Bang for the Buck: Which teams got the best value in 2012-13?

NHL teams’ payrolls have been capped for nearly a decade now, limiting the disparity between the big-market giants and their small-market counterparts. Still, the Philadelphia Flyers, who had the highest payroll in the league last season, spent over $23 million more than the NHL-owned Phoenix Coyotes. But the money didn’t matter: neither made the playoffs, and Phoenix actually finished two points ahead of Philly in the final standings. Did the teams that made it rain in 2013 get any bang for their buck? Let’s find out.

Here, courtesy of CapGeek, are the payrolls for every NHL team this past season:

Team Spending (USD)
1. Philadelphia Flyers » $72,549,431
2. Vancouver Canucks » $70,456,167
3. Minnesota Wild » $70,120,744
4. New York Rangers » $68,711,221
5. Chicago Blackhawks » $67,343,544
6. Montreal Canadiens » $66,857,720
7. Pittsburgh Penguins » $66,739,133
8. San Jose Sharks » $66,370,996
9. Boston Bruins » $64,486,562
10. Tampa Bay Lightning » $64,082,929
11. Washington Capitals » $64,053,698
12. Toronto Maple Leafs » $63,249,222
13. Detroit Red Wings » $62,823,032
14. Los Angeles Kings » $62,025,799
15. Buffalo Sabres » $61,437,023
16. Calgary Flames » $61,027,990
17. New Jersey Devils » $59,269,410
18. Winnipeg Jets » $58,447,941
19. Florida Panthers » $57,463,086
20. Carolina Hurricanes » $57,237,054
21. Anaheim Ducks » $56,931,061
22. Colorado Avalanche » $55,641,465
23. Dallas Stars » $53,967,129
24. Columbus Blue Jackets » $53,893,247
25. Ottawa Senators » $53,806,372
26. Nashville Predators » $53,723,203
27. Edmonton Oilers » $53,648,971
28. New York Islanders » $53,004,108
29. St. Louis Blues » $52,185,361
30. Phoenix Coyotes »

$49,438,632

And here, courtesy of NHL.com, are the final standings for the 2013 season. Note that despite conference affiliations, the top 16 teams in the league turned out to be the 16 that made the playoffs.

Rank DIV GP W L OT P
1  p – Chicago CEN 48 36 7 5 77
2  z – Pittsburgh ATL 48 36 12 0 72
3  y – Anaheim PAC 48 30 12 6 66
4  y – Montréal NE 48 29 14 5 63
5  x – Boston NE 48 28 14 6 62
6  x – St. Louis CEN 48 29 17 2 60
7  x – Los Angeles PAC 48 27 16 5 59
8  y – Vancouver NW 48 26 15 7 59
9  x – Toronto NE 48 26 17 5 57
10  y – Washington SE 48 27 18 3 57
11  x – San Jose PAC 48 25 16 7 57
12  x – NY Rangers ATL 48 26 18 4 56
13  x – Detroit CEN 48 24 16 8 56
14  x – Ottawa NE 48 25 17 6 56
15  x – Minnesota NW 48 26 19 3 55
16  x – NY Islanders ATL 48 24 17 7 55
17  Columbus CEN 48 24 17 7 55
18  Winnipeg SE 48 24 21 3 51
19  Phoenix PAC 48 21 18 9 51
20  Philadelphia ATL 48 23 22 3 49
21  Dallas PAC 48 22 22 4 48
22  New Jersey ATL 48 19 19 10 48
23  Buffalo NE 48 21 21 6 48
24  Edmonton NW 48 19 22 7 45
25  Calgary NW 48 19 25 4 42
26  Carolina SE 48 19 25 4 42
27  Nashville CEN 48 16 23 9 41
28  Tampa Bay SE 48 18 26 4 40
29  Colorado NW 48 16 25 7 39
30  Florida SE 48 15 27 6 36

Now, let’s see which teams got the  best value. Playoff teams are in bold.

