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  1. Hey NHLGamers, the second round of the Pro playoffs are finished and we go on to the next round. All remaining teams got one step closer to their chance to play in the Elite division next season in ECL 7 by winning their respective series. The two finalists will be qualified directly, while the two semi final losers have their chance by playing against the Nordic Stars or Pata Hellalla in the relegation battles. We are excited for these tough battles, which we will do our best to cover on our Twitch channel. These are the upcoming matchups for the semifinals: (1) FILADELPHIA vs White Trash (7) FILADELPHIA sweeped their quarter final opponent Deadly Phantoms HC right away and don't seem to hesitate on finishing their season goal of qualifying for Elite! They needed only a total of 9 games in the first two rounds to go on to the semi finals and even with that low game count,@Erkki (I_Eki_I) and @Joonas Paatiala (Patzlaf) are in the Top 10 playoff scorers. They lead their Elite style offense, generating dangerous scoring chances and always seem to have the patience to make the right decisions. @xDoumi and @oGBioLan are strong on both ends of the ice and very decent on the opening pass. White Trash had to go the full distance in their seven game series against SIKA, just as in the first round. Lead by @Zip player, the dynamic offensive trio of @rGinnu and @Kane can score some goals and can make every defense hurt by gaining chances out of their mistakes. They showed us that they can stand the pressure by winning two game 7's. Are they able to shut down the weapons of FILADELPHIA and score efficiently enough on the chances they will get? Prediction: 4:2 FILADELPHIA (2) Monarchs vs Almost Famous (3) Monarchs impressed everyone so far this season. Mentioned as the underdog in our season preview, they topped their group and have only lost two games in this seasons playoffs so far. The team - previously called Lavetten - had a sweep in the first round and nearly controlled all of their second round matchup against Red Machine. Led by the captain @chavelski in net, the whole team showed up as a future Elite team. @pajenc , @Tacterz and @Zalaz know every trick of the game and are able to spin the defense's heads around. Almost Famous tries to accomplish the walk-trough from Lite to Elite in only two seasons. They flew under the radar at the beginning of the season, but were noticed by everyone, starting their first Pro-season 9-1-0, with wins over the top contenders Shameful Knights and Baltic Sea Eagles. As in the regular season, they defeated the Baltic Sea Eagles in the second round (4-1) and try to keep their hope of the Elite division alive. They don't win their games in a spectacular fashion, but @Ikavalko , @Rimpe and @Devilfish14 strike whenever they have to. As part of the regular season in group 1 they already played two games against each other. Both teams won their respective home games (3:1 and 4:2) so we can expect a really tough matchup and a long series! Prediction: 4:3 Monarchs The semifinals are underway (from 13th April 2018) and have to be finished by 20th April 2018 (Friday). No extra time will be given! We wish all the remaining teams good luck and most importantly: have fun! Please let us know when you will play your respective games so we have the chance to cover them.
  2. Hey NHLGamers, The ECL Elite Playoffs are already partly underway, so let's jump directly into our predictions for the first round, also known as the quarter finals, where the best eight teams battle for a chance to make it into the semi finals. These predictions were written by @chavelski and @pnordetun. (1) Written In The Stars vs Northern Stars (8) Written In The Stars won the regular season in style. The team really had that 'wow'-factor being talked about from time to time. A left-wing seemed to be what SKY needed to out them on a rocket ship right towards the title. Except for acquiring the new winger, little has changed and we can expect SKY to try to control this series. With great goalies in @eissi83 and @JanneK. (Januri98), amazing defenders that can dominate both blue lines and all three zones, and a highly skilled offensive trio up-front. So, is the sky the limit or will Northern Stars be the end of the line? NOS took the 8th and final playoff spot this time, avoiding pressure and expectations, perhaps. However, the old giant fears no one. NOS knows these situations and certainly holds more experience of these tight spots compared to their opponents. With their basic game and some @tbnantti magic they can surely match SKY. These players have been in so many playoff games together that we might see their low playoff seed actually work in their favour. Prediction: 4-2 Written In The Stars (2) Dynasty vs SJK eSports (7) Second seeding Dynasty goes up against SJK eSports in the quarterfinals in a matchup that could have, and in many Community members' minds would and should have been a clash later down the bracket. That's not the case this time around, as here we go! Dynasty has been nothing but a true joy to watch in the regular season. With quick passing, movement, their timing close to perfection and some great variety in their offense - they are as effective as they are stylish. @Buantso (Puantso) is deadly and with @jumalpeku and @Tehh (TehhAhola), they have a perfect trio. Puantso and jumalpeku combined for 55 goals between them in the group stage, just 10 shy of the SJK total. As always, it's important to shut your opponents offense down, and this will not be an easy task for SJK to do. Dynasty is also really solid on the defense and won't give up anything for free with @Snapster keeping the lines clear from intruders, alike the Finnish war hero Simo Häyhä. In the net, DYN has a good situation with @Sandr0hh and @Lukkoukko (Lukkolinho) having similar, strong stats. SJK will have to respond to Dynasty's offense in this series, and they need to prove that they really are defensive masters. Like we are used to, @Dominointi will be the cornerstone of their game. It'll remain to be seen who SJK will ice on the wings but your best bet will likely be @Leksa94 and @indi969. @Ilmari_30 on defense is set in stone and beside him we will most likely see @Selarit. @ICappeI stood tall in net for yet another great regular season, it'll remain to be seen if he can put up another stellar showing in the playoffs. Showcasing their defensive ability, SJK allowed only 48 goals (1,6 per game) in the regular season (2nd to SKY) and they have a tremendous defense in all zones. Sometimes playing SJK you're happy being able to create any good scoring chances at all, and how frustrating isn't that in a best of 7 series for the opponent? Can SJK lower the games' pace and ace their defense? Do they have the variety and creativity not to get stuck chasing behind every game? SJK has so much experience from these games it's almost scary. They are used to tight spots and used to advance - can they do it this time? Prediction : 4-2 Dynasty (3) Carlsberg HC vs Sjukstugan (6) Carlsberg HC was one of the hottest teams in the off-season and was one of the favourite teams coming into ECL 6. They finished with a solid third place right after Written In The Stars and Dynasty. @Vilupoika, @Penatski and @Tuukka.R (KingOfApes_) comprise a forward line that makes any GM out there jealous. All of them have great hands and vision and also the game changer ability, as anyone of them can win a game for their team. With one of the best defensive pairings in the league with @Janzuh and @vatalisti, this team looks like you couldn't replace one player with another and expect better results. If CAR wants to be successful they can and if they can stay humble and focused facing a very seasoned 112, they will prevail. Don’t count their opponent out just yet! You can easily say that Sjukstugan is the underdog in this matchup, but if you look closer at the players they have, the team looks really good. With one of the most prestigious right defensemen in the game in @Gustafsson7 returning back after a season in Synergy, taking his familiar place as the king of the hill in Sjukstugan's defense, they have a strong leader down low. Helping him along the way we have @Karkkyjaa, @Basstian23 (JaromirSniper) and @Klingen45 who is expected to be dressing for the next game. Look for him to be a game changer as well. On the forward side we have the brothers @pnordetun and @Bjono with @Norpee skating out with them. Norpee could easily be one of the most underrated players in the whole community. I suspect we will see @Nampa77 in this series as well, as he adds something the rest of the forward core doesn't have - the right-handed shot. The real MVP of Sjukstugan can be found in net as @Hullued has taken the community by storm and been excellent throughout the season. If CAR can stay focused and disciplined for the entire length of the series, they will move on to the next round. On the other hand, if 112 wants to have a chance in the series, they cannot try to mimic the play style of opponent Carlsberg, as they tried to do in game #2 of the series. The series currently stands at 1-1. If Sjukstugan can score the first goal and play as a defensive unit out on the ice, we might have a long series here that could end either way. Prediction: 4-3 Carlsberg HC (4) Northern Ascendancy vs Unlucky Boys HC (5) Northern Ascendancy vs Unlucky Boys is already far into the series (2-3) as UB are only one win away from the Elite Semi finals in their first season in Elite! The last season runner-up in Pro has surprised the whole community by beating a few of the big teams during the season and finishing the season as fifth in the standings. Lead by @Anhel (Anhel_Kuru) alongside @JimBoo (jm__98___) and @Wenger (re_wenger), the trio has been playing together all season, and with @Jugeh_ and @Frilander on the back end, the five skaters really come together as a team. @Danielcadabra has bounced back from a disappointing last season in Synergy where he looked somewhat rusty. This season he has been again at the very top among goalies and he can steal games for you. Northern Ascendancy with the fast paced very beautiful style of playing ended the regular season on a solid fourth place. @poliskontroll has been better this season and @Foppatofflan has been scoring points as usual. This season he got some help from @hpkfani (MuKiMaisteri) who was the leading scorer this season for NOR. @MartindalexC has switched from LW to RD and transitioned quite nicely making a nice pair with @Haldeem. And the cherry on top is that you have @anrh17, an excellent two-way player, as a center. You could think this team would be ready for a championship. However, once again they are facing a team who looks to want it more and play to win and not simply to get on the scoresheet. Can NOR bounce back, come together and break the trend that has been haunting them and get past the quarterfinals? Prediction: 4-2 Unlucky Boys Many of the teams continue their series' tonight, and while we sadly won't be able to provide an official commentated stream tonight, be sure to be on the lookout for the team's own streams in the streams section and the chatbox over in the community section. What did you think of the above predicitions? Who do you think will go all the way? Let us know in the comments section below!
  3. Hey NHLGamers, the playoffs in the Pro divisions are underway and we saw tight matchups throughout the whole first playoff round. Now we are down to eight teams and below you'll find our attempt at predicting the outcome of the quarter final matchups: (1) FILADELPHIA vs Deadly Phantoms HC (13) (written by @jahajaha93) This series will be featuring number one seed, powerhouse FILADELPHIA taking on a surprisingly strong Deadly Phantoms HC who managed to beat Alliance HT in their first round matchup. FILA didn’t dominate as much as expected in their last matchup, as they were seemingly struggling at times against Quality, who provided a good challenge with their counter attacks and offensive zone saucers. Maybe it’s just a matter of mental preparation for the heavy favourites, led by @Erkki (I_Eki_I). Deadly Phantoms on the other end will have nothing to lose in this matchup. After getting promoted to Pro after a successful campaign last year they will surely look to display yet another upset in this seasons playoffs. Can the Germans display a defense good enough to wear out FILADELPHIA's offensive guns and will Eki be able to motivate his team enough to bring their A game in this series? These will be the big questions that decide the outcome of this matchup. Prediction: 4-2 FILADELPHIA (2) Monarchs vs Red Machine (11) Monarchs are the top seed of group 1 and didn't hesitate to fulfill the expectations with their sweep against the Raging Monkeys. @chavelski stood tall in net, allowing only 5 goals in 4 games. They struggled a little bit in the first game (3:2 OT victory), but then they found the key to success against their opponent by dominating them in the rest of the series. At the other side of the rink, Red Machine was able to outscore the 3rd seed of group 1 (Shameful Knights). Their offense is lead by @RutonMosse with an outstanding - some might say incredible - shot-percentage of 100% (12 shots, 12 goals) and they are also very hard to beat with their strong defensive core (9 GAA in 6 games). We expect a defensive battle, where Monarchs have to be patient to get by the defense of Red Machine and be aware of their dangerous counter attacks. Prediction: 4-2 Monarchs (3) Almost Famous vs Baltic Sea Eagles (10) Both teams of this series won their first round series 4:2. While Almost Famous struggled a little bit on the first night (1-2), they got their things together by winning the matchup with three unanswered wins. The series of Baltic Sea Eagles was a little bit tighter with three games going to overtime (BSE lost two). As in the regular season, Almost Famous is playing nearly every time with their starting six, while Baltic Sea Eagles handles the pressure with more rotation of their players. The strong defense of the Sea Eagles have to shut down the dynamic offensive trio of @Ikavalko, @Devilfish14 and @Rimpe. Prediction: 4-1 Almost Famous (5) SIKA vs White Trash (7) SIKA had a rough start into this years playoffs by losing two games out of the first three, but kept their season alive by turning the series around by winning the last three matches. White Trash had to go with a full best of seven series, coming back from being down 2:3 in the series. @rGinnu turned the series into their favour by scoring six points in the last two wins. White Trash has to improve the defensive game, but definitely has the chance to outscore SIKA. We expect a tight matchup and a long series. Prediction: 4-3 SIKA All series will be played in a best-of-seven series between the 5th and the 12th of April 2018. No extra time will be given! We wish all remaining teams good luck and please let us know, when your series will take place so we have a chance to cover the games on our official Twitch channel twitch.tv/NHLGamerTwitch.
