Off The Hook
The Leafs were finally 'mathematically' eliminated over the long weekend. That's as eliminated as you can get. Roll the credits - the horror movie villian has finally been extinguished. So long Chucky. So long Jason Voorhees. So long Teen Wolf, Frankenstein (actually, Frankenstein's monster), and all you slow but persistent zombies from Night of the Living Dead.
Red Fisher has been the beat writer for the Montreal Canadiens for 50 seasons. Mike Boone wrote a nice tribute/roast. If you haven't read them already, I implore you to read Fisher's series on his top 10 memorable moments and top 10 Canadiens while the articles are still available.
Many, including Jack Todd, have been wondering why David Aebischer has started three of the past four games. Consensus seems to be that Gainey has been coaching like a GM and is giving his pricier acquisition undeserved icetime.
Al Strachan has a theory that Aebischer allows the team to produce more offense. Granted, the Habs have produced 3.57 goals per game in the seven games Aebischer has started and only 2.75 in front of Huet. That's probably because the team has been relatively healthy, has played well lately, and has faced softer opponents.
For the moment let's pretend Al is right and Aebischer somehow provides that extra 0.82 goals per game. While we're on the topic of goal differential, how about we have a look at the team's goals against average with each netminder. After all, in addition to their offensive duties, goalies might have something to do with actually stopping goals too. With Huet, the team GAA is 2.09. With Aebischer it is 3.71. Aebischer's impressive offensive production doesn't come close to making up for his goaltending inadequacies. Ergo, start Huet, Bob.
Betbrain.com provides an amalgamation of odds from a number of bookkeepers. I made a copy of their Stanley Cup playoff odds back on Sept. 21:
Did anyone out there have the foresight to grab Buffalo at 150-1? Wow.
Pet peeve/Grammar Nazi rant OTD: It is playoff 'berth,' not 'birth.' I realize there is clinching involved in both, hence the confusion. Sorry, but I find phrases like 'Rangers Nail Down Birth' quite disturbing.