Team Spending (USD) Points USD Spent/Point
1 Anaheim Ducks $56,931,061 66 $862,591.83
2 St. Louis Blues $52,185,361 60 $869,756.02
3 Chicago Blackhawks $67,343,544 77 $874,591.48
4 Pittsburgh Penguins $66,739,133 72 $926,932.40
5 Ottawa Senators $53,806,372 56 $960,828.07
6 New York Islanders $53,004,108 55 $963,711.05
7 Phoenix Coyotes $49,438,632 51 $969,384.94
8 Columbus Blue Jackets $53,893,247 55 $979,877.22
9 Boston Bruins $64,486,562 62 $1,040,105.84
10 Los Angeles Kings $62,025,799 59 $1,051,284.73
11 Montreal Canadiens $66,857,720 63 $1,061,233.65
12 Toronto Maple Leafs $63,249,222 57 $1,109,635.47
13 Detroit Red Wings $62,823,032 56 $1,121,839.86
14 Washington Capitals $64,053,698 57 $1,123,749.09
15 Dallas Stars $53,967,129 48 $1,124,315.19
16 Winnipeg Jets $58,447,941 51 $1,146,038.06
17 San Jose Sharks $66,370,996 57 $1,164,403.44
18 Edmonton Oilers $53,648,971 45 $1,192,199.36
19 Vancouver Canucks $70,456,167 59 $1,194,172.32
20 New York Rangers $68,711,221 56 $1,226,986.09
21 New Jersey Devils $59,269,410 48 $1,234,779.38
22 Minnesota Wild $70,120,744 55 $1,274,922.62
23 Buffalo Sabres $61,437,023 48 $1,279,937.98
24 Nashville Predators $53,723,203 41 $1,310,322.02
25 Carolina Hurricanes $57,237,054 42 $1,362,787.00
26 Colorado Avalanche $55,641,465 39 $1,426,704.23
27 Calgary Flames $61,027,990 42 $1,453,047.38
28 Philadelphia Flyers $72,549,431 49 $1,480,600.63
29 Florida Panthers $57,463,086 36 $1,596,196.83
30 Tampa Bay Lightning $64,082,929 40 $1,602,073.23

Finally, let’s take a look at the differential between teams’ spending positions and their standings positions:

Position Differential Rank Team Spending Position Standings Position Position Differential
1 St. Louis Blues 29 6 +23
2 Anaheim Ducks 21 3 +18
3 New York Islanders 28 16 +12
t4 Ottawa Senators 25 14 +11
t4 Phoenix Coyotes 30 19 +11
t6 Columbus Blue Jackets 24 17 +7
t6 Los Angeles Kings 14 7 +7
8 Pittsburgh Penguins 7 2 +5
t9 Chicago Blackhawks 5 1 +4
t9 Boston Bruins 9 5 +4
t11 Toronto Maple Leafs 12 9 +3
t11 Edmonton Oilers 27 24 +3
t13 Montreal Canadiens 6 4 +2
t13 Dallas Stars 23 21 +2
15 Washington Capitals 11 10 +1
t16 Detroit Red Wings 13 13 0
t16 Winnipeg Jets 18 18 0
18 Nashville Predators 26 27 -1
19 San Jose Sharks 8 11 -3
20 New Jersey Devils 17 22 -5
t21 Vancouver Canucks 2 8 -6
t21 Carolina Hurricanes 20 26 -6
23 Colorado Avalanche 22 29 -7
t24 New York Rangers 4 12 -8
t24 Buffalo Sabres 15 23 -8
26 Calgary Flames 16 25 -9
27 Florida Panthers 19 30 -11
28 Minnesota Wild 3 15 -12
29 Tampa Bay Lightning 10 28 -18
30 Philadelphia Flyers 1 20 -19

So what can we take away from all these numbers and charts?

  • Despite making the playoffs, one might have expected the Sharks, Canucks, Rangers and Wild to accrue more points and make deeper runs.
  • Payroll-wise, the Coyotes and Blue Jackets overachieved big-time despite missing the playoffs.
  • Only two of the ten highest-spending teams — the Flyers and Lightning — missed the playoffs.
  • Three of the ten lowest-spending teams — the Ducks, Islanders and Blues — made the playoffs.
    • None of the three made it past the first round.

      EDIT: Reader Matt spots an error in our analysis:

    “4 of the bottom 10 spending teams made the playoffs…. And the one you missed also made it to the second round… the Ottawa Senators.”

Let’s check out, as of today, how much each NHL team will be spending in 2013-14, again courtesy of CapGeek:

