Sunday, 6 February 2011

What the Canes' Need to do to Make the Playoffs

Freddie's Fodder: by Fred Jack, Hurricanes Colour Analyst

Lethbridges’ remaining schedule as of February 6, 2011. 18 games to go. Next 7 of 8 will be played on home ice. 7 of final 10 games will be played away from the Enmax Centre.

Home Games (10)


Prince George

Red Deer (2)

Edmonton (2)


Moose Jaw

Medicine Hat


Away Games (8)

Red Deer

Edmonton (2)






- Currently: 0.86 pts per game gets you into a playoff spot.

- 62 points projected earns you a tiebreaker (possibly # 8 seed outright).

- Lethbridge has 45 points in 54 games played, and based on projections would need 17 points in their last 18 games to earn a tiebreaker.

Since it’s still a few hours away from Super Bowl kickoff, and the lights are dark throughout the Western Hockey League today, I thought it would be interesting to see what the Hurricanes have left in their 2010-11 regular season and see what they might need to do over the final six weeks of the regular season to earn a playoff position in the Eastern Conference. When I look at their schedule I break it into three types of games… First, the ultra tough tests. The big 5 in the Eastern Conference are very good! Saskatoon, Red Deer, Medicine Hat, Kootenay and Moose Jaw provide the opposition for the Hurricanes seven times during the stretch drive. Five of those tests will be at home, two versus Red Deer and one more each against Kootenay, Moose Jaw and Medicine Hat. Two times they will play those clubs on the road, once in Red Deer and once in Cranbrook. The next grouping I have created is the games against Western Conference opposition. I lump all of those contests together, because the Canes’ games against the Western Conferences elite are behind them. However, all five games will be played against British Columbia based teams who are in a fight for their own playoff lives. Two will be at the Enmax Centre against Kamloops and Prince George. The other three will be played out West in Kamloops, Chilliwack and finally against Kelwona versus the Rockets who are making a push for the Division title. The remaining six are against the rest of the Eastern Conference clubs who are battling for one of the final three playoff spots. Regina, and Edmonton twice will still make visits to Lethbridge. The Hurricanes will play their three remaining games on the road, in Edmonton twice and finally in Calgary. The Hitmen are a long shot at best to get into the playoffs but have proven since Christmas they can still win games. Just ask Rich Preston whose club lost twice to Calgary last month. Based on mathematical projections through the first three quarters of the regular season, the Hurricanes would need 17 points in their final 18 games to get into a tiebreaker situation. A near .500 record doesn’t appear to be too daunting of a task. However, they will need to be better than they have been over the last quarter of the season. The Hurricanes earned just 13 points in their last 18 games. In fact, Lethbridge has only accumulated 18 points in their last 27 hockey games. So where will the points come from? How do you go about getting those 17 or 18 points? The big key for me will be getting points against the clubs surrounding them in the Eastern Conference chase. I believe you need 5 out of 6 points in the three home games against Edmonton (twice) and Regina. You will need to split in Edmonton and win the game in Calgary giving you nine more points to add to the total. From there, a split against the BC teams should be fine. 5 out of 10 points there puts you up to 14. That would mean, you would need 2 wins in seven games against the ‘Big Dogs’ of the Conference. There’s the 18 points that I figure are out there for the Canes’ to get. There are many ways to reach 18, but that jumps out to me as the most manageable. Should be a fun stretch drive!

- Points needed to make Eastern Conference Playoffs last few years – since three points games (including shoot out losses) were introduced.

2009-10 = 78 points (Moose Jaw)

2008-09 = 67 points (Tiebreaker Prince Albert & Edmonton)

2007-08 = 88 points (Moose Jaw)

2006-07 = 69 points (Swift Current)

2005-06 = 62 points (Swift Current)


  1. Why does it matter if we make the playoff's anyhow,thats all i keep hearing, for experience,yeah right,2 more games is all we'll see at the Enmax if we do make the playoffs, that and 2 games full of penalties by the canes,stupid coaching decisions, on and on. We are all creatures of habit and nothing will change and who in their right mind thinks were going to get by Red Deer or Saskatoon if we do make the playoff's...good riddance!!


