Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Shaving Teams from the Playoff Pool

Since I last decided to eliminate some teams from the online selection sheet on, we've seen a few more official eliminations, including a few in the Western Conference on Tuesday night. I thought that if you were reading a blog, you would want another leg up on planning out your playoff pool strategy. That's just what I am here to do for you... all of this for a $10 entry fee. How can you possibly go wrong?

We'll start in the East, where there is only one elimination left to decide in a game of musical chairs with four teams. Atlanta was the last team to be officially eliminated in the East, falling out of the race. Zach Bogosian and his Thrashers will have to wait another year to get his first taste of the playoffs, which he is definitely bound for in his career. The Thrashers are growing a good core, despite the loss of Ilya Kovalchuk to the Devils before the deadline, but you can now scratch them from consideration in 2010.

The Ducks could not get enough under their belt after the trade deadline after shoring up their blueline with guys like Lubomir Visnovsky. Scott Niedermayer and his crew will have a summer to reflect on what went wrong, as they were eliminated from the playoffs on Tuesday night, when Colorado clinched their playoff spot. The Ducks had a pretty good chance at making the playoffs this year, but some late injuries to Ryan Getzlaf and Jonas Hiller really put the team behind the 8-ball with only a few weeks to go.

2009's playoff darlings, the St. Louis Blues, made a good run in the second half of the season, but it wasn't a great run. The Blues were in the mix for quite a while, but Chris Mason and company didn't have control of their own fate down the stretch, thanks to a mediocre start and middle of the season. This will be the fourth time in the last five years that the St. Louis Blues fail to make the playoffs, so it isn't like they will be terribly missed in the fantasy sense, but I'm sure there are a lot of Blues fans thinking its only a matter of time before they are a true impact team in the league.

Finally, the closest team to making it in the West, but falling short, is the Calgary Flames, who needed the Avalanche to not pick up the full two points against the Canucks on Tuesday night, but not having control of their own fate will allow for those sort of things to happen. The Flames have been a staple of the Western Conference playoffs for my pools in the past few years, so it will be odd not having Jarome Iginla or Miikka Kiprusoff manning the top boxes in the West and since the Playoff Pool centres in Calgary, there won't be a lot of heart picks this time around, which might make the pool a lot more competitive. I'm definitely looking forward to that.

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