Team Salary Payroll

Cap Payroll

1. Philadelphia Flyers » $76,194,117 $69,153,522
2. Boston Bruins » $65,440,000 $70,223,810
3. Pittsburgh Penguins » $70,810,000 $65,398,333
4. Detroit Red Wings » $68,200,000 $67,947,879
5. San Jose Sharks » $63,756,666 $65,131,667
6. Los Angeles Kings » $68,810,000 $64,386,894
7. Edmonton Oilers » $58,841,666 $67,774,167
8. Chicago Blackhawks » $67,760,000 $62,946,795
9. Columbus Blue Jackets » $60,976,667 $66,808,809
10. New York Rangers » $65,226,666 $62,881,667
11. Winnipeg Jets » $57,701,000 $63,201,357
12. Dallas Stars » $58,368,334 $62,993,611
13. Tampa Bay Lightning » $64,953,572 $63,990,477
14. Minnesota Wild » $67,152,778 $65,265,534
15. Montreal Canadiens » $64,465,000 $63,610,833
16. Anaheim Ducks » $57,145,000 $62,795,833
17. Vancouver Canucks » $64,489,000 $59,952,778
18. Nashville Predators » $62,326,666 $62,862,976
19. Carolina Hurricanes » $59,365,000 $59,425,000
20. Toronto Maple Leafs » $58,996,434 $59,704,167
21. Washington Capitals » $56,725,000 $58,634,295
22. Phoenix Coyotes » $52,300,000 $58,176,667
23. St. Louis Blues » $56,991,667 $57,925,833
24. Calgary Flames » $51,717,500 $57,321,250
25. New Jersey Devils » $55,383,333 $59,720,834
26. Colorado Avalanche » $55,565,000 $58,833,333
27. Buffalo Sabres » $54,745,833 $54,645,357
28. Ottawa Senators » $50,877,500 $53,835,833
29. Florida Panthers » $50,176,209 $57,140,375
30. New York Islanders » $44,431,500 $49,496,976

Who do you think will outperform their payroll in 2013-14? Who is spending the most on a pile of crap? Tell us in the comments!

Related Reading:

Panther Parkway lists the NHL’s five best “Puck for Your Buck” Contracts

Sports Illustrated looks at the smartest deals of the summer

Elliotte Friedman said today that some within hockey circles believe the cap could rise to as high as $80 million by 2017-18

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Fantasy Joe: A Handful of Fantasy Hockey Sleepers

If talented Islanders prospect Ryan Strome cracks the top line this season, he will undoubtedly put up huge numbers for your fantasy team.

As the dog days of summer move into the NFL preseason, the disease of fantasy football fever is upon us. While everyone else is rummaging the dark corners of the web to find that hidden sleeper no one else knows about for their football teams, you can just swing through Hockey Falls to to gear up for the final few rounds of your fantasy hockey draft, because you know by then your football squad will be in the shitter.

Here are my top sleepers to look out for during the 2013/2014 Fantasy Hockey Season.

Ryan Strome – New York Islanders

The departure of Brad Boyes leaves an empty right wing spot next to fantasy studs, John Tavares and Matt Moulson. Strome has huge potential as the No. 5 overall pick in the 2011 draft and has likely generated enough buzz in rookie mini-camp to earn a roster spot.  If he has an even more impressive training camp and preseason, he has a legitimate chance to fill that RW spot, which would cause his value to sky-rocket. Brad Boyes put up 35 points in 48 games alongside Tavares last season and P.A. Parenteau tallied 67 points in 80 games in 2011-12 before cashing in with Colorado. Just imagine what Strome, who had 94 points in just 53 games for the Niagara Ice Dogs last year, could do. Earning this spot on the depth chart will be a tough task though, as he will have to compete against the likes of Kyle Okposo, Pierre Marc Bouchard, and Cal Clutterbuck, who was JT’s linemate in juniors. This is a position battle to monitor, as whoever wins that RW spot will have a handful of scoring opportunities every night.

Jaden Schwartz – St. Louis Blues

The 14th overall pick in the 2010 draft is quickly developing into a solid two-way winger. With the departure of David Perron to Edmonton and Andy McDonald’s retirement, Schwartz could end up playing on a line with either T.J. Oshie & David Backes or Derrick Roy & Chris Stewart. If that’s the case Schwartz will see a major increase in responsibility, ice time and power play minutes.

Emerson Etem/Kyle Palmieri/ Jakob Silfverberg – Anaheim Ducks

Very similar to the Ryan Strome situation on the Island, there is an open wing spot that will almost guarantee a major upswing in production. Etem, Palmieri and Silfverberg are the prime candidates to replace Bobby Ryan on Anaheim’s top line alongside Ryan Getzlaf and former MVP Cory Perry. Etem and Palmieri just inked three-year extensions with the Ducks and Silfverberg was the marquee prospect the team recieved in return for Ryan. Both Etem and Palmieri had outstanding postseason series against the Red Wings, grabbing 5 points in 7 games each, but our gut feeling is that Etem will take over in that top line winger spot, being that he is the home-town kid.

Adam Henrique – New Jersey Devils

Adam Henrique came into last year’s lockout shortened season with “humongous big” expectations after he lit it up in the Devil’s playoff run the previous year. But he didn’t deliver, and his game hit a bit of a sophomore slump. Devils faithful and potential fantasy owners are hoping his dropoff in production wasn’t a result of the loss of Zach Parise because, if that’s the case, he will have even less star power around him as Ilya Kovalchuk is also off the team’s depth chart now. On the optimistic side, he will play big minutes and receive a lot of power play time. This is Henrique’s opportunity to become a star and one of the few bright spots on a lackluster New Jersey squad. Someone has to score, right?

