2008/2009 NHL Season WinsBy Ron Raymond
Sept 30th 2008
What happened to the days where you either won or lost the game? Why do we reward a lost in hockey and give the teamís one point for an overtime lost? Iíve heard all sorts of reasoning on why the NHL has adopted their current system and Iím a strong believer of rewarding skill. Some people donít like the NHL shootouts, but last time I look, the concept of sports is about scoring and players who have honed their talents should be rewarded in many facets.
If a team cannot win during a 60 minute game, then donít blame the 5 minute overtime or the shootout for the spoiler. Overtime and the shootout are now part of the game and the last time I checked, fans werenít leaving the building during the shootout and people still cheer an overtime winner.
Furthermore, handicapping NHL season wins over/unders has become even more complicated since the lockout, as you now have to consider overtime loses and basically, follow a teamís style of play. For instance, the NYR were involved in 13 overtime games last season, therefore, this tells me Tom Renney plays more for the tie then the win in the 3rd period. In fact, there are 12 teams who have played 10 or more overtime games last season and when you look at the NHL standings, the Islanders were not 35-38-9, they were 35-47 SU.
Here are the NHL teams season wins over/under odds for the 2008/2009 campaign.
Rangers Total Regular Season Points
*Note: The Rangers finished with 97 points last season, but the fact Tom Renney played for 13 overtime games last season, has me leaning more towards the OVER. The Rangers never seemed to gel as a unit last season, but with Jagr, Avery and Shanahan gone, it gives the younger players a chance to step up and adding quality new players like Naslund, Zherdev and Fritsche, gives the Rangers a bit of more depth.
Senators Total Regular Season Points
*Note: The Senators started the 2007 season on a 13-1 SU run, but team chemistry and the fact they played in the Stanley Cup the year before played a major role in their collapse in the second half. Senators should eclipse the 100 point mark this season. Furthermore, new head coach Craig Hartsburg didnít want to reunite the big line of Heatley, Spezza and Alfredsson, but itís just too strong of a combination to leave out of the combination. Ottawa should eclipse the 100 point barrier this season.
Penguins Total Regular Season Points
*Note: The Penguins are going to learn the hard way, when you trade a player like George Laracques out of your line up, itís going to take a psychological effect on your teamís style of play and other teams will be running your talented players. As seen in the pre-season, the Lightningís Koci took a run at Gonchar and now Gonchar is gone for 4 to 6 months. Whoís going to protect Crosby and Malkin now? UNDER 98.5 is a 5* BEST BET play.
Lightning Total Regular Season Points
Note: I feel like I woke up in the 90ís and Barry Melrose was the head coach of the Tampa Bay Lightning. Oh wait, itís true! Just like the stock markets overreact to headlines, the Bookmakers are overreacting to trades and free agent signings in Tampa Bay. How many times have weíve seen baseball and football teams stock up on free agent signings and it affects the team chemistry in the dressing room? I donít see the Lightning getting more then 85 points this season, play the UNDER 91.5. (5 BEST BET)
Mighty Ducks Total Regular Season Points
*Note: The Ducks are a funny team; they have some good veteran players who donít know if they should continue to play or retire. Giguere is one of the top money goalies in the league, heís the Martin Brodeur of the Western Conference. The Ducks play intimidating hockey but they play in a division that has Phoenix and Los Angeles. Play UNDER 100.5. (3*)
Thrashers Total Regular Season Points
*Note: John Anderson won 4 AHL championships in 8 seasons with the Chicago Wolves and might be the right person to get Kovalchuk going on a nightly basis. The Thrasherís biggest problem has been goaltending and 79.5 points is a tough line to cap. I would pass on this team.
Bruins Total Regular Season Points
*Note: Claude Julien is one of the most underrated NHL coaches in hockey and heís won at every level. Tim Thomas is a journeyman goaltender for the Bruins and Chara is the rock on defense. Every good hockey teams starts with sound defense and the Bruins are average when it comes to team defense. Iím looking for Milan Lucic to have a breakout year for the Bruins and Iím forecasting he will be the next Cam Neely in Beantown. The Bruins finished with 94 points last season, but I look for the other division teams to have better season and 91.5 is too many points in my view. Play the UNDER.
Sabres Total Regular Season Points
*Note: The Buffalo Sabres remind me of the Oakland Aís of Baseball, they donít carry the big name players anymore, but they have enough average players that play hard and with an above average goaltender like Miller, they have a shot every night to steal a point. Sabres are caught in a tough division and UNDER 91.5 is the play here.
Flames Total Regular Season Points
*Note: The Flames will be one of the most intimidating hockey teams in the NHL, as they have Phaneuf, Iginla, Roy, Bertuzzi, Sarich, and Vandermeer who can make you pay the price on a daily basis. Not to mention some of their AHL goons who will be brought up to meet the big heavyweights. Iím telling you now, the Flames will lead the league in penalties this season, but Anaheim will be very close. The Flames will make the playoffs, but I see them more as a 6, 7 or 8 seed and 94.5 is just about right on the number. Pass on the season number.
