Here we are again boys, the playoffs and all the ups and downs that are included are finally upon us. In what has been a great season with lots of activity, obviously we had to start the playoffs with some great and hopefully entertaining matchups. From the Williams bowl to the Rudd/Bradley Cup, and of course we can’t forget Shawn losing in 4, this year’s first round is bound to be good! Thank you, Ryan Williams and Andy’s Great Great Aunt for assisting with the preview.
Washington(1) vs Buffalo(8)
The caps dominated the season with an impressive 122 point campaign, 16 higher than the next closest competitor. Also leading the league in PP,PK,GF and GA. Suffice to say it does not look bright for the Sabres that are finally seeing a return to the playoffs after many seasons. The sim works in interesting ways though, and when Rich Painter was called for comment by an anonymous source he was told to ‘fuck right off grant’ which clearly shows his confidence in his team. Caps in 5
From the Kingston Whig Standard: ”CEHL Commissioner Grant Semelman has somehow magically assembled one of the greatest CEHL squads of all time. Longtime Sabres GM Dr. Richard Painter has forced his way into the playoffs on the last day of the regular season. They meet in a series that should unfold like a WWE squash tag team match with some jobbers from Stampede Wrestling (Buffalo) getting crushed by the Viking Raiders (Washington). Nikita Kucherov is the most dominant RW in the CEHL and he is well-known to hold a grudge against all medical professionals. Jakob Chychrun, Mark Giordano and Jack Campbell are the shining assets of the upstart Sabres squad. Capitals in 4”
Andy’s Great Great Aunt’s prediction: When I was young, Buffalo roamed the great plains. My great uncle Samuel was gored, and I’ve never trusted them since. Washington in 5.
Carolina(2) vs Detroit(7)
Expectations are high in Carolina after a dominating 47-win campaign. Meanwhile Detroit is breathing playoff air for the first time in many moons. The building blocks are in place for the up and coming wings squad but Chad’s canes have been building for this moment. Canes in 6
From the Arlen Bystander: ”Carolina’s GM is more reclusive than Minnesota GM Jake Mednick. He goes up against Detroit GM Wayne Herbert, who used to have an informal CEHL chat audio clip/podcast but they were abruptly pulled from circulation when things just got too real. The Breadman, Aaron Ekblad and Roman Josi are just some of the highlights of a stacked Hurricanes squad. They draft and develop players exceptionally well (see stealing Mackenzie Weegar). Nazem Kadri, Quinn Hughes and Carter Hart are the key players that Wayne needs to have an amazing 1 st round in order to have a chance of upsetting the Hurricanes. However, in case you live under a rock with a tinfoil hat and don’t read conventional media, it just happens to be Hurricane season. Hurricanes in 5”
Andy’s Great Great Aunt’s prediction: The Red Wings logo reminds me of water flushing in a toilet bowl which is nice. Detroit in 7.
Pittsburgh(3) vs Tampa Bay(6)
This is a great matchup that sees a great pens team that loaded up on at the deadline face an up-and-coming squad in the Lighting. Pittsbrugh has the stats advantage putting up impressive PP, GF and GA numbers while Tampa has middling PP/PK stats going into the playoffs. Pierre is very confident in his young squad though and the pens faltered since the deadline. Tampa in 6
From the Grand River Sachem: ” Penguins GM Mike Osterloh made a mid-season swap of G Robin Lehner for G Jake Allen and prospect D Michael Benning. This goalie swap seems to have brought good results for the both the Pens and Canucks between the pipes. The Penguins will need Jake Allen to bring his 1A game to stifle the notoriously real Pierre Ouellette and his Tampa Bay Lightning. The Lightning lead the CEHL in player hydration and spend the most money on equipment and training staff. The Lighning’s star players include Mike Zibanejad and Marc-Andre Fleury. Max Pacioretty and Sebastian Aho compromise a dynamic forward duo for Pittsburgh. This series also looks relatively close on paper, even though Tampa has the definite advantage in net. Penguins in 7”
Andy’s Great Great Aunt’s prediction: I stayed in Tampa Bay at a friend’s house once and it smelled like feet. Took me 4 hand washes to get the smell out and I vowed to never return. Pittsburgh in 6
New Jersey(4) vs Toronto(5)
Here we are, a matchup between two melodramatic gms that can’t decide if they want to win or not. It is being dubbed the McDavid/Matthews series and everyone should be excited. Both teams are stacked, and while I can’t guarantee it, money should be made. I can guarantee you this though, the 1st round curse will be broken for one team at the end of this series and that can only mean one thing.. another victim will soon appear! The sim taketh, the sim giveth! Leafs in 7
From the Kenora Daily Miner and News: ” We’ve got a great CEHL grudge match in this series with Shawn Lawrence facing off against Mark Kostovski. Or rather, staring at each other from the press box while making furious notes as the playoff action ensues. Shawn has Connor McDavid, Stamkos, Mitch Marner, Shesterkin, and the list keeps going on for awhile. Kostovski has Alexander Ovechkin, Auston Matthews, Sidney Crosby, Cale Makar, and well, you get the idea. I think the real question we should all be asking is how did these two squads end up finishing 4 th and 5 th in the Eastern conference? I guess maybe the East is really good now and I should give them some credit, there, I said it reluctantly. I tried to keep my own personal bias out of this prediction. New Jersey in 7”
Andy’s Great Great Aunt’s prediction: The doctor told me there was no way I’d need a new hip replacement before the Leafs won the cup. Yet here I am on hip number four. This granny gives the leafs 1 ½ arthritic thumbs down. Jersey in 7.
