Wednesday, March 19, 2008

CBJ playoff hopes

Back in November, Earl Bruce predicted that the Buckeyes would get a chance to play for the national championship. He knew that people would scoff and say that there were too many teams ahead of OSU in the BCS, but he also knew that most of those teams would end up playing one another and knocking themselves out of contention. As it turns out, Earl was right, and OSU jumped from 7 to 5 to 3 to 1 during a span of time in which they played only a single game (beating Michigan).

I'm looking at the NHL standings, and as much as I want to be cynically dismissive of Coach Hitchcock's contention that the Blue Jackets still have a shot at the playoffs, I think he's actually right. There are 3 teams that are 7 points up on the jackets (2 with one fewer game remaining), 1 with 3 points and 1 fewer game remaining, and 1 team 2pts. up with 1 fewer game remaining. The CBJ would have to jump 3 of those teams to make the playoffs. One of those teams is Nashville, who play essentially the same schedule as the CBJ the rest of the way, including two head-to-head games. If Columbus plays better than Nashville the rest of the way, they will pass them in the standings.

The other four teams are all in the same division, and all play each other multiple times in the 8-9 games they have remaining. If two of them go on a tear, the victories will come against the other two. If two of those teams play 2 games below .500 down the stretch, 6-2-1 would pull the CBJ into a tie for eighth. 7-2 would get them in.

That's a bunch of ifs, but not as outrageous as I originally thought.

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