Hurricanes Total Regular Season Points
*Note: The Hurricanes have a Stanley Cup goaltender in Cam Ward, they have a great franchise player in Eric Staal and play in the South East division. 89.5 points is not that hard of a number for the Canes to achieve, but they will have more competition from the Capitals and Lightning this season. I still like them to get over 89.5 points, more like 92 points.
Blackhawks Total Regular Season Points
*Note: Love what the new owner in Chicago is doing, heís reviving hockey in that town and they have great young talent with Toews and Kane and they will bring in new fans into the building. Huet is a funny goalie, he can be brilliant and when heís off his game, heís really off. Why else would Washington and Montreal get rid of him? Bob Gainey is a smart hockey person and he got rid of Huet for a reason. Chicago earned 88 points last season and I donít think they get more then 90 points this season. Play UNDER 94.5.
Avalanche Total Regular Season Points
*Note: The Colorado Avalanche finished the 2007/2008 campaign with 95 points last season and theyíve made some interesting moves in the off season. Peter Budaj will be their starting goaltender and look for the Avs to be a bit grittier with Darcy Tucker in the line up. Paul Stastny will be the teams leading scorer this season and look for a player like Wojtek Wolski to be the teams next 20 goals a season man! Pass on the season wins total.
Blue Jackets Total Regular Season Points
*Note: The Blue Jackets have one of the best Xís and Oís coaches in Ken Hitchcock and Pascal Leclaire turned a few heads last season with his 24-17-6 record and 2.25 goals against average. The Blue Jackets brought in R.J. Umberger in the off season, but heís still a question mark and donít put too much stock in his great playoff performance last season with the Flyers. Whoís going to score after Nash? 83.5 is a small enough number, pass.
Stars Total Regular Season Points
*Note: Hereís the thing with the Dallas Stars, they went out and got Brad Richards at the trade deadline last season. Richards was the Stanley Cup MVP in 2004, played second fiddle behind LeCavalier and St.Louis in Tampa Bay for a few years and will have a guy like Sean Avery watching his back in Dallas. If Brad Richards can reach 85 points this season, the Stars will be a tough team to beat next spring. 99.5 is a tough number and Iím going to pass.
Red Wings Total Regular Season Points
*Note: Talk about a team whoís deep in talent. In fact, talent is not even an issue on this Red Wings unit; itís the teamís health and fatigue factor which I question come March and April. Furthermore, the Red Wings play in a weak division and I donít see any team giving them a real challenge for the division. However, anytime you have a teams season total wins prediction over 100 points, you cannot over look the stretch run, as history says teams who went to the Cup finals the season before, donít normally finish strong. Therefore, consider the UNDER for the teams season wins.
Oilers Total Regular Season Points
*Note: The Oilers X factor is their two headed goalie system with Garon and Roloson. They have some exciting young talent up front with Hemsky and Gagner, but this is more of a playoff team then a season finesse teams. Each game will be a 1 or 2 goal battle and thatís why they played the least amount of overtime games (6) along with Carolina last season. Gun to my head type pick, under 93.5, but they will make the playoffs as an 8th seed.
Panthers Total Regular Season Points
*Note: The Panthers went out and got the hottest young coach in the market place in Peter DeBoer, but unfortunately, heís got nobody to score goals for his club. Thomas Vokoun will be seeing over 40 shots per game, unless DeBoer installs a bullet proof defensive system to limit the number of shots against per game. The Panthers will in the 75 to 80 points range in my view, therefore, take the UNDER 82.5.
Kings Total Regular Season Points
*Note: Ask any hockey fans who the goalie is for the LA kings and Iím predicting 2 out of 10 fans will give you the right answer. Jason Labarbera and Jonathan Bernier should get most of the work load in Los Angeles. Terry Murray returns behind the bench for the Kings and heís in a rebuilding year, therefore, play UNDER 77.5 points this season.
Wild Total Regular Season Points
*Note: Whenever you have a head coach like Jacques Lemaire behind the bench, you have a chance every game and they have a nice team in Minnesota with a great fan base. The Wild finished with 98 points last season and the bookmakers have them at 25-1 to win the Stanley Cup in í08. The Wild play in a tough division and each team with the exception of Vancouver has gotten stronger in my view. UNDER 92.5.
