Tankin’ For Dahlin: The Race

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There you have it folks. The last week of activities in the 2017-2018 NHL season is about to start and it’s a six horse race… to the bottom. The grand prize? A Swedish defenseman by the name of Rasmus Dahlin, who is often compared to former Detroit Red Wings legend Nicklas Lindström. All things considered, it’s not a bad prize for finishing near the bottom of the standings for having a season of misery, isn’t it?

As the NHL has released the odds of picking first overall in its draft lottery, teams are now jostling for position in hope to get the better draft picks comes June in Dallas. Teams looking to improve are looking at those odds closely, and all are dreaming of picking first overall and land a franchise player. Those odds are as follows:

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With a week left to the regular season, it has now become a six-teams race to the finish and anyone can get that elusive first overall pick. Here are the NHL standings for mediocrity prior to Friday’s games:

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Individual Teams Schedule Remaining

Let’s take a look at the remaining schedule for those six teams, shall we? In order, from top to bottom…

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With four (4) games remaining, the Detroit Red Wings will be playing three (3) home games and one (1) on the road. Three of the four teams they will be facing are out of the playoffs’ race, with only the Columbus Blue Jackets (3rd in the Metropolitan division) being playoffs’ bound.

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The Montreal Canadiens will finish the season playing five (5) games in eight (8) nights. All but one team (Detroit) are playoffs’ teams and three (3) of those games will be on the road. That’s a tough schedule ahead of Claude Julien‘s team.

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Winners of three consecutive games, the Vancouver Canucks have been playing some better hockey as of late. They will be at home for three (3) more games before finishing the season in Edmonton against the Oilers. Columbus and the Los Angeles Kings are fighting for a playoffs’ spot but both the Arizona Coyotes and the Oilers are out of contention.

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The Ottawa Senators needed overtime to finally end a six-game losing streak last night against the Florida Panthers. That is rather mind-boggling for a team that finished in the final four in last year’s playoffs, and for a team that’s healthy as we speak. It must be full “tank mode” in Ottawa. They have two very winnable games against Detroit and Buffalo, but Winnipeg, Pittsburgh and Boston won’t be a walk in the park for the Sens down the stretch.

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Symbol of mediocrity year after year, the Arizona Coyotes will once again be in the hunt for another good draft year. The St. Louis Blues and the Anaheim Ducks occupy the two Wild Card spots in the Western Conference, while the Calgary Flames and the Canucks are out of the race. Two games at home, two on the road for the desert dogs.

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Ah the Buffalo Sabres… every year is supposed to be the year when they get out of the basement and yet, here they are again. Not an easy schedule to end the season either in Buffalo as they will have to square off against the likes of the Nashville Predators, the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Florida Panthers (all on the road), with only the Senators as a bit of a reprieve at home.

So here you have it folks. Place your bets and see where the chips land after the dust settles comes April 8th, when it’s all set and done and the final standings are finalized. What will the Habs’ draft odds be when the seasons is all played out? Your guess is as good as mine, but if I were a betting man (which I’m not), I’d say that Marc Bergevin‘s team should finish in the bottom-five in the NHL. Sad and disappointing for sure, but with the team having eight (8) picks in the first four (4) rounds (including four in the second round), and with the possibility of adding one more if the LA Kings make the playoffs, finishing lower means better choices at the draft table… or the possibility of trading up to get an even better one. Try to enjoy this final week folks, as that’s the last you’ll see of this year’s edition of the Canadiens… thank goodness for that! Go Habs Go!

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Canucks and Habs 2016: False Report

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For the sake of sensation, readership, listenership or worse, filling an agenda against a General Manager whom some can’t stand and want fired, there are individuals both in the media and amongst a fan base who will take a rumour and make it sound like a fact. Why? Because it fits their agenda when they have an axe to grind, and/or it makes for good publicity for them.

A typical example of that came out this past week when Elliott Friedman, in his 31 Thoughts: The Podcast, made the following statement:

“There was a chance that the Canucks would get P.K. Subban but the problem was that Pierre-Luc Dubois was not going to fall to Vancouver’s pick, because Montreal knew that Columbus was going to take him. If Montreal believed that Dubois was going to be available at five, P.K. Subban could have been a Vancouver Canucks.”

That’s all Friedman said on the podcast. Well someone, somewhere – including danslescoulisses.com – brought back a Friedman article from June 24, 2016 and presented it as current. In the translation, they insinuate that Marc Bergevin declined an offer from Canucks’ GM Jim Benning which would have included Bo Horvat, Chris Tanev and the fifth overall pick for Subban. It didn’t take more for the vultures to take this false news and run with it and unfortunately, because they presented it as facts, people believed it.

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However, as few reporters do in today’s day and age, someone by the name of Jeff Veillemette went straight to the source and pulled out Friedman’s 2016 30 Thoughts.

You see the difference? There is no way that Benning would be crazy enough to offer that package for Subban and Bergevin being stupid enough to decline it. If anything, it might be what the Canadiens were asking the Canucks for Subban, had Dubois fallen to number five overall… but I’m convinced that Vancouver wouldn’t have done it.

The morale of the story is that before jumping to conclusions, get to the source folks and beware of those who have a #FireBergevin hashtag in their tweets. Chances are that they will believe anything and everything, even twisting things to make them fit their agenda, and they will present them as facts. Now if someone brings this up again, you can point them to this article. Go Habs Go!