Tag:Steve Tambellini
Posted on: December 20, 2011 3:24 pm
Edited on: December 20, 2011 3:40 pm
 

Teams that are out of the playoff race right now

jacketsPucks and Numbers: a weekly statistical look at what's happening around the NHL. This week: A look at the teams that are probably already out of the playoff race.

By: Adam Gretz


We are not even half way through the NHL season, but we have reached the point where a slow start in the standings is going to be too much to overcome, and you can probably already cross a handful of teams off when it comes to the playoff race. And perhaps more than just the teams you would expect.

The NHL has already seen six head coaching changes during the regular season (and who knows how many more to come), and now that Jacques Martin and Terry Murray have been let go by Montreal and Los Angeles over the past week, all eyes have shifted to Columbus and Blue Jackets head coach Scott Arniel. Earlier this week general manager Scott Howson refused to blame Columbus' brutal start, which currently has the team at the bottom of the Western Conference standings, on coaching issues.

The season started with such promise for the Blue Jackets, in large part because of the big offseason additions of Jeff Carter and James Wisniewski, players that filled two of Columbus' biggest areas of weakness -- A No. 1 center (Carter) and a big-time offensive defenseman (Wisniewski). Unfortunately, whatever optimism that might have been floating around the Blue Jackets fan base in the preseason was crushed almost immediately thanks to a 1-9-1 start the team hasn't been able to recover from.

The eight-game suspension to Wisniewski to start the season, as well as Carter missing extended time due to injury certainly didn't help matters, either.

Entering Tuesday's slate of games the Blue Jackets own a 9-20-4 mark, giving them a league-worst 22 points in the standings. They currently sit (again, as of Tuesday afternoon) 15 points of the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference, which is now occupied by the San Jose Sharks.

Howson was asked about whether or not the season at this point is already a lost cause, and he refused to acknowledge that, telling Aaron Portzline of the Columbus Dispatch, “I’m not going to acknowledge that, no. Strange things happen in sports. We’ve certainly dug a hole for ourselves. It's a requirement of being in pro sports to keep banging at the door, no matter what's going on. So, no, I'm not going to acknowledge that."

Strange things do happen in sports, but here's something that hasn't happened in the NHL in its current playoff format: a team overcoming a deficit the size of the one Columbus faces to make the playoffs. More on that in a minute.

Meanwhile, out in Edmonton, Oilers general manager Steve Tambellini is reportedly still of the belief that his team, which currently sits six points out of the eighth spot in the West, can still make a run at the postseason, a claim that has left even Oilers fans in disbelief.

Does either team still have much of a chance? Recent history suggests that no, they don't. I'm aware that it's not exactly an earth shattering revelation to announce a team that is 15 points out of a playoff spot at the end of December is in danger of missing the postseason, but the point here is to see how possible it is to overcome that deficit, and whether or not it's been done recently.

Some things to consider:

-- Going back to the 2000-01 season, a span of 10 full seasons, there have been 62 teams that have been more than five points out of a playoff spot on December 20 (Tuesday's date).

-- Only four of them (or a little over 6 percent) were able to overcome that deficit to qualify for the postseason: The 2010-11 Sabres (eight points), 2008-09 Blues (six points), 2007-08 Capitals (seven points) and 2007-08 Predators (nine points).

You wouldn't think that being just five points in December would be such a tall mountain to climb, but it is. And along with Columbus, that's also bad news for the Hurricanes and Islanders (both nine points out), and leaves Tampa Bay, a team that was just one game away from reaching the Stanley Cup Final last season, and Calgary (five points out) right on the line. The Ducks, another playoff team from a year ago and just one point ahead of Columbus, are 14 points out and should also be considered out of the playoff race at this point.

-- You might notice Nashville overcoming a nine-point deficit in 2007-08 as the largest number, and since 2000-01, it is. There have been 29 teams that have been 10 or more points out at this point in the season since then, and none of them have been able to come back and qualify for the playoffs.

Even worse, if you go all the way back to the 1993-94 season, the year the NHL scrapped the divisional playoff format (Adams, Patrick, Smythe, Norris) and went to its current Conference playoff format (1 vs. 8, etc.), there have been 41 teams 10 or more points back.

Not one of them qualified for the playoffs.

For a team like Columbus or Anaheim to overcome this it would be completely unheard of in the current playoff format.

Ninety-five points has typically been a good bet to get in the playoffs, or at the very least, still be in the playoff discussion during the final week of the season. For the teams mentioned above to reach that mark they would need to finish with the following records over the remainder of the season:

Columbus Blue Jackets -- (Need 73 points in 49 games): 34-10-5
Anaheim Ducks -- (Need 72 points in games 49 games): 33-10-6
Carolina Hurricanes -- (Need 69 points in 48 games): 32-11-5
New York Islanders -- (Need 69 points in 52 games): 30-13-9
Tampa Bay Lightning -- (Need 65 points in 50 games): 30-15-5
Edmonton Oilers -- (Need 64 points in 49 games): 29-15-6
Calgary Flames -- (Need 63 points in 49 games): 28-14-7

Yeah, that's asking a lot, even for Tampa Bay and Calgary. Obviously, no team is going to throw in the towel on a season, nor do I expect a general manager to publicly admit defeat (which explains Howson's comments), but for the fans? Well, there's always next season. And for others (mainly Columbus and Anaheim), there's always prospective No. 1 overall pick Nail Yakupov to look forward to.