  2. Fred, I thought that my stat pursuit was out of control. You are definitely a super-nerd in a category all your own.

    I don't know what you do for a living, but you may want to toss a resume into the mailbox of the Lethbridge Hurricanes to apply for a new position as "Consultant Analyst of All Things Irrelevant." (no offence :-)

    The players (and coaches) need to FORGET the standings and start a new season NOW where they start to play every shift to WIN.

    The players MUST STOP taking LAZY penalties and the coaches must do a MUCH BETTER job of ROLLING FOUR LINES to maintain the speed and intensity that they will need EVERY game for the rest of their season! If they don't make the playoffs this season, at LEAST they will be developing the currently GROSSLY underplayed 92s and 93s (Tarnasky, Moser, and Ramsay) who barely see the ice after the first period.

    The canes will NOT play more than 4 games in the playoffs if they continue to play 6-9 forwards after each first period even IF they do squeak in. - Richie.

  3. Right on the money, Fred. Should be very fun, tension-filled stretch drive for this team.

  4. It's called spending half an hour looking at what's left on the schedule. Extremely relevant actually... In fact, most coaches, GM's and analysts look at these things all of the time. In order to set meaningful team goals, it's quite helpful data. I have never said this team would make noise if they get into the playoffs. However, from an organizational perspective and from a coaches and players standpoint (guys who care about winning) getting into the playoffs does matter.


  5. Neat to see what its gonna take to get in. Thanks Fred.

  6. Hey great information.I want to read more information about this topic.

  7. at the start of the season Rich said they will make the playoffs, so what happens Rich if you do not... but I am sure we can sit back and sya well we have all those draft picks wait until they play..menawhile the 93s and 94s that were list players ask to be moved or are not good enough, as there is no development on the team, let alone on what they expect from their future.


  8. Informative post!thanks Fred.

  9. OK all you negative people here and in the rest of LA. We need to stand behind this team matter what and always believe and have the attitude that we can win and will win. So BELIEVE in this team through the good and bad times. Get your but off the couch and help support the team and go some games and be a CANIAC and cheer on the guys!
    GO CANES GO!!!!

  10. Playoff possibility? Not likely when you consider that in first three 1/4 segments of the season the Hurricanes are averaging a record of 6-9-1-2 (15pts) which according to Fred's calculations would not get the Hurricanes into the playoffs. This is more apparent when you look a the last 1/4 of the season and the Hurricanes slipped below the average with a record of 5-10-1-2 (13pts). In their last 18 games the Hurricanes have one win against a team over. 500 and they have been shut out 4 times. In their final 18 games they play 16 of them against teams with more points in the standings than the Hurricanes have and the Hurricanes do not have any more games against Swift Current, Prince Albert and Brandon, the three teams just ahead of them. Thanks for doing your homework Fred, but the playoff picture looks very bleak for the Hurricanes even if they are currently just 3 points out of 8th and 4 points out of 7th. Games in hand yes, but they are worth nothing unless you win them.
    One positive....unless the Hurricanes turn things around completely over the next 18 games, they will be out of the Enmax on March 18th and construction can move full speed ahead.


  11. I'm pulling for the canes to miss the playoffs so they can get the enmax ready for the curling next year. It's going to be epic. I just want to be used to the feeling of not seeing playoff games. Why hope for the future if we will not get to see any playoff games in Lethbridge anyways. Hurricanes management, thanks for the slap in the face from all the fans who continue to support you in spite of your actions. On a happy note, my grandmother could not be more excited for next march. Why rock like a hurricane when you can rock the house?

  12. I agree with what Fred said last night. Tomorows game is for sure a must win.