Canadiens Total Regular Season Points
*Note: The Montreal Canadiens come into the 2008 season with most of the momentum to win the Cup this season, as they have the next best goalie with Carey Price and have depth on every line. If thereís a line for future James Norris trophy winners, take Andrei Markov, as I predict he will have one of the best seasons of all of the Canadiens players. Markov will be the key to the Habs power play this season and look for Kovalev and Plekanec to reach the 30 goal club this season. Kovalev scored 35 in 08. OVER 99.5 (5 BEST BET)
Predators Total Regular Season Points
*Note: The Nashville Predators are a funny team to handicap. They are stuck in the Deep South and donít get much hockey exposure due to their market place. Barry Trotz has been their head coach since 1998, only Lindy Ruff has been coaching with one team the longest, as Ruffís been the Sabres bench boss since í97. Nevertheless, the Predators finished with 91 points in 2007 and they play in a weak Central division, with the exception of the Red Wings. The Books are forecasting a lesser then stellar season, as theyíve placed their season wins record at 83.5 points, which is second biggest difference behind Tampa Bay. Barry Trotz seems to know what heís doing in Nashville and I would bet on the OVER 83.5 points.
Devils Total Regular Season Points
*Note: Seems the Devils are going back into the past, as theyíve brought back Brian Rolston and Bobby Holik in the off season. Brent Sutter over achieved last season and he lacked scorers up front and they still managed with 99 points. Itís going to be interesting to see how many games Sutter will give the veteran Brodeur this season and I expect the Devils to be around the 99 point mark again this season. OVER 97.5.
Islanders Total Regular Season Points
*Note: On paper, it looks like itís going to be another long year for the Islanders and Iím not sure GM Garth Snow is rebuilding this team in the right direction. Why would they lock in a non-proven goaltender in DiPietro for 10 years and who did they get in the off season to get them goals this season? Mike Comrie and Bill Guerin were their only 20 goal scorers last season, but I do like the addition of Mark Streit. The Islanders finished with 79 points last season and the bookmakers have insulted them with a 74.5 mark this season. Pass.
Flyers Total Regular Season Points
*Note: If thereís two moves the Flyers did in the off season which I feel will bite them in the butt this season, allowing Jason Smith to sign with Ottawa was a huge mistake and letting RJ Umberger sign with Columbus will be a question mark answered in December. Smith was the veteran leadership in the room and on the ice they desperately needed and now they will see how valuable he was inside the locker room. The Flyers are stacked with a lot of young talent, but none have taken the leadership role to the next level. UNDER 94.5 is the call here.
Coyotes Total Regular Season Points
*Note: Wayne Gretzky needs to find another way to scratch his competitive itch. Trust me, Iím Canadian and love what Wayne Gretzky has done for Canadian hockey, but heís not doing the Coyotes franchise any favors by allowing himself to coach this team. Hereís an analogy I like to use in this regards; Gretzky reminds me of the person in court who want to represent himself at his own trial. If you donít have the coaching experience, then remove yourself or do your time in the lower levels like the OHL, WHL, QMJHL or the AHL. Coyotes will fall way short of the 82.5 points and take the UNDER.
Sharks Total Regular Season Points
*Note: The San Jose Sharks remind me of the Tampa Bay Lightning, they seem to put on a good face in front of the media about their coach, but the results on the ice state a whole different story. Ron Wilson had some good seasons with the Sharks, but wasnít able to push the right buttons in the playoffs to get Thornton and Cheechoo to the next level. Todd McLellan was an assistant coach with the Red Wings and Iím not a big fan of assistant coaches thrown to the wolves and are expected to lead without experience. In order to be a head coach, you must have been a leader in your prior job, not the yes man behind another leader. UNDER 102.5. (5 BEST BET)
Blues Total Regular Season Points
*Note: The St.Louis Blues are in a rebuilding phase and from all accounts are heading into the right direction. The Blues have some interesting forwards who can help this team compete for the 7th and 8th seed, but will need stellar goaltending from Manny Legacy. Everything will depend on Kariya, Boyes and Brewer staying healthy. If these players can stay in the line up, the Blues could achieve between 79 and 81 points. OVER 78.5.
Maple Leafs Total Regular Season Points
*Note: The Toronto Maple Leafs are playing in the biggest hockey market in the world and now they have a proven head coach who can win games, but can he win in the playoffs? Toronto has a good goaltender in Toskala and they were able to rebuild the dressing room and there seems to be more chemistry in the room. The Leafs donít have the high profile names on this team, but they have speed and speed kills. OVER 76.5 is one of my top plays. (5* BEST BET)
Canucks Total Regular Season Points
*Note: The Canucks are going to be rebuilding this season and the Sportsbooks agree, as theyíve put their season o/u at 85.5. The Canucks finished with 88 points last season and finished in last place in the Northwest division. The Canucks are lacking leadership on this team, as Linden and Naslund are gone and Luongo is their only shinning light. Play the UNDER 85.5. (5 BEST BET)
Capitals Total Regular Season Points
*Note: Hereís a funny line; the Caps finished with 94 points in 2007/2008 and have the most electric player in the NHL in Alexander Ovechkin. The Caps picked up a proven goalie in Jose Theodore over the summer and Nicklas Backstrom is coming off a great rookie season. Defense is my only question mark on this team, but with the offensive firepower on this team, they could afford shoot out nights. OVER 93.5 looks like an easy number for the Capitals.
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