  4. Hello there NHLGamers, We are getting closer and closer to the finals and after this round we know which teams will get promoted to ECL Pro. Get ready for some exciting playoff action with, some might say, a few unpredictable matchups. Our Lite division is going on to it's third playoff round, also known as the Quarter Finals. This means that the best 8 teams, that remain in the Lite division get to compete for the title and promotion to the Pro division. The winners in this series will get an instant promotion to Pro. The quarter final matchups are: (2) Cowabunga Hockey vs MotherPuckers (19) Both of these teams 2nd round series' went to game 7 and both 1st round series were sweeps. This will be an even and tight set of games. Cowabunga have a strong but small squad, the same lineup played every night in these playoffs and the regular season with only one exception, 2 games where @Sokkelo__ didn't make it. Strong offense with good defense and a game winning goaltender in @Jonitski. MotherPuckers on the other hand have a deep squad and rely on their defense to win games for them. Motherpuckers need to defend well to get a lead in this series, once they get that they would probably not lose it. Keep an extra eye on @Lainzndr, as he is used to big games and if he gets an opportunity, he will captialize. This can really go either way, I will put my bet on MotherPuckers here - they have showed us that they can cause a upset before. Prediction: 3-4 Motherpuckers. (7) GHETTO FIREBIRDS vs Sektion K (15) Firebirds knows what it takes to beat strong teams in the Lite playoffs and they have a season in Pro that would showcase their experience in tight games. With a good mix of strong offense and defense they are a force to be reckoned with this series. Watch out for internal leader in points and assists @GreventiousFIN. Their goaltender TessunTorpeedo (@Tero Lehtiö) made a few classy saves last playoff round as well and knows when he needs to shut the door. Sektion K caused a big upset when they eliminated Sqweer United from the playoffs last round, and in what manner - it only took them five games to get into the 3rd round. They can not be underestimated here. With leading goal and point scorer @Edhoolm97 and a strong overall defense don't be surprised if they come out on top after this series is finished. I'm gonna go with my gut on this one, Sektion K have caused an upset before and will do this time around again. Prediction: 2-4 Sektion K. (8) EV Duisburg vs Pohjoista Voimaa (13) Duisburg showed in their past 2 playoff series' that they have a solid defense that can win the games for them. Pohjoista Voimaa is a similiar kind of team - they heavily rely on their defense. Both teams have strong goaltenders with amazing stats during these playoffs in @FoxGoalie and @meiha, both averaging around 1 goals against and 90 in save percentage. Expect this series to see a lot of games going to overtime. Prediction: 4-3 Duisburg. (11) Style vs Freddie Mercury Insitute (12) (prediction written by @jahajaha93) We'll have a hard fought series on our hands with Style taking on Freddie Mercury Institute. The Swedes have established a winning culture by topping their domestic league the past two seasons prior to joining ECL. However, this time they will be facing FMI, who have been grinding it out in the Lite division for some time now and are surely hungry to show what they can do. Style top scorer @Panarinz will be looking to edge out his FMI counterpart @kApollo in the scoring battle. In net we see @Gunde021 for Style, looking to be matched by @hulkamaania. These two teams will most likely be battling the series at least into a game six. The deciding factor will be the depth players - meaning the less visible individuals of the team who are not putting up the numbers but doing meaningful work night in and night out. Prediction: 4-2 Style. We would like to wish all the remaining teams the best of luck and hope that you, the NHLGamers, will follow their games on their respective Twitch channels. The third round is going to be played from 30th March until 7th April 2018. No extra time will be given! Special thanks to @jahajaha93 for assisting with this article!
  5. Hi there NHLGamers, The playoff spring is starting to heat up as the sun shines brighter and we close in on the really important games of the season. For some, the season ends and a break from hockey ensues, but there is still a lot of action to keep your eyes peeled for. Our Lite division is going on to it's second round of playoff action. This means that the best 16 teams in this division remain to compete for the title and promotion to the Pro division come ECL 7. Let's have a look at the upcoming matchups: (1) Bare Knuckles Hockey vs MotherPuckers (19) Much like their last series, Bare Knuckles Hockey has all the pressure in this one. Once again, we will witness a David vs. Goliath-matchup. Although MotherPuckers have some experienced players in their lineup, their game hasn't really translated to the scoresheet this season. The outcome of this series will very much depend on the performance of Bare Knuckles top scorer Teroe94 (@Tero Paikkari). If the MotherPuckers up the level of their team defense, this series could definitely be up for grabs for them. Prediction: 4:3 Bare Knuckles Hockey (2) Cowabunga Hockey vs Bucketeers (17) Cowabunga Hockey is one of my personal favourites as a title contender. A high-scoring offense (84 goals in the regular season) complemented with excellent team defense and a strong goaltender in @Jonitski makes them one of the best teams in the Lite division. In the second round, they will be facing Bucketeers, who rely heavily on a good neutral zone trap and simple decisions in the offensive end. Bucketeers isn't a team that will present the most beautiful hockey, but it surely is effective in winning the games. Prediction: 4:1 Cowabunga Hockey (3) SGWEER United vs Sektion K (15) SGWEER United picked up right where they left after the regular season. Being the highest scoring team in the regular season, they scored 33 goals in 5 games during their first-round matchup against Kaksikymmentaseitseman. @Gregson91 and riNBF3 (@rene hackberger) are responsible for most of their production, so it will be crucial for Sektion K to shut down this dynamic duo. Sektion K will be relying on @Tauri in net to be a brick wall and @Edhoolm97 to produce for them in the offensive zone. Prediction: 4:2 SGWEER United (4) Hippo Rangers vs Pohjoista Voimaa (13) Both teams swept their first round opponents. In other similarities, both teams finished their regular season in 2nd place in their respective groups. Both teams also have very strong goaltenders in @Perkkari for Hippo and @meiha for Pohjoista Voimaa. This will be a tough series - expect low scoring games. Prediction: 4:3 Hippo Rangers (5) Rukoilevat Hinkkaajat vs Freddie Mercury Insitute (12) I'm expecting a tough clash in this series. Both teams are solid defensively, backed by good goaltenders in @hulkamaania and @TheSpeedo, who will be having their own battle of the goalies. The other significant battle in this series will be between the more experienced members of each team. @Samzoni on Hinkkaajat's end will need to elevate his game to match Kickingapollo (@kApollo) in what I see as the other pair of players that will make an impact on this series. Prediction: 