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The NHL’s highest & lowest ticket prices; conference realignment’s alleged slant in West’s favor

October 8, 2014 Leave a comment

Thinking about attending an NHL game or two this season? The leading resale ticket market aggregator/data source, TiqIQ ( www.tiqiq.com ) has got your budgeting covered as they’ve gathered ticket price info from the entire NHL to show you what’s affordable, what’s not, and everything in between. Here’s what they found out:

  • The average price for an NHL ticket is currently $162.96, which is 1.29% higher than the price this time last year ($160.89)
  • We have seen over the past several years, prices from now till end of season tend to drop anywhere between 18%-29%
  • Below are the Top 5 teams with the most expensive tickets this season:
    • Leafs: $373.50
    • Canucks: $282.58
    • Blackhawks: $275.65
    • Oilers: $259.83
    • Flames: $241.18
  • The team with the lowest average price currently are the Tampa Bay Lightning at $77.21
  • The team with the biggest % increase from last season to this season is the Ducks at 75.95% ($55.23 to $95.51) and the Jets had biggest decrease at -24.16% ($206.53 to $156.64)
  • Below are a few other notable teams and their change in price from last year:
    • Rangers: -6.62% ($233.42 to $217.97)
    • Kings: +5.74% ($125.73 to $132.95)
    • Blackhawks: -13.03% ($316.94 to $275.65)
    • Islanders: +41.17% ($89.17 to $125.88)
    • Avalanche: +17.92% ($87.11 to $102.72)
To view an online spreadsheet with all the ticket data for every team in the NHL for this season and last season as well, click here (tip: you’ll need Microsoft Excel to view it) .
 Be sure to visit www.tiqiq.com for more great data like this!
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With teams from the Western Conference winning 60% of the Stanley Cup championships since the league split into Eastern and Western Conferences in 1994, does the NHL’s most recent alignment structure disadvantage Eastern Conference teams? New statistical research says Yes!

haha, suckers!

Last year, the NHL realigned its conferences and divisions. The Eastern Conference now has 16 teams, while the Western Conference has only 14. Since there still are eight playoff spots in both conferences, teams in the West have a 57% probability of making the playoffs compared to just 50% for East teams.

This imbalance raises the question of how much more difficult it will be to make the playoffs in the East. In other words: How many more points—on average—will the East’s 8th seed team need to earn than the West’s 8th seed team to make the playoffs? If this difference—called the “conference gap”—is zero, we can conclude no team is facing an unfair advantage to getting into the playoffs. If the conference gap is not zero, we can question whether the realignment is fair.

To quantify this potential gap, Stephen Pettigrew, author of the Rink Stats blog (http://rinkstats.com/), estimated the impact of realignment using a Monte Carlo simulation of the new alignment’s scheduling matrix over 10,000 simulated NHL seasons (Monte Carlo methods are a common tool for statistical researchers to simulate games and seasons in hockey and other sports).

Pettigrew’s analysis reveals that when team talent is roughly distributed evenly between the two conferences, it will require 2.74 more points on average to make the playoffs in the East than in the West. So, on average, an Eastern Conference playoff-hopeful team will need to win one or two more games than a Western Conference playoff-hopeful team.

This finding has far-reaching competitive and financial implications for the NHL. For owners, it means imbalances in the revenue earned from home playoff games. Western Conference teams will make the playoffs at higher rates than Eastern Conference teams, resulting in at least two extra games of ticket and concession sales. For players, it means playing for a Western Conference team gives them a better chance of winning the Stanley Cup in any given year since simply making it to the playoffs gives them a chance to win it all. For fans of Eastern Conference teams, it means a higher probability their season will end too soon and less of a chance that in any given year his or her team will win the Stanley Cup.

Pettigrew’s analysis is reported in the September 2014 issue of the Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports (http://www.degruyter.com/view/j/jqas), a publication of the American Statistical Association (www.amstat.org).

2nd Quadrennial Double Championship Challenge!

May 20, 2014 5 comments

cup goldWell it’s getting on in the 2014 NHL playoffs, and it’s about time to dust of the old Double Championship Challenge for it’s second quadrennial go-round. If this seems Greek to you, click here to catch up on what the 1st Quadrennial Double Championship Challenge was all about. You may recall Rich Abney walked away with a championship t-shirt and four years of bragging rights in 2010 after picking the Chicago Blackhawks’ Canadian Olympic team members to win gold and the Stanley Cup in the same season.

So let’s have at it — cast your votes on who will win this quadrennial’s crown as outright best in the world.