Drew Shore/ Jonathan Huberdeau – Florida Panthers

The Florida Panthers’ roster is loaded with up-and-coming young talent, and if the Panthers have any chance at being relevant in the “new” Atlantic Division, Huberdeau and Shore will have to put the team on their backs. Huberdeau, I almost didn’t put him on the sleeper list as he had 31 points in 48 games as a rookie last season and is clearly Florida’s next (if there was even one before him) homegrown franchise player. Shore was a second round pick in the ’09 draft, and is quickly developing deadly chemistry with Huberdeau. He contributed 13 points in the shortened campaign, but look for a major increase in minutes and points next season. If you can afford to take a hit on +/- then draft one of these two.

Alex Goligoski – Dallas Stars

Since he was traded to the Dallas Stars in the middle of the ’10-’11 season, Goligoski’s point totals have improved every year. Although playing on a top-heavy Dallas team won’t help his +/- , his point totals will continue to increase, and he has a good shot at breaking out as the primary puck mover to Jamie Benn who’s moving back to his natural position on the wing, and Tyler Seguin, who will be playing with a chip on his shoulder as he was cast off embarrassingly from the Bruin’s organization.

Jacob Markstrom (Keeper/Dynasty League) – Florida Panthers

The Panthers made Jacob Markstrom their second-round selection in the 2008 draft, then he led the Swedish Elite league in save percentage and goals against average as a 20-year-old. For NHL fantasy purposes, however, Markstrom is more of a guy to look out for in keeper leagues or dynasty leagues. He’s incredibly talented and has a ton of potential. The problem is his team will not give him the support to put up solid numbers and often will leave him out to dry. The team in front of him might look even worse this season, now playing against the likes of Boston, Detroit and Montreal more regularly. Markstrom showed flashes of greatness last season, and will be the starter for the Panthers in ’13-’14 but a breakout campaign is not in the works just yet.  A few seasons down the road, Markstrom will be a top netminder in the NHL. For now, he would be a good pickup as a spot-starter when Florida’s matchups are favorable.

Jake Allen – St. Louis Blues

Picked just three spots after Markstrom by a far superior Blues team, Allen has the potential to be a top fantasy hockey goalie. But the goaltending situation in St. Louis is a bit murky.  Jaroslav Halak is one of the streakiest and most injury-prone goalies in the league, and Brian Elliot completely shit the bed last year when he had a legitimate chance to take over the starting gig. Allen won’t be handed the starting job and will probably have to wait for Halak to get hurt, and for management to completely lose their faith in Elliot. If Allen takes advantage of his opportunities and works his way into the mix, he will rack up a ton of wins, have a solid GAA, and have a chance for a shutout on any given night as the squad playing in front of him is one of the best defensive teams in the NHL.

Who are you eyeing in the late rounds of your fantasy hockey draft? Let us know in the comments.

Five Guys You Meet Playing Pickup Roller Hockey

Empire Roller Rink in Columbia, Mo., where pickup hockey on Tuesday was a highlight of my week in college.

Pickup roller hockey is always a blast. It doesn’t even matter if you play well that particular night. It’s about the cast of characters that takes time out of their otherwise unathletic lives to play the game they love. Here are a few guys you’re sure to run into at Open Hockey.

That Flashy Douche

There’s no denying this guy can play. He’s probably the most skilled guy out there, but my gosh, doesn’t he know it. Mr. FancyPants can usually found dogging it until the puck is on his tape. At that point, everybody else out there is transformed into a traffic cone. While helpless defenders swing their sticks at the guy’s legs, he unleashes toe drags, through-the-leg dekes, one-handed maneuvers and, if he’s feeling particularly obnoxious, the attempted “Michigan.”

Play some solid defense against this guy, and he’ll become frustrated quite quickly. I played against one of these guys just last week, and when one of my teammates stepped in front of him, he responded “Play the body on me again and I’ll break your f*&%ing jaw.” Spoken like a true roller hockey player.

Gramps

gramps

Most of the guys at the drop-in session are in their 20s or 30s, but that hasn’t deterred this Vietnam vet from lacing up every week for the past 40 years. Gramps might or might not have upgraded to inline blades from classic four-wheelers, but if he has, his blades are still the ones with the plastic chassis. You’d make fun of his old-school Jofa bucket, but as long as Teemu is still in the NHL, it’s not really out of style. His gloves were undoubtedly manufactured by Cooper and his stick is wooden because, well, duh.