4:3 Rukoilevat Hinkkaajat (6) Suomen Sonnit vs Style (11) Personally, I saw Suomen Sonnit as one of the strongest contenders before the season. Inconsistency in the regular season might have lead to a surprisingly low seed for the playoffs, but I'm expecting this team to pick it up a bit the further we go into the important games. On the other side we have Style - a team in their first ECL season after dominating the Swedish OEHL. I'm expecting to see a tightly contested series as both teams know how to put the puck in the net and defend in their own end. Prediction: 4:3 Suomen Sonnit (7) GHETTO FIREBIRDS vs Korpens Finest (10) In this series we have GHETTO FIREBIRDS who are looking to redeem themselves after a tough last season in Pro. The regular season didn't go as well as they maybe would've hoped, but the birds still easily made the playoffs and managed to overcome their first-round opponent 4-1. This series isn't going to be as easy, as Korpens Finest is hoping to put up a good fight. Although seeding 10th into the playoffs, we must not forget that Korpens topped their regular season group. Prediction: 3:4 Korpens Finest (8) EV Duisburg vs Etelan Vetelat (9) Duisburg is one of the most experienced Lite teams. Having been close to promotion for a few seasons, this might be the time to shine for them. We know they won't be stumbling on goaltending with @FoxGoalie standing tall in net. Can they produce enough to move on to the next round? We're expecting to see great things, especially from @ShawnMcNeil and @GreatOne139 up front. The Germans will be facing an inexperienced Etelan Vetelat, led by @jouni29 on offense. Etelan will hope to cause an upset, but it is hard to see as they were struggling a bit in the first round against 5th Line Heroes. Prediction: 4:0 EV Duisburg We're expecting tight matchups and an exciting time. Be sure to post your streams on the frontpage so we'll be able to follow along! The second round is going to be played from 23rd March until 29th March 2018 (next Thursday). No extra time will be given! Special thanks to @Panarinz for assisting in the creation of this preview.
  6. NHLGamers, The playoffs have arrived also for our Pro division. We've got the best 16 teams remaining to fight it out for the Pro title and promotion spots for ECL Elite. This spring we have some very interesting matchups set up for us and we're excited to be able to preview them for you guys. Let's get going with the matchups: Monarchs (1A) - Raging Monkeys (8B) The Monarchs were a team many around the community knew about even before the start of the season due to Captain and goaltender @chavelski's brutally honest forum series "Life of a General Manager". Toes were stepped on, certain amounts of drama was created - but the unit of players that ended up representing the Monarchs was a strong one. Going into the playoffs, the lineup will be led by veteran Swedish center @pajenc, known for his terrific puck control and excellent vision. Flanking him to the left he'll have @Tacterz, and to the right @Zalaz, one known for his excellent dangling skill and the other for his smart two-way play. On defense they'll ice point-producing machine @Philip Strom with smart defensive defender Bortalaget covering up in home field. In net Chavelski has yet to be defeated this season, going 18-0-0 during the regular season. That will be put to test versus the Raging Monkeys where Swedish captain @Buffy has assembled quite the foreign legion. @DangledYouOut and Akin71 from Germany and @Birkedal96 rumoured to be from Denmark. Furthermore, word around the community says Group 2 was the tougher overall group, which could have left the Monkeys battle-hardened and ready for a challenge. Raging Monkeys excel by playing an up-tempo, fast attacking style when they have the puck while remaining patient without it. It will likely come down to a battle of captains here as BuffyTBH was Monkeys' leadings scorer while chavelski's undefeated tenure in net is certainly impressive. Prediction: Monarchs win 4-3. FILADELPHIA (1B) - Quality (8A) We knew going into the season that FILA was a heavy favorite contender. They surely lived up to the hype by surfacing as the number one seed into the playoffs with an astonishing 27-1-2 regular season record. They were by far the highest scoring team in the Pro division, outscoring the second best team in this category by 29 goals in total. Defensively we know these guys can hang with the best in the game. It should be all about motivation and focus for FILADELPHIA in this series. Will they keep powering on in the playoffs or can the underdog Quality put them back in their place? Quality was the lowest seed into the playoffs, a team that underwent several roster changes before the deadline and almost the whole starting lineup was changed at some point. However, the team managed to find their game a bit closer to the end of the regular season. The addition of @KattenJansson97 seemed to boost their offensive production, but the defensive play is still a concern. Can they match the dominant FILA offensive trio of @mikaasi-@Erkki-@Joonas Paatiala who put up a combined point total of 239 points in the regular season? Prediction: FILADELPHIA win 4-1. Almost Famous (2A) - Monte Carlo (7B) Almost Famous was the runner-up last season in Lite and they also came 2nd in group 1 this season in Pro. They are used to finishing in 2nd place and will want to show that they can reach for that gold this playoff. With last Lite season’s best point and assist producer and also ECL 6 Pro’s best faceoff taker, @Ikavalko, and their mentor/coach in the own zone @Aze, they know how to play strong in both ends of the ice. Monte Carlo has been a team flying under the radar this season with a mid-table finish, playing even matches throughout the season. But if you look at their team you see that it is full of former top players, see @Lage, Octobussy (@Masapunda) and @J0HTAJA for example. With ECL Leader @Kenu by their side, anything can happen. The series has already begun and Monte Carlo have a 2-1 lead so far. Although I see Almost Famous turn it around, being a consolidated group of guys and knowing each other’s playstyle in and out may be the difference in this series. Prediction: Almost Famous win 4-3. Alliance HT (2B) - Deadly Phantoms HC (7A) In this series we'll have the clash at the Iron Curtain with a really strong Alliance HT against the Deadly Phantoms HC, who performed well in their inaugural season in Pro. Alliance finished their season with 7-3-0 in their last 10 games as they started to click and find their game. They scored 20 goals in their last four games of the regular season, led by @Awptim as their top scorer. @JaikenK was solid in both ends of the ice, proving to be a tremendous off-season signing and an important addition to the team. The German team Deadly Phantoms HC will certainly have their work cut out for them, but an upset is not completely out of the question in this one. The Phantoms are a solid defensive team who will go for the simple solutions offensively, but tend to be very effective despite that. The most dangerous element in this team is the fact that they can ice five scoring players in any game. There isn't one obvious scorer and one obvious playmaker so it'll keep the Alliance defense on their toes. Prediction: Alliance HT win 4-2. SIKA (3B) – Arctic (6A) Oh boy - two veteran teams here going at it. Or, let me re-phrase that: two groups of veteran players going at it. While SIKA is a storied franchise in the halls of NHLGamer, Arctic is a fresh team but it does consist of veteran players like captaincy trio @selänne8, @TackleControl and @MAYZIIX. Expect SIKA to carry the play and defend well through well balanced defensive pairing @vSilenttio and @MCH_98. While vSilenttio is the more offensively gifted of the two, both bring strong two-way sensibilites to the game and can help you win regardless of opponent. The attack will be led by SIKA stalwart @imosi and new aquisition @yrjoo, likely flanked by @Naikou88. On Arctics side, a lot comes down to captain BiggestEight - the primary offensive threat on Arctic. This "Hidden Gem" is a goal-scoring machine but will be relied upon to make plays and defend as well, if Arctic is to come out alive from this one. Mayziix and YouShallNotPass (@swe best sniper) form a strong D block and TackleControl is the primary dishmaster for "the Cold Ones". Look for this one to go 7. Prediction: SIKA Win 4-3. Shameful Knights (3A) - Red Machine (6B) The Knights had a decent regular season. They didn't quite perform as well as some might have expected, but certainly did enough to get the job done. Their roster performed evenly and the scoring worked well in every way. The problem I can see Shameful running into is not being able to provide the "wow"-factor. The lineup hasn't changed much and their game hasn't quite evolved to the level it probably should have. As their playoff series start they will surely hope to prove this preview wrong and put on a show for us viewers. On the other side of the ice we'll see a team in their second ECL season after a Lite title run in ECL 5. Red Machine acquired their top scorer @RutonMosse just before the start of the season and although there have been rumours about an upper body injury, the youngster has kept producing. As long as his linemates can continue feeding him the puck we might see an upset provided my RED. Prediction: Red Machine win 3-4. White Trash (4A) - Clowns On Ice (5B) White Trash have a lot of ECL experience, as they have played 4 ECL seasons. Watch out for Kaneyh (@Kane), White Trash top scorer with 34 goals and a 53.1 shooting percentage during the regular season. Clowns On Ice have former ECL experience too, playing in 3 seasons and also having just started GCL Season 2. Clowns On Ice had the worst PP% of all teams that made it to the playoff, but their forward @Tim_FlyersFan was 2nd in goals, 3rd in points and 1st in shots taken during the regular season in Pro. Both teams are fairly comfortable in high scoring games and you will probably see that in this series as well. Prediction: White Trash win 4-2. Synergy Hockey (4B) - Baltic Sea Eagles (5A) Two games have already been played and the series is tied 1-1. Synergy finished the season in a very strong manner, with six wins and grabbing points in nine consecutive games. Synergy is a very experienced team that has played all six ECL seasons, two of them in Elite. After being relegated last season they would look to get promoted back up again. Baltic Sea Eagles have been consistent throughout this season and have a very stable and reliable defense. They also have players at the top of the hits leaderboard. When you face them you need to stay focused throughout the whole game, cause if you don't, you will get mangled in the boards. These games will probably be very defensive and don't be surprised if a couple of the games goes to OT. This prediction is highly relying on Synergy's form at the moment. Prediction: Synergy win 4-2. There's a lot of playoff hockey to be played and anything can happen. The beauty in this time of year is that any game can go any way and in a tightly contested series we can expect to see some exciting turns of events. Be sure to check the NHLGamer front page for streams to tune in to! Thanks to @Panarinz and @The_Alpha_Furyan for creating this preview in co-operation with Yours Truly.
  7. Hey NHLGamers, we hope you are excited as we are to get the playoffs started. As we mentioned in our post about the playoff-pairings, it’s now time to step up or step aside. Can an underdog step face-to-face against a goliath, or are there going to be dreams crushed by the recent favorites? In this article we give you our predictions about every match-up and mention possible factors for every team. VS Bare Knuckles Hockey (17-1-0 / L10: 9-1-0) vs EaLogic (9-7-2 / L10: 3-6-1) David vs Goliath or EaLogic vs Bare Knuckles Hockey. Is it even fair? Bare Knuckles Hockey finished with the best record in the regular season, coming up short of a perfect regular season with a loss in the last game. EaLogic had an upside down season: they failed to compete against the top guns of their group and were the last team to jump on the playoff train via a nail-biting tie-breaker. We don't mean to be harsh, but this sounds like a pretty obvious outcome. The cornerstone of this high scoring offense (78 goals) is right winger Teroe94 with 60 points, finished #2 among skaters. Their man in the crease Geqee also had a strong regular season, gaining 15 wins with only 1,81 GAA by 4 shutouts. On the other side of the field center Chaostive has to lead his team offensively and get their defensive tight to reduce scoring chances. Prediction: 4:0 Bare Knuckles Hockey VS Cowabunga Hockey (15-2-1 / L10: 8-1-1) vs Slapshot Club Germany (9-6-3 / L10: 5-4-1) Cowabunga Hockey can tear apart opponents with their high-scoring offense (84 goals), which is lead by #1 top scorer Fin_torsp90 (63 points). As if that wouldn’t be enough, they have the best goaltender so far in this season. Jonitski managed a 1,44 GAA average with an outstanding save percentage of 88%. Cowabunga Hockey's whole defensive game plan worked so far, with only 26 goals against in 18 games. Slapshot Club Germany had a bad start, strong mid-season and an even worse finish. Despite managing to get the necessary wins to make it to the playoffs, the team struggled to find their game all season long. Their defensive core has to step up and needs to keep clear shots for their netminder NHLDennis86. As they won’t get that many scoring chances, they have to be very effective in the offensive zone. Prediction: 4:1 Cowabunga Hockey VS SGWEER United (15-2-1 / L10: 7-2-1) vs Kaksikymmentaseitseman (8-7-3 / L10: 6-4-0) SGWEER United had the top scoring offense (86 goals) of this past regular season, but their defense is one of the weakest among the top teams. The top offensive duo Gregson91 and riNBF3 (both over 55 Points) needs to keep scoring to keep their hopes of moving on to the next round alive. The Germans also have the best defensive pairing measured in points, but they need to step up in the defensive zone. Their lack of effectiveness could bother them as you can see in the first two results (7:3 win, 2:1 loss). Kaksikymmentaseitseman had a sloppy start, but gaining 6 out of their 8 wins in their last 10 games. They need to keep their net clean and score on the chances they will get. Prediction: 4:2 SGWEER United VS Hippo Rangers (15-2-1 / L10: 10-0-0) vs KulmalaHengaus (8-7-3 / L10: 4-4-2) Hippo Rangers had the best possible record in the last 10 games, finishing strong with 10 wins. Their strong defensive core around their goaltender