Here’s who’s left:

Jonathan Toews, Duncan Keith, Patrick Sharp — Chicago Blackhawks [note: Keith & Toews can repeat as back-to-back DCC champs]

Drew Doughty, Jeff Carter — Los Angeles Kings 

Martin St-Louis, Rick Nash — New York Rangers

 Carey Price, P.K. Subban — Montreal Canadiens

Here’s who’s eliminated:

Marc-Édouard Vlasic, Patrick Marleau — San Jose Sharks

Sidney Crosby, Chris Kunitz — Pittsburgh Penguins

Jay Bouwmeester, Alex Pietrangelo — St. Louis Blues

Ryan Getzlaf , Corey Perry — Anaheim Ducks

Matt Duchene — Colorado Avalanche

  Jamie Benn — Dallas Stars

Patrice Bergeron — Boston Bruins

Here’s who did not qualify: 

Roberto Luongo — Vancouver Canucks

Mike Smith — Phoenix Coyotes

Shea Weber — Nashville Predators

John Tavares — New York Islanders

And unlike 2010 when Corey Perry joined Canada’s World Championship roster after winning Olympic gold in Vancouver, there are no players or staff that are representing Canada twice in the same season this time around.

Who’s your pick? Leave a comment to let us know! Choose correctly and you’ll be eligible to win an exclusive prize from Serenity Now…The SDC Blogs.

Rules: To enter, leave a comment on this post with your name, your pick, and where you’re from. One vote only — no do-overs. Those who select correctly will be entered into a draw for the grand prize. Good luck!

 

HGFC 2011 Player Profile: Bryan Trottier

August 1, 2011 Leave a comment

This edition’s Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp player bio features former New York Islanders and Pittsburgh Penguins player/Colorado Avalanche coach, Bryan Trottier; who will be making his 4th HGFC appearance this August, and will be co-hosting the event alongside Bob Bourne.

Bryan Trottier appeared in 1,279 NHL games from 1975 to 1994. Drafted by the New York Islanders in 1974, he would go on to win the Calder Memorial Trophy as the NHL’s rookie of the year in 1975-76. He spent most of his Islander days playing on a line with Mike Bossy and fellow HGFC pro, Clark Gillies. Known as the “Trio Grande”, they were a formidable line combination. In 1980, Trottier would help the Islanders win their first of four consecutive Stanley Cups. At the dawn of the 90’s, Trottier was dealt to the Pittsburgh Penguins, where he would again collect Stanley Cups in bunches. Playing alongside Mario Lemieux and Jaromir Jagr, Trottier was instrumental in the Penguins collecting 2 consecutive championships. Trottier would briefly retire after winning his 6th Stanley Cup, and took a front office job with the New York Islanders. Trottier was lured back to the Penguins as a player for one final season in 1993-94, before retiring from his playing days for good. He stayed on with the Penguins as an assistant coach until 1997, and moved on to coach with the Colorado Avalanche in 1998; where he won his 7th and final Stanley Cup in 2001.

In international competition, Trottier suited up for Team Canada at the 1981 Canada Cup, though Canada would lose to Russia in that year’s final. Three years later, Trottier claimed US citizenship through his heritage and competed on the American roster of the 1984 Canada Cup; a move that was not received well by Canadian fans. Canada went on to beat Sweden in the finals, and the US team finished fourth.

In addition to his 7 Stanley Cup championships, Trottier

collected a sizeable bounty of individual awards over his NHL career as well, including the Art Ross Trophy as the NHL’s top scorer in 1979; the Conn Smythe Trophy as the NHL’s playoff MVP in 1980; the Hart Memorial Trophy as league MVP in 1979; and the King Clancy Memorial Trophy as the player who best exemplified leadership qualities on and off the ice and who had made a significant humanitarian contribution to his community in 1989. He appeared in 8 NHL all-star games, was the NHL’s plus/minus leader in 1979, and was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1997. His #19 was retired by the New York Islanders in 2001.

Trottier currently sits at 10th in all-time NHL playoff points (184), and 15th all-time in NHL regular season points (1,425). He is also the New York Islanders’ all-time leader in assists (853), total points (1,353), plus/minus (+470), and games played (1,123).

**HGFC Fun Factoid: Bryan Trottier suited up for the Pittsburgh Phantoms of Roller Hockey International (RHI) during the 1994 roller hockey season. In 9 games, Trottier had 9 goals, 13 assists for 22 points, as well as a +2 rating.**

Don’t miss your chance to meet and play with NHL legend Bryan Trottier at this year’s Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp!