Don’t let his age fool you though: this guy is tough as nails and knows every trick in the book. Try to take the puck around him and Gramps will get three slashes in on your wrists before you’ve taken two strides. Hear somebody yelling for a pass? It’s probably everyone’s favorite AARP member looking for a cheap steal. By the time you’re done with one pickup game, you’ll always want Gramps on your team. Just don’t get him started on Eddie Shore and ’39 Bruins.

Captain Serious

Although it’s endearing reference to Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews in NHL circles, there’s nothing to like about this guy. You might just be looking to get a weeknight workout in with some friends, but for CS, it’s Game 7 of the Cup Finals. While you were drinking Keystones in the parking lot with Gramps, CS had already been at the rink for an hour doing pushups while listening to Master of Puppets on loop.

When this guy scores a goal, you know he’s breaking out a celly that most would reserve for, you know, a game that actually counts. On the bench, he’s the one yelling at guys to hustle, demanding “short shifts” and dishing out the occasional “‘atta boy” or pat on the ass.

Make sure you know what you’re getting yourself into when you head into the corner with CS. Yes, it’s a Tuesday night drop-in game, but that won’t stop him from taking you into the wall, moving the puck up the boards and holding you to the ground until the play is halfway down the rink. And, oh boy, don’t tell him to calm down. “This is hockey, not ballet”, after all.

Woody Woodpecker

CLACK CLACK CLACK CLACK. CLACK. Oh, do you want the puck or something? If Woody is open, he won’t be for long. This guy ALWAYS wants the puck and he makes it known to both his teammates and defenders alike. If Woody’s playing defense, chances are your pass to the point is getting intercepted and going the other way. Occasionally Woody might throw in a “Yo”, “I’m Open”, or “Over here”, but the effect is the same.

The Goalie Whose Fault That  Certainly Wasn’t

There’s nothing better than walking into the rink and finding out there are two goalies and you don’t have to shoot on the dreaded board or play posts. So, with that in mind, it’s important to be patient with goalies because it’s better than not having them. That said, this guy will drive you up a wall when he makes an excuse for every goal he lets up. It’s not the fact that his five-hole is the size of a pornstar’s and it’s not his fault he gets beat short side every time. Nope, it’s your fault or his equipment’s fault or a fluke.

Some classics:

  • “I haven’t let up a goal since I switched out of that Jofa helmet. That thing was awful.”
  • After letting up a goal on a floater from Center: “That wasn’t a soft goal. His slapshot is like a curveball.”
  • “Dude, you were screening me.”
  • “Thanks for the screen, man.”
  • “You gotta get that guy out of the front. I was screened.”
  • “What do you mean it hit off my glove? You’re blind.”
  • “It’s physically impossible to keep my stick on the floor protecting my five-hole.”
  • “Great defense, guys.”
  • “How was I supposed to know he’d go backhand?”
  • His pads are way bigger than mine.”
  • “If this were ice hockey, I would’ve stopped that.” (and then the other way around when he’s playing ice hockey)
  • “You wouldn’t have to worry about my play if you scored a few more goals.”

You know what, man. Go home. We’d rather use the shooter tutor.

Every rink or parking lot has its own cast of characters. Tell us about your pickup hockey crew in the comments.

NHL ’14 Allows Players to Manage Off-Ice Actions

There isn’t much to be excited about here in Hockey Falls between now and when the puck drops on the upcoming NHL season. But we have September 10th circled on our calendar and are seriously considering taking off work. Because EA Sports’ NHL video game series, or ‘Chel’ to anyone who isn’t a freaking noob, is a possibly detrimental lifestyle choice and, as such, it would be unrealistic to expect to leave our couches on NHL 14’s release date.

In the game’s most recent trailer, EA Sports showed off Chel’s new “Live The Life” mode, which is basically the new and improved version of “Be A Pro.” Among the features trumpeted in the video, posted above, is the gamer’s ability to control his created player’s off-ice actions. Here’s the example from the video:

Image

Ask any NHLer what their favorite parts of being in the big leagues are and stuff like this is sure to be right at the top, so why not add interactions with obnoxious shitheads fans to the game? Good on you, EA Sports. We’re so excited for this game mode that we couldn’t help but dream up a few more COMPLETELY HYPOTHETICAL scenarios your player might experience while Living the Life.

Off-Ice Event #1

You and your cousin are out for an offseason night on the town when, too inebriated to drive, you decide to take a taxi cab. The fare is $14.80 and you give the cabbie $15. He informs you that he doesn’t have the $.20 change. What do you do?

X – You Respond: “That’s alright. Keep the change and here’s a nice tip for you.”

Δ – You Respond: “Do you know who I am?” and slam the door.

