Continuing the tournament in which you vote for the game's top multi-category player
Welcome back to my first Cage Match tournament, where our quest to crown the NHL’s best multi-cat (i.e., Hits, Blocked Shots, PIMs, and Shots) player is now officially underway. First off, a big thanks to everyone who voted in the 16 week one matches! I’ll list the results and give my analysis below, before setting up the eight week two battles, which will likely feature even more close match-ups.
As with last week, actual voting will take place within the Black Aces area of the Forums, and once again for each match I’ve included a link to vote - just click on “VOTE HERE” to be taken to the voting area for that particular match. Round 2 voting will close at 11:59PM on Sunday December 15 to give me time to tally the results before next week’s column.
After the brackets I’ve included another bonus “real life” Cage Match, where instead of comparing two hockey players I’ll tackle a different side-by-side debate. This week it’s strep throat versus the stomach flu in a battle to determine the worse ailment.
Bracket #1 – The Young Guns (all 25 years old or younger)
As we can see, things unfolded pretty much as expected here, with only Lucic pulling off a mini-upset as a #5 seed besting a #4. I figured Lucic might indeed win his match, but definitely not by this wide of a margin. After all, since 2012-13 Doughty has recorded 192 Hits, 68 Blocked Shots, 66 PIMs, and 188 Shots in 78 games, while Lucic had 240 Hits, 23 Blocked Shots, 101 PIMs, and 131 Shots in 76 games. Strange to see Lucic get four times as many votes as Doughty when things were that close in their stats.
The other three matches were certified routs, led by Schenn managing only a single vote (Brayden, was that you?) against Subban, who garnered the most votes of any player in round one.
With these results, we have the following matches on tap for this week in round two:
Bracket #2 – The Old Guard (all at least 30 years old)
This was the only bracket featuring two very close matches, with Seidenberg versus Wideman going back and forth until the polls closed. I’m glad that folks realized Wideman is a very solid contributor in these categories, but also that in the end the victory went to Seidenberg, who really is a certified multi-cat beast. In a nice twist, this sets up an all Bruins match-up for round two in this bracket.
I was a bit surprised that Robidas emerged with a victory over Orpik, since Robidas is now a couple years removed from his most productive points seasons while Orpik has been rock solid these past few campaigns and plays for a higher profile team. But really, in the end either of them would’ve been a reasonable choice. Robidas is now rewarded with Ott, who won easily but whose opponent had the most votes (albeit only nine) of any #8 seed. We’ll have to see if that means Ott could be more vulnerable than the other #1 seeds to a potential upset now or down the road.
Round two matches:
Bracket #3 – Best of the Rest Part A (Defensemen ages 26-29)
All I can say is either I seeded Dan Girardi too high or Phaneuf too low, because that was quite a shellacking for a #4 vs. #5 match-up! And given that Seabrook had a pretty decent challenge from Franson, if I had to do this all over again I probably would’ve put Phaneuf at #3 and Seabrook at #4. I still think Girardi should’ve been a better seed than Franson based on track record, but no doubt Franson is a player to watch in this area, while Girardi’s multi-cat prowess is waning, especially with John “block everything” Tortorella no longer behind the bench in the Big Apple.
But will Phaneuf’s momentum be enough to take out Big Buff, who received the third most votes of any player in the first round? It’ll be a very interesting match to watch for sure, perhaps more so than any other round two battle involving a #1 seed.
Weber trounced Edler by nearly as wide a margin as Phaneuf over Girardi, but that might be due to Edler’s subpar year, since if you go by the numbers it shouldn’t have been as much of a runaway battle. Seabrook will put up more of a fight against Weber in what should be a good second round pairing.
Bracket #4 – Best of the Rest Part B (Forwards ages 26-29)
Going into the voting I was wondering to myself if any of Reaves, Brouwer, or Clarkson would somehow muster more than 20% of vote totals in their respective matches; and sure enough, none of them did. That being said, I have a feeling that if it was a year ago Clarkson would’ve had a much better showing, as he started 2013-14 with a ten game suspension and has not looked like himself since coming back.
