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Blue Jackets Links

How to run the table in Week 18.

Sunday, January 28, 2007
Whether pundits want to agree with my position on this or not, the Blue Jackets still have a feasible outside chance of making the playoffs. Keep in mind that at the start of games just after the All-Star Break, there was enough writers out there saying that the St. Louis Blues have a fighting chance as well. After the first few games since returning from the break, the Jackets are now just a trio of points behind the Blues.

Either way, the scenario involving them making it to the big dance seems just about impossible when you look at it, no matter how rosy your glasses may be. There's a lot of things that need to go right, and for all intents and purposes, the CBJ need to run the table. Let's not start to meticulously go over each and every game left this season, though; it'd be more frustrating than anything, and most likely a lot more intimidating to Jackets' fans (and myself). Instead, let's start looking at the next 10 (and final) weeks of the season one at a time.

Currently we are on Week 18, or are just starting it. Here's how the current standings from the 8th seed to the 13th seed look:

11 points between #13 (Columbus) and #8 (Minnesota). Just as an aside, only 2 points are between Minnesota and the #3 seed Calgary, due to the Northwest's ... well, I'll be nice and say it has to do with the Northwest's "strong inner-divisional competition." Let's also remember that Colorado just lost to Detroit in regulation earlier today, so change their game count to 49.

Let's take a look at each team's schedule between now and February 3rd now, starting with Minnesota.

Minnesota Wild (51 games)
January 30th: @ St. Louis Blues
February 1st: @ Colorado Avalanche
February 3rd: @ Phoenix Coyotes

Colorado Avalanche (49 games)
January 30th: vs. Nashville Predators
February 1st: vs. Minnesota Wild
February 3rd: vs. Edmonton Oilers

Edmonton Oilers (50 games)
January 31st: vs. Columbus Blue Jackets
February 1st: @ Vancouver Canucks
February 3rd: @ Colorado Avalanche

Phoenix Coyotes (50 games)
January 31st: @ Anaheim Ducks
February 1st: vs. Nashville Predators
February 3rd: vs. Minnesota Wild

St. Louis Blues (50 games)
January 30th: vs. Minnesota Wild
February 2nd: @ Detroit Red Wings
February 3rd: vs. Dallas Stars

Columbus Blue Jackets (50 games)
January 30th: @ Vancouver Canucks
January 31st: @ Edmonton Oilers
February 2nd: @ Calgary Flames

Extremely complex, huh? No intra-conference games, and a whole lot of inner-divisional games between teams.

There's really only one certain thing that you can hope for right off the bat, which is that Minnesota's losing ways continue on the road, now that their four game road win streak has been snapped by the Blue Jackets.

After that, things take a slightly complex turn, when you need to consider that if either Edmonton or Colorado win all their games this week, that the minimal points required for the 8th spot will be higher by next week (barring any Minnesota wins, of course). Edmonton and Colorado face each other this week as well. Here is exactly what needs to happen between these teams for the best point gain this week while other teams don't budge:

Columbus has to beat Edmonton, while Colorado has to beat Minnesota. After that, Edmonton or Nashville has to beat Colorado. This will, at the least, mean only one of those teams gets up to 56 points alongside Minnesota.

The probability of all of this happening? Oh, probably 0.000000009% ... give or take a millionth of a percent.

But now you know what needs to happen for the Blue Jackets to get as close as possible to the #8 seed by the end of the week. And the closest they can get if everything goes right? Out 5 points.

Really puts things in to perspective, doesn't it?

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Name: Michael
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About Me: A mid-20s male who feels much too old even before he's 30. Has a degree in Sport Management and after branching out and trying a few other things in the job market, has finally decided to go back to his first love of hockey and hope he can break in with a team, big or small, somehow.
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