Colorado(1) vs Los Angeles(8)
Colorado followed up on a strong performance last playoff to take the number one seed in the west this season. Meanwhile the Kings slipped into the playoffs after a fantastic set of final games that saw a 3 way tie determine the final seed. While this match seems one sided on paper, the Kings had a decent powerplay all season and could be poised to upset the top seed with the 1st seed curse striking again!. LA in 6.
From the Saskatoon StarPhoenix: ” When he’s not golfing or purchasing racehorses, Brodie Ellis is leading his Avalanche to the top record in the Western Conference. Ryan Jonathan is known primarily as a Habs fan, and has taken up the Aaron “Benji” Cook tradition of convincing opponents to dress/not dress their star players/gross, based on his own personal combination of diplomacy, charm and illicit substances. The best players on the Kings are Shea Theodore, Frederik Andersen and Tyson Barrie. The highest rated players on the Avs are Darcy Kuemper, Blake Wheeler and Samuel Girard. This matchup seems a lot closer on paper, than it would appear otherwise, just looking at the point totals in the standings. Prediction: Avs in 5”
Andy’s Great Great Aunt’s prediction: FU Ryan. Avs in 5
Edmonton(2) vs Anaheim(7)
You can never go wrong with an Andy/Dan showdown. Andy will of course attempt to trade his team during the playoffs, and Dan will probably show up at some point to rub it in Andy’s face once he takes it it 6.
From the Grand River Sachem: ” Two veteran CEHL GMs meet again, with Andy Bradley’s Oilers matching up against Dan Rudd’s Ducks. Aside from what ticket price the Ducks will be charging in the playoffs, the burning question is what kind of mental state Andy’s Oilers will be in this off-season. Both of these teams are supremely talented and among the annual titans of the Western Conference. Bradley is hoping gritty play from Brad Marchand and Darnell Nurse can help propel this team to yet another Smitty Cup. Dan Rudd has assembled one of the most impressive 80-laden rosters in quite some time. However, holdout Josh Ho-Sang has taken to holding up placards outside the Honda Center, soliciting Dan Rudd for a contract. Rudd just needs his squad to operate as cohesive unit, now that we’ve reached the playoffs. Ducks in 7”
Andy’s Great Great Aunt’s prediction: Cheering against your great great nephew is family tradition! Let the rebuild begin!!! Ducks in 6.
Nashville(3) vs Minnesota(6)
The Preds had a great season, finishing 3rd in the west leaning on great defense and the play of Juuse Saros. Jake’s Wild team always seems poised to take the next step but the team chemistry never seems to be there. Preds grind this one out in 7.
From the Oakville Beaver: ” Fielding Howard has fielded an unconventionally strong squad, led by Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene, Torey Krug and Juuse Saros. They finished as the 2 nd highest team in the Central division, behind Colorado. Minnesota is managed by reclusive sock mogul, Jake Mednick. His team is really good, as per usual, and features names like Nathan MacKinnon, Kirill Kaprizov, Kyle Connor, John Carlson and Jacob Markstrom. Both of these squads have talent, but I’d have to give the edge in that department to Mednick’s boys. This should still be a hard fought series, rumour has it that a friendly wager has been made between the GMs. If Nashville loses, Fielding will send Jake an autographed Rawlings glove and if Jake loses, he will send Fielding a years supply of old Babsocks. Minnesota in 7”
Andy’s Great Great Aunt’s prediction: Back in my day Minnesota was a swear word punishable by 10 lashings! Nashville in 5
Vancouver(4) vs St. Louis(8)
There is nothing greater in this world than a Williams v Williams CEHL battle. Large crowds (like 8 or 9 which is very large by sunderland standards) will ascend on their houses as they await the results of each game. Its hard to call a winner in this one. Both have put together similar teams but while Cory’s blues seems better on paper, my vote goes with the sandpaper inspired canucks in a long series. Nucks in 7.