\square – You give the driver your address and tell him to send you a check.

O – You assault the driver by punching him, breaking his glasses, leaving him with cuts and bruises and, of course, taking back your cab fare before fleeing into the nearby park.

Off-Ice Event #2

Your team has just won the Stanley Cup and now it’s time to celebrate! You and your teammates go out to some of the hottest nightclubs in town and, oh boy, is the booze flowing. Your captain is over about to pop the cork off a $100,000 bottle of champagne while another shirtless teammate pours Grey Goose down the underage rookie’s throat. So what’s it going to be, Champ?

X – You respond: “Shots! Shots! Shots!”

Δ – You respond: “Budweiser.” It’s the King, after all.

\square – Are there any girls around? *Looks both ways* You respond: “I’ll take an Amstel Light.”

O – You respond: “I’ll just have a water.” Way to be a role model for the fans! 

Off-Ice Event #3

The next game on the schedule is one you’ve secretly been looking forward to. Your ex-girlfriend, a super-hot B-list actress, just started dating the other team’s star defenseman. You arrive at the morning skate and you’re already seething with jealousy. How do you handle this situation?

X – You respond by holding your tongue and being the bigger man. You’ll settle the score where it really counts: on the scoreboard.

Δ – You seek out the first TV camera you see upon arriving at the arena and make a quick passive-aggressive remark before hitting the ice. “I just wanted to comment on how it’s become a common thing in the NHL for guys to fall in love with my Sloppy Seconds. I don’t know what that’s about.”

\square – You head over to the opposing locker room to talk things out man-to-man.

O – Sure he’s bigger, stronger and probably far superior in the sack, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take him. You save that anger for the ice where you drop the gloves and settle things like hockey players.

Off-Ice Event #4

Your team won the Stanley Cup last season and you were the star of the show. You won the Conn Smythe trophy and are widely regarded as one of the best players at your position. Now, a few months later, it’s your team’s day to visit the White House. Problem is, you don’t really like the President’s policies. Still, team ownership is begging you to hold your tongue and go. What do you do?

X – Go to the White House, of course. After all, it’s an honor to be invited to the White House by the President of the United States, regardless of who that is.

Δ – Refuse to attend the White House and going on a political rant via Facebook about your popular, non-fascist beliefs about the dangers of big government.

\square – Go to the White House, put on a fake smile and when everyone least expects it, take a swing at the Commander-in-Chief. You might get suspended or arrested, but you were planning on taking a politically charged sabbatical anyway, so what the hell.

O – Go to the White House, but don’t let the President get a word in edgewise. Instead, whenever tries to talk, start screaming like a raving lunatic about the country’s current crash course.

Off-Ice Event #5

You’ve been traded to the New York Islanders. Man, those guys suck. Sure, your hometown team was low-balling you by a whopping $500,000 and aren’t in playoff contention, but you never thought those bastards would actually trade you. What the hell? What do you do?

X – You tweet about how much your hometown team is going to suck without you.

Δ – You tell the media that you’re looking forward to the next chapter of your career.

\square – You thank the fans in your hometown for supporting you for all those good years.

O – Waaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!

We’re sure this is just the tip of the iceberg, so if you can think up any COMPLETELY HYPOTHETICAL situations for the “Live the Life” mode, put them in the comments!

ROAD TRIPPIN’: PART 3 OF YOUR TEAM-BY-TEAM GUIDE TO 2013-14′S BEST NHL ADVENTURES

In case you missed it, check out Part One and Part Two of our 2013-14 NHL Road Trippin’ guide.

Despite a not-so-brief work-related detour, we’ve arrived at the third and final installment of our 2013-14 NHL Road Trippin’ guide. Needless to say, we’re starting to feel like our Hockey Falls predecessors:

Nevertheless, we have soldiered on and planned itineraries for the patient fans of the late-in-the-alphabet teams (no, that’s not one of Bettman’s new divisions). If you’re new to the series, be sure to check out our Rules of the Roadtrip, which has some helpful tips you oughta read before you hit the road.

And while we’re here, we’d like to wish our fellow Puckheads luck surviving August, which everyone knows is a hockey fan’s most devastating month on the calendar. It’s that time between free agency and training camp that just makes us squirm. Keep coming back to Hockey Falls, as we’ll be doing our best to help you through this dark time. See you on the other side.

