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What happened to the Avalanche?

The Hockey News

The Hockey News

Top of the mornin’ after to ya.

Hopefully your March Madness brackets aren’t busted, your favorite NHL team is still alive in the playoff hunt and, if the weather where you are is anything like it is in Toronto on this Friday, you’re able to get outside and enjoy it.

But before you do, THN staffers take one more crack at the Ask Adam mailbag, while Mr. Proteau enjoys the last moments of his vacation.

Hi Adam. I have a great passion for the game of hockey and would one day like to be involved in play-by-play broadcasting. Is there a specific path I should take to become a play-by-play commentator?

Evan Zack, Detroit


Like most professions, the key to being a play-by-play commentator is getting your foot in the door and racking up experience in the minors. If you’re in college, see if the local team needs a voice for the radio (or even a webcast). In the Michigan area, interning at a nearby minor league or junior team’s communications/broadcast department might be a good first step. There’s the American League, the North American League and the United States League all within the state. Some teams will even let you use a booth to record a demo, even if it’s not broadcast to anyone live. From there it’s up to you to bang down doors and hone your craft. Hope that helps! -RK

Hi Adam The Devils are currently 33-33-4. Many journalists are declaring that they have reached .500, and Jacques Lemaire seems to agree. However, I was under the impression that .500 meant winning 50 percent of total games, not having as many wins as losses. If it is, as I suspect, the former, then this will mean the Devils are not yet .500, but would have to be 36-32-4 in order to be at .500. So, which is it? I have tried to work out the right formula by looking at official stats on winning percentage as published by the NHL. This has given odd results. Take the Caps in 2009-10. They had a 54-15-13 record. If we try and work out the winning percentage by counting the number of wins over 82 games, the result is .659. If we work it out as over the 69 games where it was a loss or win (as opposed to OT loss), then it is .783. However, the official winning percentage is .738, a result for which I can't work out the formula. Am I missing something here? Yours in need of enlightenment.

Cal Nicholson, Mumbles, Swansea, UK

Hey Cal,

I’m with you on this one – it bugs the heck out of me, too.

The NHL doesn’t go by winning percentage, but instead points percentage. Obviously if you want a .500 winning percentage you would have to win half of your games and that’s easy enough to figure out.

In the NHL’s system you calculate the amount of points a team has vs. how many it could have. So, going by your 2009-10 Washington Capitals example, in an 82-game schedule the total amount of points any team can possibly get is 164. The Capitals ended with 121 points, which translates to 73.78 percent of the total possible points, or, a .738 points percentage. In the case of the Devils, through 70 games the total amount of points they could have is 140 and since they currently sit at 70, their points percentage is .500.

So really, the amount of wins has nothing to do with it. If you want to really learn how inane the NHL’s points/standings system is, check Edward Fraser’s blog which will be published Sunday. -RB

Hi Adam, Do you know where I can find statistical information on the 2011 NHL draft prospects? Also, do NHL teams value any non-traditional stats (such as MLB now does) and if so, where can those stats be found?

Ed Sarno, Flower Mound, Texas

Hi Ed,

If you're looking for info on 2011 draft-eligible guys, I would start at International Scouting Services. You will also be interested in our Draft Preview magazine, which we are currently putting together. It is available in mid-May.

As for non-traditional stats, hockey doesn't lend itself to sabermetrics as well as baseball, so there aren’t a ton of hyper-analytical stats out there. But the success of Moneyball did inspire some people to take a more analytical look at hockey. One person who's been on this train for a while is former NHL GM (and former THN blogger) Mike Smith. He believes it's just a matter of time before everybody starts breaking down hockey the way baseball is parsed. -RD

What really happened to the Colorado Avalanche this season? Where do you place blame for their implosion. Injuries are part of it, but losing Fleischmann shouldn’t send the team into a 1-17 spiral.

Cole Hamilton, Boulder, Colo.

Hey Cole,

You're right, injuries did play a part. And I'd say they played a big one. For all their talent, the Avs are still in re-build mode. Their depth is virtually non-existent and dealing with a bloated IR for much of the season exposed that.

At one point the blueline was sporting four or five guys I was hard-pressed to know. Jonas Holos? C'mon, man.

Couple that with the fact last season goalie Craig Anderson played above his head with the team on his shoulders. This year he just couldn't do it and Colorado has faltered.

To put it simply, it's a young group still learning how to play in this league and it just ran out of gas. It wasn't Tomas Fleischmann or any other single event, it was a perfect storm of problems.

In fact, if you look at what Anderson has done since heading to Ottawa, you could argue he was the only reason the Avs weren't firmly in 30th position all season.

So if you'd like to pick out a singular event, go with Anderson. Without him the team's soft underbelly has been exposed.

But take heart, the Avs are looking at another lottery pick and have a crap load of talent.

There's hope for the future - and the near future at that. -JG

Follow Adam's hockey tweets at, and his non-hockey observations at

Adam Proteau, co-author of the book The Top 60 Since 1967, is writer and columnist for The Hockey News and a regular contributor to His blog appears Thursdays and his Ask Adam feature appears Fridays.

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