Perkkari - who managed a 1,50 goals against average with a save percentage of 84% - needs to play as they're used to. They are strong in faceoffs (57%), which could be the factor in tight match-ups. Their wingers lilchippah and Jii84-- (nearly 100 points in 18 games combined) need to keep their path going and hype their team up. Kulmala Hengaus struggled all season long, but won all important matchups against their evenly skilled opponents. They need to power up their offense to score against their opponents really good defense. Prediction: 4:0 Hippo Rangers VS Rukoilevat Hinkkaajat (14-3-1 / L10: 8-2-0) vs Rusty Bulls (10-7-1 / L10: 7-3-0) Rusty Bulls is a experienced team with a lot of tournaments under their belt. Rukoilevat Hinkkaajat had one of the best goal differences in the regular season. Rukoilevat have a well merited LW/C in Samzoni and he knows how to play the tough games and get out with a win. Prediction: 4:1 Rukoilevat Hinkkaajat VS Suomen Sonnit (14-3-1- / L10: 8-2-0) vs Cancun Pirates (10-7-1 / L10: 5-4-1) Suomen Sonnit has a lot of really experienced former ECL Pro players. Cancun Pirates is a sponsored French team in their first season. In this series the Bauer sponsorship will not matter. Sonnit would want to make an early statement and sweep Cancun. Prediction: 4:0 Suomen Sonnit VS Ghetto Firebirds (14-3-1 / L10: 7-2-1) vs ICEBREAKERS EAGLES (10-6-2 / L10: 6-3-1) Ghetto Firebirds have been pendling up and down between Pro and Lite. This time they will try their hardest to get up to Pro and stay there. With a faceoff percentage of over 58% they can build a little momentum in tight matchups. ICEBREAKERS EAGLES is a fusion of three old OEHL teams. Eagles can surprise quite a few people. They have a good mix of players and it's worth keeping an eye on Willander97, if he gets playtime in this series, as I'm sure he will score some goals. Prediction: 4:1 Ghetto Firebirds VS EV Duisburg (14-4-0 / L10: 8-2-0) vs Soldiers of Odens (11-7-0 / L10: 7-3-0) EV Duisburg has a lot of experience in ECL Lite, having played 3 seasons in Lite. However, this time their roster looks strong and deep, so they will look to get promoted. Their decent power play (30%) could take them a little step further into the next round. Soldiers of Odens have a couple Lite seasons under their belt, but they barely made it through to the playoffs with a negative goal difference. Odens improved their game towards the end of the regular season, are they able to continue? Prediction: 4:2 EV Duisburg VS Etelan Vetelat (14-4-0 / L10: 8-2-0) vs 5th Line Heroes (11-7-0 / L10: 6-4-0) Etelan Vetelat had a good regular season throughout, from a good beginning to a strong finish with 8 wins in their last 10 games. Their decent defense, backed up by their goaltender AcED719 with a 84% save-percentage, has to prevent the scoring chances of the stacked up offense of 5th Line Heroes. Their key to success will be to build up from their offensive outcome and reduce their turnovers. 5th Line Heroes key player will be Ale_012 with an incredible shot percentage of 56,4% by 22 goals in the regular season. Prediction: 4:2 Etelan Vetelat VS Korpens Finest (13-3-2 / L10: 9-0-1) vs The Black Jacks (11-6-1 / L10: 4-5-1) Korpens Finest topped a very tough ECL Lite group - some would say the toughest this season - and played very evenly throughout the season. The Black Jacks played in the same group and could have finished top of the group if two or three results had gone their way. Expect this one to be a tough fight until the very end, maybe with a small advantage for Korpens Finest, as they won both games in the regular season, but it could go either way. Prediction: 4:2 Korpens Finest VS Style (13-4-1 / L10: 9-1-0) vs Roistot (10-4-4 / L10: 8-1-1) Style struggled at the beginning of their season, but got their things together trough mid-season. Their positive trend shows up in their last 10 games, where they won 9 out of 10 games. Roistot's key to success will be to shut down Styles' top scorer Panarinz with 48 points in 18 games. Roistot has a nearly similar path to the playoffs. Their dynamic duo of altsu123 and taikuri8_0, with over 100 combined points, can easily outscore every opponent when they are on fire. They might be the best 5th seed of this season. Prediction: 4:3 Style VS Freddie Mercury Institute (13-4-1 / L10: 6-3-1) vs Elämäm Kiekko (11-5-2 / L10: 6-4-0) In this match-up pair between Freddie Mercury Institute and Elämän Kiekko we find two well experienced teams with several ECL seasons in the bag, both as a team and as individuals. This is a hard matchup to predict. The key duel could be the FMI defense with only 1,5 GA per game versus EMK's right wing Markogirl87, who is ranked #9 in the division with 53 points (23G, 30A). Prediction: 4:3 Freddie Mercury Institute VS Pohjoista Voimaa (13-4-1 / L10: 7-2-1) vs DELIRIUM (12-6-0 / L10: 8-2-0) Pohjoista Voimaa's games may not be spectacular to watch (38 Goals, 25 Goals against), but they are highly effective. Their key to success is to build from their very decent defense around their netminder Meiha (88% save-percentage). DELIRUIM had a strong push towards the end of the regular season and have to be very effective on the few scoring chances they will get, in order to move forward. Prediction: 2:4 DELIRIUM VS Club de Caballeros (12-3-3 / L10: 7-1-2) vs Motherpuckers (12-5-1 / L10: 6-3-1) Also a big matchup with teams from a really tough group. Motherpuckers is an old top team and consists of multiple old Elite players and also a few old EHL winners. Their special teams with a 35% power play could be the key factor in this series. Club de Caballeros have a good mix of new talent and former Pro players. It's also worth mentioning that they have MovaaN, a big name in the community who played for both several Pro seasons and one in Elite. This will be the toughest matchup in this round. Both their mutual regular season games went to OT and you might see these teams needing some extra time a few times this series as well. Prediction: 3:4 Motherpuckers VS Sektion K (12-4-2 / L10: 6-2-2) vs Finnish Hockey Legends (12-5-1 / L10: 6-3-1) Sektion K has players with Pro experience that know what it takes to win against top teams. Honorable mention goes to Edhoolm97, a former Lavetten (ECL Pro) player that knows how to score goals. Finnish Hockey Legends has played well throughout this season but Sektion K have the edge in this series due to their experience. Prediction: 4:1 Sektion K VS HokiDogit (11-3-4 / L10: 6-1-3) vs Bucketeers (12-5-1 / L10: 7-3-0) The regular season records don't not tell you much in this matchup. Even though HokiDogit finished in a higher position in their group and with more points than Bucketeers, Bucketeers is a strong team that played in a tough group. They shouldn't be underestimated here. Bucketeers may not be very well-known in the ECL community, but when you face them in EASHL games that would not be noticeable. With a high paced attack and a strong defence, they will give HokiDogit some tough games. Prediction: 1:4 Bucketeers We are sure that there will be tons of highlights in this years Lite playoffs and they will be very fun to watch, so be sure to save them and send them our way! Credits to @Panarinz and @iRSPe for their help with this article Best of luck to all the teams, play fair, respect your opponent and have fun!
