Sunday, January 24, 2010

Major Junior Standings as of 1/24

Western Hockey League

Saskatoon may lead the East Division and the top spot in the Eastern Conference, but the Brandon Wheat Kings are beginning to make their move with after jumping Medicine Hat for 3rd and are just 2 points back of the Blades for the Division lead.

Currently, the Wheat Kings have earned points in 5 of their last 6 which included an impressive weekend with a 6-2 win over Prince Albert and a 5-2 win over Conference Leading Saskatoon last night. The Team's leading score Matt Calvert has had 7 points in the last 5 games with the help of 3 multi point games recently.

For the Blades, running into the Wheat Kings and a surging Kootenay Ice team have made things very hard recently to keep the Blades leading the East and the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

The Central is getting just as tight if not tighter with Calgary, Medicine Hat and Kootenay are all within 1 point of the Central Division Lead (CGY 64 PTS, MHT 64 PTS, KOT 63 PTS) as the Ice broke a team record with their 14 game winning streak before the Prince Albert Raiders ended it last night with a 5-2 win. With this winning streak, the Ice are in 5th place and will be in the mix to win the Central against the Heavily favored Calgary Hitmen and Medicine Hat Tigers when the season started.

Leading the way for the Ice is Bryce Slyvester who has 2 hat tricks against Saskatoon and Lethbridge and is now in the top 5 in total league scoring 66 points (27G 39A).

The gap from 6th to 10th is really tight, Moose Jaw has cooled off after a great start in September and October as the Warriors have fallen to 6th place with them tied with the Prince Albert Raiders with 55 points, Red Deer is just 1 point back with 54 while in 9th and just out of the playoff picture right now is the Swift Current Broncos with 51 points.

Moose Jaw will have to be road warriors to get back in the post season this year as they have a season long 7 game road trip that will include going to play all 5 U.S. Division Teams in the midst of what could be the defining moment of the Warriors Season.

After a 4 game home stand in late Feb. the Warriors will finish the regular season with 6 of their final 8 on the road including 2 trips to Brandon and 1 to Saskatoon who will most likely be playing for the East Division title. And a home & home weekend on the season's final weekend against the Swift Current Broncos which could be for one of the final playoff spots out east.

Tri-City was an impressive 6-7 on a 7 game home stand that just wrapped up which included a strong win over Portland and a 4-2 win over the B.C. Division Leading Vancouver Giants back on 1/22. The only blip was a 3-2 win over the Spokane Chiefs.

Like Moose Jaw, Tri-City will be road warriors as well coming up with 6 of their next 8 coming up playing the likes of the Calgary Hitmen and the Vancouver Giants which could be a preview of a potential playoff series in the spring as the Giants and Americans are 1-2 in the Western Conference.

The gap between 3rd place Everett who have been on an 11 game winning streak that has taken the Silvertips to 3rd place in the West after the Tips finished 7th last season. For Portland, after leading the U.S. Division for nearly the entire first half have fallen off some what with a them losing 6 of their last 9 has them in 4th place and would be in an interesting playoff series against the 2008 WHL & Memorial Champion Spokane Chiefs who has the best team defense in the league by giving up just 118 goals as James Reid is 2nd overall in SV% with a .920 SV% and a strong 2.42 GAA which is also in the top 5 among all WHL Goalies.

With Seattle and Prince George drifting away from playoff contention, for Kelowna, Kamloops and Chilliwack. For these teams, it's not about who's in and who's out, it's positioning themselves up for the best seeding possible as the Chilliwack Bruins and Kamloops Blazers are fighting it out for 6th and 7th while the Rockets are in the 8th and final spot with 46 points. Unless Seattle can catch up to the Rockets, they will find themselves along with the Cougars out of the Western Conference Playoffs this season.

Ontario Hockey League

In both the East and West this year in the OHL, the bottom of both Conference is where most of the drama is going to take place. In the East, Barrie has a 10 point lead over the Mississauga St. Micheal's Majors who are in 3rd due to both teams being in the Central Division. After Ottawa is leading the East.

The gap between the Peterborough Petes and the Kingston Fronteacs are just 3 points which if the playoffs began right now, the Frontenacs and Petes would play each other in the 4-5 matchup. Just below them is the gap from 6th to 8th between the Sudbury Wolves, Oshawa Generals and Brampton Battalion are just separated by 3 points and could easily move up with a late season run. Unfortunately, neither team is in a positron to at least pull away from this gap to improve their playoff position and I would expect it to be very tight.

