Best of the Nation: 2.24.13

Jonathan Willis
February 24 2013 10:51AM

Photo: Resolute/Wikimedia

After the jump: the Nation Network turns five, predicting the end-of-season standings, talking about dirty hits and franchise-defining trades, and lots more good stuff from the past week.

Oilers Nation turns five! Sort of! The main point here: the site’s been around for five years now, and it’s time to throw a party. [Oilers Nation]

NHLNumbers predictive power rankings. Derek Zona debuts a model designed to predict where NHL teams will end up, based on what they’ve done to date and their underlying statistics. [NHL Numbers]

The Calgary Flames and Jarome Iginla. It is never easy to make a decision to move a franchise player, and there’s no question that for the Flames Jarome Iginla – the team’s all-time leader in goals, points and games played – is just that. Sometimes, though, the decision is in the best interests of the team. [Flames Nation]

Jannik Hansen vs. Marian Hossa. Were Jannik Hansen’s intentions as pure as the driven snow, or was his elbow on Marian Hossa a vicious attempt to injure a star player on a rival team? [Canucks Army]

While we’re on polarizing hits… How bad, exactly, was Taylor Hall’s hit on Cal Clutterbuck and how are the Oilers going to cope without their best player? [Oilers Nation]

Lessons from the Miikka Kiprusoff injury. I’ll just quote one paragraph from Kent Wilson’s piece, which is broadly applicable to a lot of NHL teams:

For an organization with apparent post-season aspirations, this is a series of rather egregious oversights. Not only is Kipper entering the twilight of his career but the chances of the unflappable Finn repeating his performance from last year were poor even if we assume no age-related slippage. In addition, thanks to a total dearth of worthwhile backup options in the organization, a Kipper injury all but guaranteed the club wouldn't even receive league average netminding should he go down for any length of time.

[Read more at Flames Nation.]

Zone Entries and the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference. Authors at NHL Numbers have been invited to present a paper at the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference on their work related to zone entries – you can read the paper here. [NHL Numbers]

Big decisions: re-signing Ales Hemsky. Did the Oilers do the right thing a year ago when they signed the slumping winger to a two-year, $5 million/year contract? [Oilers Nation]

Should the NHL expand, relocate, or contract? Part two of a series looking at the possibility of more NHL teams, less NHL teams, or just NHL teams moved into different places. [Leafs Nation]

Ryan O’Reilly: is Winnipeg a fit? Should the Winnipeg Jets be looking to make a trade with Colorado for the holdout centre? [Jets Nation]

How cold is it going to get in Toronto? Right now, everything’s working out for the Leafs – which means that if you’re Don Cherry, you’ve seen proof positive that Colten Orr can move mountains if one just puts a little faith in him. They’re less optimistic here at the Nation; the expectation is that the Leafs will decline and the only question is how much. [Leafs Nation/Leafs Nation]

Oilers trade deadline preview. What do the Oilers have to move? What will they want coming back? [Oilers Nation]

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Jonathan Willis is a freelance writer. He currently works for Oilers Nation, Sportsnet and Bleacher Report. He's co-written three books and worked for myriad websites, including the Edmonton Journal, Grantland, ESPN, The Score, and Hockey Prospectus. He was previously the founder and managing editor of Copper & Blue.