From the Brock Voice: ” This All-Williams 1 st round matchup should provide an entertaining series to CEHL fans on both sides of the border. St. Louis GM Cory Williams has described his brother Ryan as the Billy Beane of the CEHL. Running a lineup devoid of 80+ rated centres, the Canucks are focused more on defence and relying on mid-season acquisition Robin Lehner to stop pucks and win the series. Cory’s Blues sport a talented combination of Elias Petersson and John Tavares down the middle, with a strong defence and Semyon Varlamov in net. This series could reasonably go either way. Cory had wrote a rap verse to inspire the team to victory, but he forgot he was contractually obligated to only play Nelly’s “Hot In Herre” on repeat in the dressing room, and could be in violation of his sponsorship agreement. Canucks in 6”
Andy’s Great Great Aunt’s prediction: Titanic was a fine movie, wasn’t it? That leo is so handsome.
The result of the All-star game is and riots are sure to ensue. The West seemed outmatched but took the lead in the second period and never looked back.
Unfortuntaley, Jake and his minions decided the to dominate the game so apparently all the prize money goes to him aswell. I know.. Its a sad dark time we live in. Thankfully an eastern team will surely hoist the Smitty Cup come playoff time which should will bring equilibrium back to the CEHL multiverse.
Everyone has now played atleast 22 games and with a quarter of a season under our belts we can take a look at some things we aren't used to seeing.
We aren't used to seeing our Commish take a vacation. Some (well maybe just me) would question wether he has earned it or not, but regardless he took a week off anyway. Suprisingly, the league survived and while it was much quieter than normal we did get to experience some good debate on why League execs are charging coaching salaries when we don't have coaches, why some GMs have been allowed to illegally stow players on the farm avoiding waivers, if playing with Victor Hedman makes you a top line dman, and if Toronto is larger than Saskatchewan.
Looking at the standings there is a couple of oddities. The Wayne Train, (Wayne Dubas Herbert) has firmly positioned himself to be a playoff team. With Quinn Hughes leading his team in scoring the GM has been vocal about keeping his "core four" together and keep running it back hoping for new magical results.
Our defending Champ, the Ottawa Senators find themselves outside of the playoffs after posting only 2 losses in its first 11 games. Apparently overconfidence is not soemthing that can be counted on for consistency for the entire season. Coincidentaly their season turned to shit immediatly following the trade for Max Pacciorety from Florida. Maybe next time if it ain't broke, dont fix it?
Speaking of Florida, GM Clarke has decided to embrace a full tank this year and has moved alot of big names Pacioretty, Seth Jones, Brayden Point and Mark Giordano has been moved so far. Florida has now managed to move from 'one of the worst teams in the East' to 'worst team in the East.'
It is no surprise to see the Capitals at the top of the league standings. However, it is surprising we haven't seen more trade activity from them. This is a team already spending to the cap that has to negotiate new contracts for Nikita Kucherov, Andrei Vaselevski, Alex, Pieterangelo, Taylor Hall and Nate Schmidt. Would expect to see some dark motives activated with his fellow GMs to get all these players under the cap heading into next season.
Coming off one of the best seasons in franchise history, the Toronto Maple Leafs have been the yo-yo of the league early on. With almost every pair of games simmed the Leafs jump in and out of the playoffs. It has been an emotional roller coaster of near trades and line up changes but so far the GM seems to be content to trust that the sim will realize Cale Makar is as good as he is rated.
Time seems to be finally catching up with the San Jose Sharks. The rerate team has finally targetted Milan Lucic, Carey Price, Jamie Benn and Phil Kessel. GM Abdell has been quiet so far but one can assume he is furiously working the trade wires attempting to not see the Commish end up with his first, a potential lottery pick.
Current count has Mark Mead winning the draft pick war. His 24 third round picks in 2023. If we had GMs in place for the Islanders, Flyers and Jets you would have to assume they would be eagerly contacting Mead attempting to get a huge haul for their third round picks.
Surprisingly the player agents of the League seem to be in good moods early in the season. The leagues second best RWer Mikko Rantanen just signed a 4 year extension with the Anahiem Ducks for an AAV oif $9.5m. This 25 year old may have just set the bar for negotiations with Leon Draisitl, Dougie Hamilton and Shea Theodore.
Season 31 has started with a bang. a true team effort from all 21 GMs and a great Commish have ushered in another great season and it looks like the Smitty Cup will be as tough to earn as ever. Congrats to the Eastern Conference in finally getting over the hump and becoming the best Conference. The West will briefly enjoy being second best. Hopefully it won't take 30 Seasons for us to topple you.
Have fun guys, looking forward to another great year.
Yours forever, wether you like it or not,