As for the last 2 teams in the East in Niagara and Belleville, it's going to be a very tough final part of the season as the Bulls and Icedogs as both teams are struggling and they haven't had the ability to put something together and I would expect these teams to be fighting to stay out of the cellar. If either team is going to have a chance, they need to start beating Sudbury, Oshawa and Brampton every chance they can get because neither one of these 3 teams can have the ability to pull away to at least better secure a playoff spot.

The best race will be for the Midwest Division as the Kitchener Rangers and London Knights will be back and fourth for the Central Division Title and the 2nd seed in the playoffs. With Windsor having a 10 point cushion on both teams, this will be the main race to follow in the Western Conference as a couple of head to head matchups will go a long way towards who will win the Division.

The next game between the Rangers and the Knights will be this Tuesday as the Knights won the last meeting back on 1/21 with a 3-2 win where Jared Knight had a huge game that day, then the final matchup of the regular season will take place on March 4.

Plymouth is looking to at least solidify a 4th place spot and 1st round home ice as the Whalers have been on of the best runs of late in the OHL with winning 5 of their last 6 including a strong road win over the Mississauga St. Micheal's Majors, perhaps the biggest win of the season against Windsor back on 1/18 and a 3-2 win against Kitchener which could be a possible 1st round matchup if the Rangers don't win the Midwest Division.

Also an easy schedule should benefit with the likes of Owen Sound, Brampton and Guelph coming up that should hold down the 4th spot and possibly catchup with the Kitchener Rangers and London Knights.

The race from 5th to 8th will be very tight as the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds sit in 5th place with 52 points Owen Sound, Erie and Saginaw are just 1 point back from each other (OS 50 Points, SAG 49 Points, ERE 49 Points) and will look to at least get away from the Western Conference Basement as Guelph is 9 points back and will need to play lights out while it looks like Sarnia is looking for the future with a league worst 14 wins and just 31 points, which the Sting are 18 points out of a playoff spot.

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

St. John has finally been rewarded with the #1 spot in the Major Junior Rankings as the Seadogs are approaching 40 wins and having an 11 point lead over the Moncton Wildcats who themselves have the 2nd best record in the league right now.

Other then the big lead in the Atlantic, we will have a great battle between the Victoriaville Tigers and Drummondville Voltigeurs will have the best race for the Central Division Title and a automatic top 4 seed for the 2nd round assuming both teams get out of the Divisional Round. Recently the Voltigeurs has had they way in a recent string against Atlantic Division Teams as they won 3 of 4 recently with a pair of wins against P.E.I and a dominating win over the Acadie-Bathurst Titans before a surprising loss to the Halifax Mooseheads.

Victoriaville has looked more impressive of the 2 right now with an offensive explsion recently which have included 2 games with 7 wins where they have scored 5 or more goals in the game with Phillip-Micheal Davos who has 11 goals in the last dozen games. Included in their was a 4 goal game against Acadie-Bathurst back on 1/6.

Quebec City (East) and Rouyn-Nornda (West) have gone out to big division leads as the Ramparts and Huskies will look to win the Division with both teams having strong goaltending duos with strong defenses and could be a pontentital surprise teams for the rest of the regular season and in the playoffs.

Only the bottom 2 teams in the entire QMJHL miss the playoffs. Right now, the Halifax Mooseheads have been in the league basement this year with 10 wins. This is a big deal after winning just 2 in the first 25 games of the season where the Mooseheads are expected to miss the playoffs.

As for other teams that could miss, out on the playoffs include the Baie-Comeau Drakkar would be the other team sent home early as they have a 15-30-3 record with just 33 points. Other teams that could be in danger include the Lewiston Maineiacs with 36 points and the Acadie-Bathurst Titans and Val-dor Fourues who both have 41 points as we near the 50 game mark of the season.

Starting Today, with the Major Juniors reaching the 50 game mark of the season. I'm going to start showing the different playoff spots.

