutes)
Flight price: high-$200's on American


Home games: 9/30 (Colorado), 10/21 (Oregon), 11/11 (Arizona State)

Airport: LAX
Distance to stadium: 29 miles (60 minutes)
Flight price: low-$300's on Spirit, mid-$300's on Delta/American


Home games: 9/16 (Colorado State), 9/30 (Ole Miss), 10/14 (Arkansas), 10/21 (Tennessee), 11/4 (LSU), 11/18 (Mercer)

Airport: Birmingham
Distance to stadium: 63 miles (60 minutes)
Flight price: mid-$300's on American


Home games: 9/23 (UMass), 9/30 (Georgia), 10/14 (South Carolina), 11/4 (Southern Miss), 11/19 (LSU)

Airport: McGhee Tyson Airport (Knoxville)
Distance to stadium: 13 miles (25 minutes)
Flight price: mid-$300's on United, high-$400's on American


Home games: 9/30 (Northwestern), 10/14 (Purdue), 10/21 (Maryland), 11/11 (Iowa), 11/18 (Michigan)

Airport: Madison
Distance to stadium: 8 miles (25 minutes)
Flight price: high-$300's on American/Delta


Home games: 10/7 (Kansas State), 10/14 (Oklahoma**), 10/21 (Oklahoma State), 11/11 (Kansas)

Airport: Austin
Distance to stadium: 10 miles (30 minutes)
Flight price: low-$400's on American/United

**Game is being played in Dallas at the Cotton Bowl, which is 24 miles/35 minutes from DFW Airport. Flights are currently in the mid-$300's for that weekend.

I didn't look at schedules for the rest of my list because the flights are all either super expensive or there isn't a convenient airport close to the stadium. Here are some other options though...


Airport: Gainesville
Distance to stadium: 6 miles (20 minutes)
Flight price: mid-$400's on American/Delta


Airport: Columbus, GA
Distance to stadium: 41 miles (60 minutes)
Flight price: mid-$400's on Delta


Airport: Waco
Distance to stadium: 8 miles (15 minutes)
Flight price: high-$400's on American

Florida State

Airport: Tallahassee
Distance to stadium: 6 miles (15 minutes)
Flight price: low-$500's on American/Delta

Texas A&M

Airport: Easterwood (College Station)
Distance to stadium: 3 miles (10 minutes)
Flight price: high-$500's on American, low-$600's on United

Airport: Houston (George Bush)
Distance to stadium: 90 miles (100 minutes)
Flight price: high-$200's on United


Airport: Eugene
Distance to stadium: 12 miles (25 minutes)
Flight price: low-$600's on United/American

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

The Flyers Are Not Dead

Trade deadline day in Philadelphia is going to be a stressful day for Flyers Twitter. It seems like the majority of the people in this hypothetical locker room are ready to sell everything that isn't nailed down, limp to the finish line of the season, and try to retool (or rebuild the whole thing from scratch).

Flyers Twitter can snowball sometimes, and it can be an enormous echo chamber. "This season is lost" seems to be universally understood.

But then Bill Melzter posted him daily Meltzer's Musings column. And, uh, guys...

The Rangers have clearly locked up the first Wild Card spot in the East. But that second spot is very much up for grabs. If we ignore current Atlantic Division representatives Ottawa (72 points, 59.0 points percentage) and Boston (72 points, 57.1%), here are the points percentages of the teams in contention for the wild card:
  • NY Islanders - 55.7%
  • Toronto - 55.6%
  • Florida - 54.8%
  • Philadelphia - 52.4%
  • Tampa Bay - 52.4%
  • Buffalo - 50.0%
  • New Jersey - 50.0%
There are seven teams in the hunt for that second spot, and literally none of them have more wins than losses this season. Nobody is going to run away with that second spot, and it might come down to the final day of the season. That would be Sunday, April 9th:
  • Buffalo @ Tampa, which might matter if Tampa rights the ship over the next month
  • Ottawa @ NY Islanders, which will be enormous because NY is right in the mix, and Ottawa sneaky could find themselves in the mix pretty quickly
  • Columbus @ Toronto, which will matter for the home team but not for the visitors
  • Florida @ Washington, which will matter for the visitors but not for the home team
  • New Jersey @ Detroit, which will not matter at all to anybody on the planet
  • Carolina @ Philadelphia, which hopefully matters for the Flyers
The Flyers have 19 games to make that last game worth something. Those 20 include games against the Devils (three times), Hurricanes (once, and then again on the final day), Panthers, Sabres, Maple Leafs, Bruins, Senators, and Islanders. Why couldn't they string together a couple 5- or 6-game streaks and pass the three Atlantic teams they currently trail?