Photo: Getty Images

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: July 26, 2011 7:43 pm
 

Khabibulin withdraws appeal, sentenced

By: Adam Gretz

Edmonton Oilers goaltender Nikolai Khabibulin was arrested for DUI last February after being pulled over in Arizona. He was issued a field sobriety test after he was stopped for going 70 MPH in a 45 MPH zone, and was facing a 30-day jail sentence as a result of a guilty verdict.

He had been in the process of appealing that decision until ultimately dropping the appeal on Tuesday, and as a result will spend 15 days in prison and another 15 days at home with an electronic monitoring device.

His agent, Mark DuBiel, told Craig Custance of the Sporting News that the appeal would have gone into the regular season and Khabibulin did not want that to happen.

Oilers general manager Steve Tambelini and Khabibulin both released statements, via the team's official website.

Said Tambellini: "The Edmonton Oilers respectfully accept the Court's order and expect Nikolai to fulfill all of his required obligations prior to Training Camp."

Khabibulin, 38, is under contract for two more years with the Oilers and carries a cap hit of $3.75 million. He signed a four-year deal with the Oilers prior to the 2009-10 season. He appeared in 47 games with Edmonton last season and finished with a 10-32-4 record to go with a .890 save percentage.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsnhl and @agretz on Twitter.

Posted on: March 8, 2011 1:31 am
Edited on: March 8, 2011 12:20 pm
 

Morning skate: Crosby's sister suffers concussion



Taylor Crosby, the sister of Pittsburgh Penguins star center Sidney Crosby, recently suffered the same injury that has kept her big brother sidelined for more than two months. 

The Toronto Star reports that 14-year-old Taylor, a goalie, was injured two weeks ago during a practice for her under-16 team at Shattuck-St. Mary’s, a prep school in Minnesota. Taylor -- shown above with Sidney, mother, Trina, and father, Troy -- has since returned to the ice.

Dr. Charles Tator, a leading expert on brain injuries in Canada, said having multiple family members suffer concussions isn't uncommon, pointing to the Lindros brothers as one example. 

“I know several families that have all had concussions,” said Tator. “We do wonder whether some families have a special susceptibility to concussion. But there’s no proof for this.”

Twelve NHL players were listed as injured with concussions on Monday and three more with “head injuries” and one with “dizziness,” according to The Toronto Star. A Pittsburgh Penguins spokesperson told the newspaper there has been no change in Sidney Crosby’s status.

The topic of concussions will be a key issue discussed at next week's GM meetings in Florida, accordng to USA TODAY.

HOLTBY BAILS OUT CAPS: As Michal Neuvirth was forced out after a period when a piece of metal got lodged in his eye, Braden Holtby was put between the pipes for the Washington Caps on Monday. 

No pressure. Holtby -- who had gone nearly six weeks between NHL starts -- responded with a 21-save performance, not counting his three stops in the shootout as the Caps earned a 2-1 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning

The Washington Post's Katie Carrera reports that Holtby's saves just as he entered the game set the tone. 

"Right off the bat he comes in and there's a power play," Coach Bruce Boudreau said of Holtby. "I think he has three great chances. [Simone] Gagne had a fabulous chance and when he saved that you knew he was going to be on.”


Boudreau said after the game that it took some time to get the small sliver of metal -- which flew into his eye on a shot by Tampa Bay forward Nate Thompson in the first minute of the game -- out of his eye, but added  Neuvirth would be fine. 

Caps center Nicklas Backstrom, who has been playing through a broken thumb, fell on his injured hand and missed the third period. Like Neuvirth, Boudreau said Backstrom should be OK.

PHILLY DOESN'T HAVE IT EASY: The Philadelphia Flyers, losers of four in a row, seem to have the right team coming to town to end their slump. 

But maybe not. 

Sure, the Edmonton Oilers are a point away from being the worst team in the league. But they do enter Tueday's contest against the East's top team 7-3-1  7-3-0 in their last 10 games. 

The Flyers are still suffering through a bout of the flu that has ravaged the locker room. CSNPhilly.com' s Tim Panaccio reports the Flyers coach Peter Laviolette isn't using illness as an excuse, but it's not a bad explanation for Sunday's 7-0 loss to the New York Rangers.  

“If everyone is honest here and look at the [loss] as an isolated game, we had no gas,” Laviolette said during a conference call. “We had no energy. To bring them in again, the mental part of it and physical part, I just didn’t see any good it was going to do.”


The Oilers aren't exactly healthy either. Talor Hall, the first overall pick in last summer's draft, is out for the season with an injured ankle suffered in a fight last week and Ales Hemsky is out at least a few more days with a shoulder injury.

And then their GM was also nearly put in the injured reserve. The Edmonton Journal's Jim Matheson reports that Steve Tambellini was hit in the head by a piece of Plexiglas as he stood near the bench during practice on Monday. 

He wasn’t cut, but he took a wallop to his noggin and definitely was shaken up.

“That’s the hardest I’ve been hit in a long while,” said the former NHL center.


MONDAY'S RESULTS
Washington 2, Tampa Bay 1 (SO)
St. Louis 5, Columbus Blue 4 (SO)
Dallas 4, Los Angeles 3 (OT)
CBSSports.com playoff race tracker 

Photo: Getty Images
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com