Western Hockey League

Eastern Conference

1. Saskatoon 48 GP 32-11-5 69 PTS 167-140

2. Calgary 48 GP 31-15-2 64 PTS 165-139

3. Brandon 51 GP 32-16-3 67 PTS 215-155

4. Medicine Hat 51 GP 28-15-8 64 PTS 205-171

5. Kootenay 49 GP 30-16-3 63 PTS 180-149

6. Moose Jaw 47 GP 25-17-5 55 PTS 175-156

7. Prince Albert 51 GP 26-22-3 55 PTS 179-172

8. Red Deer 48 GP 25-19-4 54 PTS 139-148

9. Swift Current 50 GP 24-23-3 51 PTS 166-175

10. Regina 50 GP 22-24-4 48 PTS 180-191

11. Lethbridge 47 GP 16-26-5 37 PTS 128-173

12. Edmonton 50 GP 10-29-11 31 PTS 113-194

Western Conference

1. Tri-City 49 GP 36-12-1 73 PTS 194-123

2. Vancouver 50 GP 29-18-3 61 PTS 183-150

3. Everett 49 GP 30-16-3 63 PTS 156-133

4. Portland 50 GP 29-19-2 60 PTS 188-175

5. Spokane 47 GP 27-16-4 58 PTS 149-117

6. Chilliwack 52 GP 23-23-6 52 PTS 156-172

7. Kamloops 51 GP 23-23-5 51 PTS 173-209

8. Kelowna 50 GP 21-25-4 46 PTS 156-170

9. Seattle 48 GP 14-26-8 36 PTS 115-162

10. Prince George 48 GP 9-37-2 20 PTS 107-215

Color Code

Division Leaders, Playoff Spots Out of Playoffs

Letter Code

X-Clinched Playoffs

Y-Clinched Division Title

Z-Elinmated from Playoff Contention

Ontario Hockey League

Eastern Conference

1. Barrie 46 GP 38-7-1 77 PTS 218-126

2. Ottawa 47 GP 23-17-7 53 PTS 165-152

3. Mississauga 46 GP 31-10-5 67 PTS 162-113

4. Peterborough 48 GP 23-22-3 49 PTS 163-194

5. Kingston 47 GP 21-22-4 46 PTS 156-184

6. Sudbury 47 GP 20-22-5 45 PTS 145-183

7. Oshawa 46 GP 19-22-5 43 PTS 154-186

8. Brampton 47 GP 16-21-10 42 PTS 114-131

9. Niagara 47 GP 16-26-5 37 PTS 135-177

10. Belleville 48 GP 15-26-7 37 PTS 128-174

Western Conference

1. Windsor 48 GP 36-7-5 77 PTS 238-141

2. London 46 GP 33-11-2 68 PTS 195-141

3. Kitchener 48 GP 31-13-4 66 PTS 200-151

4. Plymouth 49 GP 28-20-1 57 PTS 172-144

5. Sault St. Marie 48 GP 24-20-4 52 PTS 168-156

6. Owen Sound 49 GP 22-21-6 50 PTS 166-190

7. Saginaw 46 GP 22-19-5 49 PTS 169-172

8. Erie 47 GP 21-19-7 49 PTS 171-195

9. Guelph 45 GP 19-23-3 41 PTS 156-185

10. Sarnia 49 GP 14-32-3 31 PTS 126-206

Color Code: Division Leaders, Playoff Spots Out of Playoffs

Letter Code:

X-Clinched Playoffs

Y-Clinched Division Title

Z-Elinmated from Playoff Contention

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

West Division

1. Rouyn-Nornda 50 GP 28-18-4 60 PTS 185-161

2. Montreal 47 GP 24-20-3 51 PTS 152-143

3. Gatineau 47 GP 23-19-5 51 PTS 172-147

4. Val-dor 48 GP 18-25-5 41 PTS 160-201

Central Division

1. Victoriaville 49 GP 33-14-2 68 PTS 205-138

2. Drummondville 49 GP 33-14-2 68 PTS 208-154

3. Shawinigan 49 GP 22-20-7 51 PTS 163-183

4. Lewiston 48 GP 17-29-2 36 PTS 139-192

East Division

1. Quebec City 48 GP 28-13-7 63 PTS 191-166

2. Rimouski 47 GP 24-17-6 54 PTS 172-175

3. Chicoutimi 47 GP 17-22-8 42 PTS 134-184

4. Baie-Comeau 48 GP 15-30-3 33 PTS 133-213

Atlantic Division

1. St. John 48 GP 39-8-1 79 PTS 214-131

2. Moncton 47 GP 32-11-4 68 PTS 191-115

3. Cape Breton 50 GP 28-17-5 61 PTS 170-141

4. P.E.I. 50 GP 26-18-6 58 PTS 166-168

5. Acadie-Bathurst 50 GP 18-27-5 41 PTS 152-216

6. Halifax 48 GP 10-35-3 23 PTS 118-197

Color Code: Division Leaders, Playoff Spots, Out of Playoffs

Letter Code:

X-Clinched Playoff Spot

Y-Clinched Division Title

Z-Elinmated from Playoff Contention

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