Philadelphia Flyers

Depart Philly: January 12

Return to Philly: January 15

Flyers Roadtrip

Distance: 865 miles

Gas: $148

Driving Time: 14 hours, 1 minute

Games: 2

Want to see a lot of goals? Don’t care which net they end up in? Then, dear Flyers fan, this trip is for you! A thin blue line and laughable goaltending tandem shouldn’t stop Flyers fans from catching a couple of games in the Empire State this January. On Sunday, January 12th, drive up to New York City for a Metropolitan (!?!?) Division rivalry game between the Rangers and Flyers. Spend Monday in NYC, then wake up early on Tuesday and make the journey out to Buffalo for the game that night. Fill up on wings before heading back to Philly on Wednesday.

Phoenix Coyotes

Depart Phoenix: November 2

Return to Phoenix: November 7

Yotes Roadtrip

Distance: 1422 miles

Gas: $244

Driving Time: 20 hours, 48 minutes

Games: 2

Hello….is there anybody in there? If there happen to be any of those mythical creatures called Coyotes fans reading, have we got a trip for you! It starts early in the morning on Saturday, November 2nd, when you’ll head to San Jose to see the best looking hockey player in the league.  Wait, he doesn’t play for them anymore? Well, if driving 10 hours to see a mere hockey game still sounds enticing, catch the game that night and then spend the next 3 days enjoying beautiful California, from the north to the south before you see Coyotes-Ducks on Wednesday the 6th in Anaheim. Head back home after the game and hope the team hasn’t lost another owner while you were in the car.

Pittsburgh Penguins

Depart Pittsburgh: April 30

Return to Pittsburgh: May 5

Pens Roadtrip

Distance: 1480 miles

Gas: $254

Driving Time: 22 hours, 7 minutes

Games: 2 (1 outdoor/1 indoor)

One of the perks of rooting for Sidney Crosby’s team — other than, you know, watching Sidney Crosby — is that your club gets to take part in all the cool stuff the league does. Such is the case on Saturday, March 1st, when the Pens will play the defending Cup champs at Soldier Field in Chicago. If you’re a Pens fan, make sure you don’t miss that one, and as long as you’re there, you might as well dart south to see Pens-Preds in Nashville on the 4th before heading back to the three rivers after the game.

San Jose Sharks

Depart San Jose: April 30

Return to San Jose: May 5

Sharks Roadtrip

Distance: 2892 miles

Gas: $496

Driving Time: 47 hours, 28 minutes

Games: 2

Unfortunately, the good people making the NHL schedule didn’t have Sharks fans in mind when they put together this year’s edition. The Sharks will travel more miles in 2013-14 than any other NHL team, and unlike you, they’re stuck on cushy, lavish charter jets instead of enjoying the open road. There’s no  simple LA-ANA-PHX stretch, so instead, we’re sending Sharks fans up north. If you leave on Monday, November 11th in the morning, you’ll get to Calgary by the next night and get to see the Yotes and Flames play in a game you’ll surely hear about on ESPN the next morning. You’ll have all of the 13th to drive to Vancouver and enjoy the beautiful Canadian landscape before Sharks-Canucks on the 14th. You could go back to Edmonton for the next night, but since you’ll already be right near the U.S. border, just head home and watch it on TV in San Jose.

St. Louis Blues

Depart St. Louis: March 19

Return to St. Louis: March 24

Blues Roadtrip

Distance: 1948 miles

Gas: $334

Driving Time: 29 hours, 45 minutes

Games: 3

The Blues get that awesome New York triplet of games, (and that’s one I’ll be doing for sure), but since we’ve already used that setup in our guides, we’ll get more creative here. For example, on Wednesday, March 19th, you could go see the Blues and Blackhawks rekindle an always-fun rivalry. Since you’re already in that direction, keep going east and be in Philly the night of Saturday, March 22nd to see two 1967 expansion teams in a matinee. Just 21 hours after the game ends, the Blues are in Pittsburgh to play the Pens, yet another 1967 matchup. If you hustle, you can get back to St. Louis by the wee hours of Monday morning and load up on caffeine to get through the day at work or school.

***Bonus road trip: If you’re willing and able to miss Thanksgiving with the family in exchange for a crazy week of driving, listen up: Leave St. Louis on Tuesday, November 26th for Denver to see Blues-Avs the next night. Continue westward, stop at a grocery store and grab a turkey sandwich on Thursday, and get to San Jose for Friday night, the 29th. It’s Blues-Sharks On Sunday, December 1st, the Rams play the 49ers just across the Bay in San Francisco. Stick around for that game, then head south to Los Angeles for Blues-Kings on Monday. It’s a full day’s drive back to St. Louis, but after 3 hockey games and a football game, your adrenaline will be pumping enough to get you home.