  8. Now that the expansion draft and rookie drafts have passed it's time to sit down and see what and who Las Vegas Golden Knights have acquired. Here is my analysis of the players that currently are in the roster. After each player analysis you can find the current NHL 17 overall rating and my prediction of where the overall rating will be when NHL 18 is released. Goalies: Marc-André Fleury: Three-time Stanley Cup winner, Olympic Gold medalist. First pick off 2003. Everyone who watches NHL knows this guy. He is a winning goalie and still not even that old at age 32. I predict four good seasons for Fleury. Coach Gallant can rest easy his team won’t stumble in the goalie department. Simply put, Vegas got a jackpot with Marc-André. Overall in NHL 17: 88 Prediction for NHL 18: 87 Calvin Pickard: Pickard had an ok season with Colorado starting 50 games and getting a 90,4% save percentage. Has a cap hit of 1.0 mil so he is a good back-up for the price. Don’t really see potential in him will robbing the starting goalie position from Fleury but still a solid back-up. Overall in NHL 17: 82 Prediction for NHL 18: 84 Defense: Deryk Engelland: Seasoned pro with a decent size. Your basic third pair defender and trustworthy near own net. Not getting any younger at age 35. Will not make or break the team. Overall in NHL 17: 81 Prediction for NHL 18: 82 Jason Garrison: Highish cap hit at 4,6 mil. Not a point making defender either. Can play full seasons but movement is a problem. Jason is clocking the scales at over 100 kg although he is 188 cm. His last two seasons has been -4 and -8 playing for Tampa Bay. Overall in NHL 17: 84 Prediction for NHL 18: 82 Brayden McNabb Good sized defender of 193 cm and 94 kg. Moves well on the ice considering his size. His last three seasons with the Kings were +11, +11 and +1. Not high on points but at a cap hit of 1.7 mil and the age of 26, you can't go wrong with this guy. McNabb also has good point tallies in the AHL, so there might be some potential bubbling under. Overall in NHL 17: 85 Prediction for NHL 18: 85 Jon Merril Bad version of McNabb. Good size, but awful +/- stats for last the four seasons. -3, -14, -15, -9. Not in the first six defenders in my books. Overall in NHL 17: 84 Prediction for NHL 18: 82 Colin Miller One full season in the books for this guy. Did not shine, but also did not disappoint. Has some point potential and is still young at the age of 24. Overall in NHL 17: 80 Prediction for NHL 18: 82 Lucas Sbisa Good two-way defenseman with a good shot. Has good scoring potential and is very usable on the powerplay. Sbisa is a bit wonky on defense at times and passing is so-so, but he can compensate with some good puck handling. Overall in NHL 17: 83 Prediction for NHL 18: 85 Clayton Stoner Defensive defenseman with a physical presence. Stoner suffered from injuries last season and only played in 17 games. Don’t expect anything spectacular from Clayton and you might be surprised, most likely you won't, though. Overall in NHL 17: 81 Prediction for NHL 18: 80 Shea Theodore At age 21, Theodore is a bit young for a defenseman and it shows when he gets the call to the NHL. He has an ok size but is quite penalty prone. Has potential to be a point leading defender for his team but it’s still a few years in the future. I think he will spend half of the season in the AHL. Overall in NHL 17: 80 Prediction for NHL 18: 80 Alexei Emelin A leading defender for Vegas. Aggressive player with a superb slapshot. Not huge on points but a defender you can trust and put on the ice in every situation. 31 years old so has a few good seasons still ahead. Vegas can’t go wrong with this guy. Overall in NHL 17: 85 Prediction for NHL 18: 85 Overall defense The defense seems to be lacking in players that will score points. Sbisa is the only one who can consistently score and get points. Theodore will be up there in few years, but in the meantime, there needs to be someone else. The rumored Vatanen trade would be a blessing. The team could use one more seasoned leading defender as Marc Methot was traded away. Emelin by himself is not enough for a whole season of penalty kills. Offense: Pierre-Édouard Bellemare Workhorse for the 4th line with a low low cap hit of $712 500. Low risk, low reward player. You know what you get and cannot be disappointed. At the age of 32 now, was a late bloomer and currently playing the best hockey of his career. Still two or three seasons left in the NHL and then I expect him to play in Europe. Overall in NHL 17: 80 Prediction for NHL 18: 80 William Carrier 41 games for the Buffalo Sabres, resulting in 8 points, 21 penalty minutes and a –1. Those stats tell me one thing and one thing only: This guy plays in the AHL next season. Aged 22 so he can still grow as a player and cement his position as an NHL player. I just don’t see it happening this upcoming season. Overall in NHL 17: 76 Prediction for NHL 18: 78 David Clarkson 33-year-old. Cap hit at 5.25 mil. Not a single game played during the last season due to injury and may not ever play in the NHL again. Clarkson's contract ends in the 19/20 season and even if he could play I don’t see David as an asset for the team. One good season for the Devils in his whole career, otherwise kind of a so-so third-line player. Even at full health the cap hit is too high in my opinion. Overall in NHL 17: 80 Prediction for NHL 18: 80 Cody Eakin Cody Eakin is an stablished NHL player and is still quite young at the age of 26. He has had a few 30+ point seasons and one 40-point season. Second line center for sure. I really think Eakin could bloom in Vegas after a rougher season in Dallas. Good playmaking abilities and plays well in his teams own end. Put a decent sniper to his side and I would almost guarantee a career high in points during next season. Eakin also provides some crucial “secondary scoring” for the team. Overall in NHL 17: 84 Prediction for NHL 18: 83 Mikhail Grabovski Another “Mr. Injury”. Did not play last season. If he can play he is a huge asset to any team. One of the best hands in the business, can do anything with the puck, also shoots well and is a superb passer. Only minuses are lack of physicality and Mikhail can sometimes “forget” to defend. Hugely