Going in, I had Hanzal vs. Dubinsky labeled as a possible candidate for tightest race among the 16 matches in all the brackets, and it didn’t disappoint. In a similar vein, Callahan vs. Brown could turn out to be the single toughest match of the second round, as it’s hard to make a case for one over the other. A true coin flip in the making!
General Thoughts and Takeaways
So there you have it – all the 1, 2 and 3 seeds survived, while each #5 seed beat his #4 seed challenger. The match-ups with the fewest total votes cast were Ryan Callahan vs. Troy Brouwer and Brooks Orpik vs. Stephane Robidas (46 total, for each), while the most votes (66) were cast in the P.K. Subban vs. Luke Schenn battle. Interestingly, in no bracket was the margin of victory largest for the first seed, second largest for the second seed, third largest for the third seed, and fourth largest for the fifth seed.
I don’t want to make any specific predictions on what might happen in this round, lest I influence the actual voting; however, I do think there’s a very good chance we don’t end up with only first and second seeds surviving this round. Also, I suspect that in at least one bracket the battle between the first and fifth seeds will end up being closer than the one between the second and third seeds. Be sure to vote, since otherwise your voice can’t be heard!
Recent Cage Matches:
|Matt Duchene vs. Kyle Turris|
|Kyle Okposo vs. Bryan Little|
|Jeff Skinner vs. Nazem Kadri|
Bonus Real Life Cage Match
It’s almost winter for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, and with that comes cold and flu season. And while you can get a flu shot to help guard against the seasonal flu, there’s no protection against two other nasty ailments that tend to pop up this time of year: strep throat and gastroenteritis/norovirus (more commonly known as the “stomach flu”). This week’s real-life Cage Match will decide – once and for all – which one of these sicknesses is worse.
Strep throat and stomach flu are both clearly awful, and each one can put you out of commission for a period of time. But at least with strep throat you don’t have to be right near a bathroom for hours and hours like you do with stomach flu, although in rare cases strep throat can lead to vomiting as well. But even though the symptoms of stomach flu are terrible, they tend to be shorter lasting - often only 24 hours, or perhaps 48 at most - while strep throat can last for several days, particularly if it’s not diagnosed right away or not treated with antibiotics.
With stomach flu, you can develop dehydration or, if you’re like a buddy of mine, can even injure yourself by hitting your head after passing out due to associated weakness. And even though strep throat makes it extremely painful to eat or drink, in most cases you can still manage to overcome the pain to at least get enough nourishment to keep your body adequately fed and hydrated.
Both ailments are highly contagious and can be difficult to diagnose in some instances, with stomach flu being mistaken for food poisoning and strep throat being confused with the flu or just a bad cold. But at least when it comes to stomach flu the treatment is the same if you misdiagnose it, while with strep throat doing so could lead to prolonged symptoms.
In this day and age when many people sadly cannot afford to miss a day on the job due to illness, it’s arguably easier to work through strep throat, since it doesn’t involve sudden and frequent trips to the bathroom. But in order to actually diagnose strep throat it takes a visit to a doctor or clinic, during which time you can’t really get much if any work done.
Neither ailment can be cured via over the counter medicines, but at least pain killers and throat lozenges can relieve some of the pain of strep throat, allowing you to get work done or even to fall (and stay) asleep. On the other hand, there’s really no relief from stomach flu via medicine; and even if you manage to fall asleep while symptomatic, you’ll usually be awoken shortly afterwards to make yet another trip to the bathroom.
In the end, while stomach flu might be shorter in duration it’s clearly a worse ride overall, what with the trips to the bathroom, inability to treat or sleep through the symptoms, and risk of dehydration. Now for those of you who’ve read this far – go wash your hands!