For further information on the camp please visit http://www.hockeygreats.ca or call direct to Val 250-878-7871.

HGFC 2011 Player Profile: Theo Fleury

July 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Hi folks!

The 2011 Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp is nearly underway.  For the days leading up to this year’s event, I’m going to be sharing a player profile for each former pro that will be at this year’s camp.  all these player profiles were compiled by me (statistical and biographical info gathered from various sources), made to sound nice, and were printed in various editions of the Kelowna Daily Courier.  If you didn’t get a chance to pick up a copy, enjoy the free version!

-SDC

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This edition’s Hockey Greats Fantasy Camp player bio features former NHL star and Calgary Flames hero, Theo Fleury; who will be making his first HGFC appearance this August.

Fleury’s NHL career spanned from 1988 to 2003. Standing at 5’6” in a league full of giants, he is arguably the best “little” player to have ever played the game. He was Calgary’s 8th round pick in the 1987 NHL Entry Draft. He would go on to compete for the Colorado Avalanche, New York Rangers, and Chicago Blackhawks; but is unquestionably best remembered for his time as a member of the Calgary Flames from 1988-1999. In his rookie season with Calgary, he helped the team win its first and only Stanley Cup championship in the 1988-89 season.

Over 16 seasons, he appeared in 1,084 NHL games, and totalled 1,088 total points; averaging more than a point per game. Many older fans will recall him excitedly sliding backwards on his knees across the ice while fist-pumping, after scoring an overtime game winning goal against the Edmonton Oilers in the 1991 playoffs. He is still a prominent figure in Calgary Flames team statistic history; he is 2nd is all-time goals (364), 3rd in assists (466), 2nd in total points (830), 4th in plus/minus (+148), 3rd in power play goals (107), 1st in short-handed goals (28), 2nd in game-winning goals (53), and 1st in overtime goals (5). He was also the Flames’ team captain from 1995-1997.

**HGFC Fun Factoid: Fleury was such a popular player in Calgary that during a game in 1999, Fleury was sent off the ice to change a bloody jersey. A fan then threw his own jersey over the boards so that Fleury would not miss a shift. He put the jersey on before realizing it was autographed and handed it back. **

Internationally, he suited up for Canada at the 1991 Canada Cup, and for the 1996 World Cup. He also represented Canada twice (1998, 2002) at the Olympic Winter Games, and won the gold medal in 2002; after Canada famously defeated the United States in the final, their first Olympic hockey gold medal since 1952. Fleury would later call the Olympic victory the pinnacle of his career.

Fleury attempted an NHL comeback in 2009, after not playing in the league for 6 years. He appeared in 4 exhibition games and scored 4 points with the club, but ultimately was not included on the team’s main roster. This marked an official end to his competitive hockey career, and he has since moved on to other ventures; including writing his autobiography (entitled, “Playing With Fire”), filming a reality show pilot, public speaking appearances, starting a clothing brand, an appearance on CBC’s “Battle Of The Blades”, and running an annual charity golf tournament in Calgary that raises money for the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of Canada.

Don’t miss your chance to meet and play with NHL legend Theo Fleury at this year’s event!

For further information on the camp please visit http://www.hockeygreats.ca

Sports Shorts: Brian Burke Getting Trump-ed, Hometown Hockey Allegiances Query, Basketball Beaks, Marion Jones, and more.

December 1, 2010 5 comments

Sometimes while watching late-night hockey highlights, I’ll zone out and come to again right in the middle of NBA highlights.  As I shake the cobwebs, it’s always a mad dash to get that channel changed asap to something more worthy of my attention (so, pretty much anything else on any other channel, except more NBA highlights).  So, here are some recent sports observations…

Does Brian Burke not ever have 5 minutes to comb his hair and freshen up?  Can we give this guy a 10 minute break for a shower so he can clean up and make himself presentable?  I know it’s a hair-tearing-out environment in Toronto these days, but come on Burkey, you’re getting a little Donald Trump-ish.  I’m sure the potential pending sale of Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment isn’t helping either. 

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So the Canucks were the heavy pre-season prediction favourite to win the Stanley Cup, then they lost a few, won a few, lost a few more, and now the discussion is that this may be Alain Vigneault’s last season as Canucks coach if they don’t deliver.  Oh, predictable Vancouver bandwagon dumpings…

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If a team moves, and then a new team starts in the same city, should fans cheer for the team that used to be there (which is inherently the same group of people that left), or stay true to the city and cheer for the new one?  Example: Atlanta Flames move to Calgary, become the Calgary Flames.  Atlanta eventually incarnates the Thrashers; so should those original Atlanta Flames fans now return to the homeland and cheer for the Thrashers, or are they justified in staying Calgary fans?  Same scenario in Minnesota (North Stars to Dallas, Wild now in Minny), and Colorado (Rockies to NJ in ’82, Avalanche sprout up) in recent history.

