THE REPLAY ZONE – JANUARY 2015
By Jeff Polman
January ruminations from your trusty Strat-O-Matic replay addict. Check out “Ball Nuts”, my latest “fictionalized” replay book, which used the 1977 Baseball season.
THE HOCKEY ONE-AND-OUT TOURNAMENT
Being a Strat baseball junkie, I play their hockey game far less often, and can’t seem to get through any kind of hockey season replay before the bat and ball lure me into their wonderful clutches once again.
But I really do like Strat hockey, and wanted to do something different with the new 2013-14 hockey set that didn’t take a lot of time, so why not a single-elimination tournament involving all thirty teams? Would the best teams prevail? Or would there be nothing but fluky results? The champion would still need to finish with a 5-0 record (or 4-0 if it was Boston or Anaheim), so it would be highly unlikely for a lowly team like the Edmonton Oilers to pull that off.
Once it got rolling, I was able to play the full tournament in about a week and a half, and like in real hockey, the games were frequently close and intense. Anyway, here’s what happened…
(The Bruins and Ducks, finishing with the two best point totals last season, enjoyed a bye for the first round. Everyone else was seeded 1-28 by their point totals.)
at MONTREAL 5, TORONTO 4
Kessel with two early goals by the Leafs, but the Habs tie it with a Vanek power play goal and one by Pacioretty, before Gallagher, Eller and Desharnais finish off the home scoring.
NEW JERSEY 3, at NY RANGERS 2 (OT)
The first of only two overtime contests goes the way of the Devils on a Sajac goal following a scoreless third period.
OTTAWA 4, at PHILADELPHIA 3
Jason Spezza scores twice for the Senators in the early going, but it’s MacArthur’s goal late in the third that wins it in a second straight close upset.
VANCOUVER 3, at TAMPA BAY 2 (OT)
More of the same, as Daniel Sedin scores his second goal in overtime to give the Canucks the surprising win.
CALGARY 6, at PITTSBURGH 4
No bigger shock in the tournament than this one, though. After Kunitz and Jokinen tie it for the Pens at 4-4 in the third period, Monahan and Byron provide the Flame winners. Yes, this was a #25 seed beating a #4 in their own rink.
PHOENIX 5, at DETROIT 1
Less startling, but still an upset, as the Coyotes pretty much demolish the Wings with Hanzal scoring twice late to cap it off.
at COLUMBUS 4, NASHVILLE 1
The first hat trick of the tournament goes to Artem Anisimov, and the Blue Jackets handle the Predators fairly easily for only the second home win in the first seven games.
at CHICAGO 5, NY ISLANDERS 3
Two goals by Hossa, one by Toews, and the Hawks survive a late scoring skirmish from the Isles.
at ST. LOUIS 4, FLORIDA 1
Schwartz with two goals for the Blues, Bergenheim with the only Panther score.
at MINNESOTA 4, WINNIPEG 0
Dominating shutout by Wild goalie Josh Harding, as Pominville and Brodziak both score a pair.
at DALLAS 5, WASHINGTON 2
Tyler Seguin with the second hat trick, all three goals happening on Stars power plays.
at COLORADO 5, BUFFALO 2
Another hat trick? Sure. This time from Stastny, and the Avalanche make it six straight home wins in the first round and by very similar scores. Hmm…
CAROLINA 3, at LOS ANGELES 1
And so much for that, and so much for the Stanley Cup champs. The Kings can’t get any offense going against Cam Ward, as Staal scores twice to pull off yet another upset.
at SAN JOSE 2, EDMONTON 0
Pavleski and Marleau with the only goals, and the Oiler dream dies rather quickly.
(The winning stack of 14 teams gets re-seeded, with Boston and Anaheim added at the top.)
at MONTREAL 4, DALLAS 3
Two goals by Pacioretty and one by Subban help the Habs squeak out another one-goal win.
at BOSTON 6, CALGARY 2
Welcome to the tourney, Bruins, who go on a rampage in the first period and never look back. Two goals by Lucic, one each by Krejci, Marchand, Chara, and Soderberg.
at CHICAGO 7, PHOENIX 2
Another home onslaught, this one featuring a hat trick by Patrick Sharp.
at ST. LOUIS 5, NEW JERSEY 1
Two goals by Steen, and it’s 5-zip when Salvador pokes in the lone Devils tally late in the third.
at MINNESOTA 4, COLUMBUS 2
Three of the four Wild goals are on power plays—one by Parise, two by Koivu, and Harding holds down the net again.
CAROLINA 6, at COLORADO 4
Alexander Semin with a hat trick, and the Hurricanes pull off the only upset of the second round, surviving two late scores by the Avalanche.
at ANAHEIM 5, VANCOUVER 2
The number two seeded team of the year has a pretty easy time with the Canucks, scoring three times in the final period. Ryan Getzlaf with two goals and Selanne one.
at SAN JOSE 4, OTTAWA 1
Thornton, Couture, Marleau and Burns all score and the Sharks attack the Sens at will.
at BOSTON 4, CAROLINA 3
Two from Soderberg and one from Marchand in the first, but the Bruins nearly toss away a 3-0 lead when the Hurricanes get goal happy in the third.
at ST. LOUIS 5, MONTREAL 3
Exciting back-and-forth battle with a hat trick by Steen providing the winning difference.
MINNESOTA 3, at ANAHEIM 2
Moulson, Cooke and Parise score for the Wild, Parise’s game-winner coming late after stealing the puck and skating in on Andersen.
at SAN JOSE 4, CHICAGO 3
Another offensive powerhouse vanishes from the tournament, as Pavleski scores twice and the Sharks edge the Hawks to advance to the semifinals.
MINNESOTA 3, at BOSTON 0
That man Josh Harding is at it again, suffocating the Bruin sticks with his second shutout of the tournament. Koivu, Pominville and Parise with the Wild goals.
at ST. LOUIS, 4, SAN JOSE 2
Exciting game, as Couture ties it in the third for the Sharks but Berglund wins it for the Blues with his second goal of the game.
MIN 0 0 2 – 2
STL 1 0 0 – 1
1-STL: Backes (unassisted-PP)
3-MIN: Coyle (Koivu, Suter)
3-MIN: Parise (Koivu, after stealing puck)
Just a great defensive finale by both teams, featuring a spectacular save in the second by the Blues’ Brian Elliott on Mikko Koivu, but Parise’s goal is the game- winner.
So the 11th seeded Minnesota Wild are champs! Harding is magnificent in the net again (taking the tourney MVP honors), and the first ever One-and-Out NHL Tournament is in the books.
See you back in baseball land next month, with all the news on my new 1961 Freaks League!