SPNHL, Season 32: Week Three Review

TIGER IS FUCKING BACK.

That’s your pre-article anecdote.

We’re past the halfway point in the thirty second season of the SPNHL, and the playoff picture is still wide open. We’ve got teams such as Tampa Bay, Los Angeles, and Vancouver who are basically guaranteed playoff spots, but teams are still competing and making moves to secure their spots and their chances to compete for the Stanley Cup. The race in the East is extremely tight, with four teams (behind Tampa) sitting at 30 and 31 points.

We’ve seen many teams put their focus on offense and excel due to it, with the top two teams averaging over 4 goals a game. Defense and goaltending hasn’t necessarily taken a backseat either, with teams keeping their goal allowances under 3 a game. Some teams are struggling to meet these league standards (poor Edmonton, Vandoos I don’t know what to tell ya), but the overall state of the league is the most competitive it has been in numerous seasons.

We’ve focused a lot on the winners and losers per conference over the past two weeks, so let’s take a look at the playoff race now. We can make a safe assumption the Tampa has an Eastern conference spot locked down while the Canucks and Kings will be punching their tickets to the postseason, so let’s look at the teams battling for the three remaining spots in the east and the final two spots in the West.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Team: Toronto Maple Leafs.
Record: 14-10-3.
Last 10 Games: 5-5-0.
Current Position: Second seed.
MVP: GodsPlan.

Toronto is trying to recapture the glory of season 30 whilst mixing it with the UnderDucks’ success of season 31. They’re doing well, scoring the third most goals in the league (93) while giving up the second least goals in the league (70). Their strong offensive core of NJ, Bean, and Serv have played very well, while GM Shadow has had a great season in his return to the net. However, GodsPlan is having a Norris caliber season thus far with 13 goals and 20 assists and has emerged as the MVP of a likely playoff-bound team.

Team: Washington Capitals.
Record: 14-10-3.
Last 10 Games: 5-4-1.
Current Position: Third seed.
MVP: Ransom.

Washington was projected as one of the favourites in the Eastern conference, but has been a middle-of-the-pack team all season. Moving Fluri for Hypey may be the move to spark their offense, as they sit in the middle of the league with 75 goals for. Goaltending in Washington has been a revolving door, with even Kozmo putting the pads back on for a few games. Ransom’s return to the league has shown his versatility, with good performances in net (79.66% of shots saved) 2 points per game at D, and 1.8 points per game at forward. Will Washington maintain their position?

Team: New Jersey Devils.
Record: 14-11-2.
Last 10 Games: 4-5-1.
Current Position: Fourth seed.
MVP: Rich2K8.

The Devils made a big splash this week, moving DBS and IMC for NYD and CC (NowYoDead and CaptainCanada) to further bolster their defensive core. They still didn’t address the offensive need, as they have scored a lowly 71 goals, third last in the league. Their core of defensive forwards in Joe, Saunter, and DD serves as support to Rich, who has scored 27 goals (6th in the league), just under 40% of New Jersey’s goals. The rest of the Devils need to step it up to maintain their playoff spot.

Team: Pittsburgh Penguins.
Record: 13-10-4.
Last 10 Games: 2-6-2.
Current Position: Not in playoffs.
MVP: Arrowhunter.

Pittsburgh is struggling right now, as they have only amassed 6 points in their past 10 games. Moving Jeff was a very interesting move by Turdburgler, but the pieces they acquired have not paid dividends for the Penguins. Their scrappy style of play perpetuated by Tragic, Freeze, and Duckweed has had questionable results, but Arrowhunter has been stellar offensively and defensively. He’s averaging a goal and an assist per game, with 44 takeaways and being +9. He’ll need the rest of the team to play like him if they want a shot to make it into the playoffs.
WESTERN CONFERENCE

Team: Vegas Golden Knights.
Record: 14-11-1.
Last 10 Games: 6-3-1.
Current Position: Third seed.
MVP: Sudzy.

A lot of people predicted the Knights to be cup champions this season, but they struggled to find their footing for the first half of the season. Now, the team has generated momentum after trading for and building a very strong starting six with Francey, Defenestrate, Sedin, U12Bme, Sliyum (starting goalie, key to the team giving up only 70 goals this season), and their MVP Sudzy. The controversial star has scored 37 points (20 goals, 17 assists) in 10 games this season, and if he shows up more, Vegas will keep rolling towards a cup.

Team: Nashville Predators.
Record: 12-12-3.
Last 10 Games: 5-5-0.
Current Position: Fourth seed.
MVP: Shaggy.

Peacekeeper’s Predators have had a roller coaster of a season, but have made the moves necessary to make sure they are in a playoff spot. They play a lot like the Penguins, another P team: they focus on a good defensive structure and a hard forecheck. Ultimate, Oriole, and a cast of other utility players have done well for Nashville, while Shaggy’s 7 goals and 15 assists have paced the offense for the Predators. Will GermanGretzky’s arrival in Nashville help them hold onto that last playoff spot?

Team: Winnipeg Jets.
Record: 10-16-1.
Last 10 Games: 5-5-0 (4 game winning streak).
Current Position: Not in playoffs.
MVP: LeCupidon.

The Jets are currently flying high on a four game winning streak as they are looking to break into the playoffs. They sit 6 points back of the Predators for fourth seed in the West but if they continue their win streak, we should see that difference vanish rapidly. Moves for new defenders in Steelers and Shayne should support Winnipeg;s top line of Reap, Kid, and their MVP LeCupidon, who leads the team in both goals and assists with 24 and 32 respectively. He’ll need the test of the Jets to get off the ground for a hard playoff push.

Week four is among us, and the seven teams profiled in this article are going to be finalizing their rosters ahead of the trade deadline and pulling out all the stops needed in order to make it to the postseason. Will the bottom teams in New York and Edmonton be able to write their own Cinderella story and fight their way into the playoffs? With two weeks and eighteen games to go, anything is possible. It’s all about how bad you want it.

Sorry for the lack of a show this weekend, playoff hockey took over the lives of Koz, Plisk, Reap and I but we are hoping to return this saturday with a new edition of SPNHL: Off the Ice on www.twitch.tv/thespnhl_media! We’ll be recapping any moves before the trade deadline and talking about our woes in the NHL playoffs (I swear if Kadri gets suspended, I’m gonna lose my shit). Regardless, tune in and make your voices heard in the chat!

Good luck to everybody this week, we’ll see you on the ice!
-DD.

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