Mitch Pollock is the inspiration for the "Mitch Pollock Made Me Hate The Calgary Flames" facebook group.

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Based purely on talent and consistency, the Detroit Red Wings are the most overall dominant team of the modern age of hockey, agreed?  From the Yzerman and Federov era to the current Zetterberg, Datsyuk, Franzen et al generation, all mixed in with a handful of Stanley Cup wins, it’s tough to argue this isn’t hockey’s version of the New York Yankees.

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The people who broke into Pat Burns’ widow’s car and stole his stuff booked themselves a one-way, non-refundable ticket to hell, did they not?  I’m still rattled at the Hall of Fame that they couldn’t do that guy the favour of waiving his mandatory waiting period or whatever so he could enter the Hall of Fame WHILE HE WAS ALIVE.  3 Jack Adams Trophies for coach of the year honors (on three different teams), and a Stanley Cup; are there deeper pre-requisites for HOF entrance? 

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I recently saw Marion Jones’ ESPN 30 for 30 special… does it say more about Marion Jones and her athletic ability that she walked on to a WNBA with very little previous basketball experience (played with UNC); or less about the WNBA, a league that is supposed to boast the best female basketball players in the world, yet people can just walk on and make their teams, as Jones has done with the Tulsa Shock?

Bye-Bye Byng, Dallas Deterioration, Jersey Originality FAIL, and the PIM Ploy.

January 31, 2010 9 comments

Is it just me, or did the Pittsburgh Penguins, Florida Panthers, Nashville Predators, and Colorado Avalanche all get lazy when it came to 3rd jersey design time?  Maybe they just had nothing at the deadline, and blindly approved blue uniforms; when blue isn’t even one of their official team colors?  Did the Predators just rip off a Maple Leafs symbol and stitch on that stupid prehistoric cat with the major incisor issue? Did Florida not notice that Chicago, Minnesota, St Louis, and Pittsburgh all already did the emblem with the symbol in the middle and team name circled around it, and that the Blues and Pens already did it with the same colors?  How many people in the NHL were asleep at the wheel here?   

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If I were the type of person who was looking for players to make my team better, why in the world would I want to be on the lookout for a player with a lot of PIM’s?  Isn’t getting penalties, sitting in the box for varying periods of time, and making your team play with a man down because of your error, and increasing the likelihood of being scored on, a bad thing?  It boggles my mind that players will get chosen over others based on this stat, because the player with high PIM’s is supposed to make the team “tougher”.  There are lots of players who play a physical style that can make a team tougher and don’t have to sit in the penalty box to show it.   I just saw a sidebar on TV that said Keith Tkachuk moved into the top 5 all-time PIM leaders with just shy of 2200.  Errm… congrats, Keith, you sat in the penalty box for 36 games worth of time.  Thanks for helping out…

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Now that Wayne Gretzky and Joe Sakic have both retired, and Pavel Datsyuk has won the trophy three years in a row, is it time to do away with the Lady Byng Award for the NHL’s most gentlemanly player?  Does anyone in the league care, or aspire to win it anymore (did they ever?)?  Like WWE did with the European and Light Heavyweight championship belts; maybe the NHL should slowly stop talking about it, never show it on camera, and very sneakily just phase it out.  In the era of the Sean Avery’s, Steve Downie’s, and Dan Carcillo’s, maybe the NHL should in contrast introduce the Johnny Knoxville Award for biggest jackass of the year; as hockey tips slightly closer to “entertainment” for the sake of selling the game in an American market, and is certainly not dissuading the behaviour.    

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Marty Turco is the most over-rated goalie in the NHL.  For a guy considered for Team Canada a few times, he really doesn’t ever get it done, does he? 

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Speaking of Dallas Stars, Mike Modano seems to be just hanging on to that spot of his (and a few other classics in the league, I might add) in Dallas, doesn’t he?  He’s earning his keep, but as that era of players seems to be drawing to a close, it’s enough to wonder how much longer he can keep from going the way of the dinosaur.  He’s always been a really good player; recently I heard him described as “the best skater I ever saw” by a former NHL’er.  For some reason, he could never keep that Captain’s “C” on his jersey.  I always secretly liked him as a player (it helped that he wears my number); but as an American, my Canadian pride refused to allow it.   

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