entertaining player whenever he is on the ice. Overall in NHL 17: 82 Prediction for NHL 18: 82 Erik Haula Solid defensive forward with an ok ability to pass and shoot. Not a spectacular player but will get the job done. Can play penalty kills. Combine this with the age of 26 and a cap hit of 2.75 mil and we have a superb deal. Still has potential to grow and become an even better player, as his role in Minnesota was mainly in the lower lines. Overall in NHL 17: 83 Prediction for NHL 18: 82 William Karlsson Where to even start with this youngster. Awesome hands, superb speed, good shot and nice passing ability. You have the whole package here. Hopefully he will take the next step playing for Vegas and becomes the point machine that he has the potential to be. I predict over 50 points this upcoming season and superstar status in coming years for this guy! Overall in NHL 17: 80 Prediction for NHL 18: 82 Jonathan Marchessault “Poor man’s Gaudreau”. Nice hands, good speed and nifty moves. Lacks the size and strength but will make that up with everything else. Last season Marchessault had 51 points in Florida and I don’t see why that can’t happen again. Needs good two-way forward on his side because defending is not one of his strengths. Overall in NHL 17: 83 Prediction for NHL 18: 85 James Neal Aged 29 and starting his 10th season in the NHL, Neal has one 80+ point season under his belt playing for the Penguins, otherwise solid 40-60 point seasons. Definitely a 1st line guy and possible potential for team captain. Could even become the face of the franchise for the next 10ish years. Overall in NHL 17: 88 Prediction for NHL 18: 88 Tomas Nosek Good sized player but is still a complete mystery if this guy is good enough for the NHL. 17 games spanning two seasons in Detroit. Starting in the AHL and despite his size still needs to gather strength and be more aggressive on the ice. Overall in NHL 17: 72 Prediction for NHL 18: 74 David Perron David Perron seems to be getting the hang of the game again after scruffy seasons in 14-15 and 15-16. Last season he played for St. Louis and racked up 46 points. Two over 50-point seasons overall and is at the golden age of 29. Vegas is getting the best years from Perron and hopefully he will deliver. Cap hit is also reasonable at 3.75 mil, however the contract is just for the 17/18 season, so a good season could potentially bump it up to ~5 mil. Overall in NHL 17: 84 Prediction for NHL 18: 85 Reilly Smith 26-year-old with a long contract spanning to 21/22 season. Cap hit at 3.425 mil. Good offensively oriented player with high scoring potential. Still need work with all-around playing and needs to gather more strength. +/- stat was -13 last season and that cannot happen again. Smith is still relatively young, so he can still work on the shortcomings and spark that star status in Vegas. Overall in NHL 17: 85 Prediction for NHL 18: 83 Alex Tuch Huge power-forward, clocking the scales at 100 kg and 193 cm tall. Just six NHL games under the belt, but decent stats in the AHL. He is just 21 years old, so sky is the limit with this guy - just don’t expect that he will reach the sky next season. Overall in NHL 17: 73 Prediction for NHL 18: 76 Vadim Shipachyov The Russian wonder finally decides to come to the NHL. Not a physical player, but moves so fluidly on the ice. Really loves the puck and lives or dies with it. Great passer and awesome shot. The only question mark is how well Vadim settles into Vegas, as he has never played outside of Russia before. In the NHL he is not automatically “the star” that he is in Russia and sometimes the Russian star players haven't been a good fit for the faster and more physical play style of the NHL. I had same doubts about Radulov last season and he proved me wrong. If the same happens with Shipachyov, the Golden Knights has a golden nugget in their hands. Overall in NHL17: 78 (World Cup player) Prediction for NHL18: 85 Overall Offense: Considering that this is first season for the Golden Knights, the offense is looking decent on paper. If Grabovski can play he will bring a lot to the table, but we need to be realistic as he most likely won't be able to play. Vegas needs at least one star status player who can bring a solid scoring ability to the team. Otherwise the youngsters need to step up their game with huge leaps if they want to go to Stanley Cup playoffs. Overall thoughts of the team: The first season is always hard. There are some seasoned pro's on the coaching bench and at the back office. But most of these players haven’t played together, so there are no established dynamic duos or existing chemistry between players. No tradition of a playing style, no rivalries between the Kinghts and other NHL teams. All these things start from a zero and coaches, players and even fans will have to work double-time to make these things happen. Vegas is a different kind of city compared to anywhere else on the planet, so there wont be a shortage of viewers on the game nights, but how easy it is to build fanbase on such a tourist-heavy city? And will the tourists cheer for Vegas or are they there for "just" the show? In other words: will there even be a proper home audience? The possible problems aside, overall it has the potential of being a decent team and a good addition to the Pacific Division, but if they want to truly compete for a playoff spot, they need two or three spot-on trades. At least one point-oriented defender and one solid sniper on offense are the minimum requirement for the team. Even if they get these additions it’s not an easy road to clinch the playoff spot. I don’t think that Vegas has problems being ahead of Vancouver or Arizona, but Los Angeles and Calgary are a different story. San Jose, Anaheim and Edmonton are in different category than the rest of the Pacific, so all points from them are a plus. My prediction with the current knowledge and roster: 5th in Pacific division If they can get the rest of the puzzle pieces to the roster: First round of playoffs, but they lose to Edmonton. Do you agree or disagree with my analysis and predictions? Let me know in the comment section. I would love the know what you guys think!
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