Tampa Bay Lightning

Depart Tampa: February 27

Return to Tampa: March 2
Lightning Roadtrip

Distance: 2457 miles

Gas: $422

Driving Time: 35 hours, 50 minutes

Games: 2

Right after the Olympic break, on Thursday, February 27th, the Bolts head to Nashville to take on the Preds. After enduring 3 whole weeks without NHL hockey, get back to the game you love (and the team that, by this point in the year, you probably hate) in style by making the 10-hour drive, with a stop in Atlanta if you’ve never been to The Varsity or feel like investigating the farfetched myth that there was once a hockey team that played there (wait, that happened?). See the game that night, then take your sweet time drifting through Memphis and Little Rock on the way to Dallas, for Lightning-Stars on Saturday, March 1st. Hug the Gulf Coast on the way back to Dallas. You’ll get there by Sunday evening if you leave after the game.

Toronto Maple Leafs

Depart Toronto: January 8

Return to Toronto: January 11

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Distance: 1461 miles

Gas: $251

Driving Time: 25 hours, 5 minutes

Games: 2

A pretty easy, long-weekend road trip for the Leafs, as long as their fans haven’t rioted and killed Dave Nonis by the time January 9th rolls around. That’s when the Leafs square off against the Carolina Hurricanes in Raleigh, only a 12 hour drive south. The next night, Friday the 10th, the Leafs are in DC, which is right on the way back to Toronto.

Vancouver Canucks

Depart Vancouver: January 11

Return to Vancouver: January 18

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Distance: 3179 miles

Gas: $545

Driving Time: 48 hours, 34 minutes

Games: 3

Canucks fans get to take a trip to Southern California and Arizona in mid-January. Leave on Sunday, January 11th and head down the Pacific Coast to Los Angeles, for an early litmus test in the Western Conference against the Kings on the 12th. If the Sedin Sisters can’t get the job done at Staples, we advise you refrain from rioting; the LAPD won’t let that shit fly. Moving on, the ‘Nucks get the Ducks on Wednesday the 15th at Arrowhead Pond the Honda Center *sigh* and then play the Coyotes in Phoenix the next night. Gird your loins right after the game for a 23-hour hike through Nevada, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington to get back home. Or, if you’d rather extend your bender vacation, stop in Sin City on the way back. But word of advice: no matter how well you think you know hockey, DO NOT parlay NHL games…you have been warned.

Washington Capitals

Depart D.C.: January 24

Return to D.C.: February 1

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Distance: 2023 miles

Gas: $347

Driving Time: 31 hours, 43 minutes

Games: 5

This five-city tour might be the best of the bunch, fitting for followers of the defending Hart Trophy winner. Believe it or not, you won’t rack up too many miles even while following your team around like some dirty hippies on Phish tour. Leave the District of Columbia on the morning of Friday, January 24th and head to the New Jersey to catch Caps-Devils at the Rock. Hit the Jersey Turnpike and head due North to Montreal, where you’ll catch Les Habitants à Centre Bell. Spend the rest of the weekend in Montreal, which we hear is one of the most gorgeous cities in the league, before making your way back across the border to Buffalo. The Caps and Sabres face off on Tuesday the 28th. Stock up on Mighty Taco for the rest of your trip before making a move to Ohio. Be there by Thursday the 30th to see Gaborik, Dubinsky, Anisimov and the rest of the Rangers BJs fire a cannon, or something. Early Friday morning, make the three-hour trip from Columbus to Detroit, where the Caps will cap off their roadtrip at the Joe, where “Rocking your Red” will probably be counterproductive. The trip home to D.C. from Detroit will be the longest leg of the trip, coming in at a shade under eight hours.

Winnipeg Jets

Depart Winnipeg: November 24

Return to Winnipeg: December 3

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Last but not least, the Jets. Not a ton of travel options for fans in the ‘Peg, but old reliable, the New York triplet, is on the table, and it’s too good an opportunity to miss. It’s 25 hours from Winnipeg to Newark, so leave on Sunday, November 24th and get to The Prudential Center by the 25th. You’ll have all day Tuesday Wednesday to hang out in New York City before heading out to Long Island the night of the 27th. You’re Canadian, so you won’t be missing Thanksgiving the next night, and while we Americans are busy stuffing our faces (as per usual), you can head to Philly for a night on the town. It’s Jets-Flyers on Friday the 29th. Saturday and Sunday are free to spend either in Philly or back in NYC, as the Jets play the Rangers on Monday, December 2nd. That’s 4 games and a lifetime of memories made (and forgotten) in 2 of the best cities in the world. Head back to Winnipeg on Tuesday the 3rd.

Distance: 3534 miles

Gas: $606

Driving Time: 54 hours, 18 minutes

Games: 4

Well, that’s all folks. Enjoy the Open Ride and don’t hesitate to make a pit stop in Hockey Falls if you find yourself in the neighborhood. We’ll bring the beers.