Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Toronto's futile playoff push

It is just far-fetched enough in this crazy, tumultuous, and controversial Maple Leafs season that making the playoffs no is longer out of the question.

Actually, with all that has gone on, a near calendar of calamity, the Leafs may be just astonishing enough to finish eighth in the Eastern Conference.
I suppose it depends how you define "impossible."

From a small piece I put together for today's newspaper on the chances Toronto can make the playoffs:
Currently in 12th spot in the NHL's Eastern Conference with 68 points in 67 games, the Leafs are on pace for 83 points this season, eight fewer than when they placed ninth last year and missed the playoffs. The team needs an 11-3-1 record in its final 15 games to reach last season's 91 points.

Even in light of the team's recent 6-1-1 hot streak, online number crunchers agree it's incredibly unlikely Toronto would qualify for the postseason this year.
In other words, the Leafs would have to finish the year on a 17-4-2 run to reach last year's non-playoff point total.

According to three different probability sites, Toronto has somewhere between a 3- and 6-per-cent chance of making the playoffs.

sportsclubstats.com: 6.5%
playoffstatus.com: 6%
behindthenet.ca: 3.6%

The troubling part, if you're a Leafs fan? Sportsclubstats reports that Toronto has a greater chance of making the playoffs than of finishing in dead last in the conference.

The chances they get Steven Stamkos are shrinking by the win.


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14 Comments:

At 1:22 PM, March 04, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whatever little credibility that piece had was shot when he suggested that Toronto could meet Montreal in the playoffs. Really. Are the Leafs going to surge to fifth place Steve?
Montreal isn't going to finish first overall in the east. What a stupid column.

 
At 1:28 PM, March 04, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is one Leaf fan that is gunning for a better draft position than making the playoffs. Yes, heresy indeed, revoke my fan club membership, my public stoning at Yonge & Dundas Square, etc, etc, etc...

I don't care what anyone else thinks, this "charade" has gone on for too many years already, this team needs to rebuild with youth and draft picks and it needs to do it NOW! Anyone else still clinging to making the playoffs and then pulling a Cinderella is smoking the same crap that Simmons is...

 
At 1:33 PM, March 04, 2008, Anonymous PPP said...

This is one Leaf fan that is gunning for a better draft position than making the playoffs. Yes, heresy indeed, revoke my fan club membership, my public stoning at Yonge & Dundas Square, etc, etc, etc...

If you think you're alone then you should talk to more Leaf fans.

The good news is that Uncle Cliff knows that this is just a typical, pressure-free surge and he's still going to ban Kubina to Peoria or Columbus and he'll tear down the team this summer.

James, thanks for the last note about the odds of finishing last. Luckily, the Leafs are going to win the draft lottery and draft first anyway ;)

 
At 1:35 PM, March 04, 2008, Blogger James Mirtle said...

That's also incredibly unlikely!

 
At 1:53 PM, March 04, 2008, Anonymous David Johnson said...

If the teams play their remaining 14/15/16 games like their past 14/15/16 games Pittsburgh, Montreal, New Jersey, Boston and the NY Rangers all easily make the playoffs. Positions 6 through 11 would look like this:

6. 92 Ottawa
7. 90 Buffalo
8. 90 Carolina (would get 3rd seed)
9. 88 Toronto
10. 87 Philadelphia
11. 87 Washington

For Toronto to make the playoffs they need two of Philadelphia, Ottawa and Buffalo to slump and Toronto to continue to play as good as they have. It won't be easy but it is certainly within the realm of possibilities. In Toronto's favour are that they play Buffalo 3 times and Philadelphia and Ottawa twice. They also have 3 games against Boston so they can really do some damage against the teams they need to catch if they can continue to play well.

 
At 2:07 PM, March 04, 2008, Blogger Down Goes Brown said...

What a sad commentary on the current Leafs roster that most fans expect them to surge up the standings, then fall short of the playoffs.

Translation: we think they're a decent team and will show it when the pressure is off, but when the games are meaningful they'll collapse as always.

Please blow it up Cliff. All of it.

 
At 2:09 PM, March 04, 2008, Blogger saskhab said...

Whatever little credibility that piece had was shot when he suggested that Toronto could meet Montreal in the playoffs. Really. Are the Leafs going to surge to fifth place Steve?
Montreal isn't going to finish first overall in the east. What a stupid column.

It's true. Montreal is going to finish in 13th... right, James? ;)

 
At 2:15 PM, March 04, 2008, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has to be one of the most depressing seasons in recent memory for Leaf fans. The team couldn't win games when it needed them and now can't seem to get losing right. Only this time its really only 2 players (Toskala and Sundin) and a coach auditioning for next season which is keeping them from losing.

Once again the team is winning in pressure-free games but pretending that in fact they are under the gun. I hope the team lets up once they lose 3 more games and can no longer reach the 92 point level. Odds are the players are too dumb to do the math and will only see that they still are only 5 or 6 points out of 8th spot.

It wouldn't hurt for Cliff Fletcher to drop the ocassional bomb through the media to take the wind out of the sails of this group. Though this misguided group of players seem to have a siege mentality and may rally around any further threats.

I just want to vomit every time I see another rookie mistake from our millionaire defensemen. The end of the season can't come to soon for me.

 
At 2:51 PM, March 04, 2008, Blogger BDH said...

Husband?! What was all that "one in a million" talk?

 
At 2:59 PM, March 04, 2008, Blogger Down Goes Brown said...

Though this misguided group of players seem to have a siege mentality and may rally around any further threats.

Don't worry. Soon enough, some third-liner will suffer a minor injury, allowing McCabe et al to play the "If only we were healthy!" card and give themselves the rest of the season off.

 
At 3:26 PM, March 04, 2008, Blogger Art Vandelay said...

In Toronto's favour are that they play Buffalo 3 times and Philadelphia and Ottawa twice. They also have 3 games against Boston so they can really do some damage against the teams they need to catch if they can continue to play well.

/chortle

 
At 3:38 PM, March 04, 2008, Blogger MF37 said...

Is anyone really surprised by any of this? And by "this" I mean your choice of: another meaningless late season surge by the Leafs, Steve Simmons writing a goofy column, the Leafs' shot at a high-draft pick disappearing, the club citing injuries for another failed year, Leaf fan frustration...the only thing missing is a mumbled vote of confidence from JFJ.

Currently, the Leafs have about a 5% chance of making the post season and a 4.7% chance of of winning the draft lottery (a "win" that would give them the third overall pick).

This may be the only time that Raycroft is the right answer (unless the question involves sleeping on the bench, exploding gloves, or anything to do with waivers).

 
At 4:47 PM, March 04, 2008, Anonymous penaltyshots.ca said...

Raycroft is definately one answer for this team. If they are rebuilding one of the first things they should look at is a capable backup. Raycroft's numbers:
17 GP, .868 SV%, 4.07 GAA

My best guess is that these numbers cost the Leafs between 4 and 10 points, or their chance at the playoffs.

 
At 5:32 PM, March 04, 2008, Blogger sager said...

Did anyone see before the Capitals game last Saturday when Cassie Campbell reported that "there was talk" Raycroft was going to start?

Then they realized it was March 1, not April 1.

 

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