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The FHM 8 diaries - week 2 and 3

Welcome back to the FHM diaries, this time covering the actions of weeks 2 and 3.

The Presidential fight – The honour of the curse

At this point, the race to the top has a very clear favourite for that spot – the Atlanta Inferno have been burning their path through the SHL like a hot knife through butter, with single digit regulation losses and just 1 OTL to their name, they have been very dominant this season, and seeing the red bird on your schedule for next sim had a very high likelyhood of giving you an L.
With a singular exception so far. Atlanta, so far this season, lost only 2 games in Atlanta. Guessing who they lost them to would probably not lead you to the actual culprit though, because weirdly enough, it’s been the resurging Manhattan that seems to have absolutely no trouble dispatching the rampaging Inferno on it’s path to glory. The Atlanta – Manhattan season series so far spans 4 games, all 4 being Manhattan victories in regulation. While maybe a funny storyline, this might be a little worrying for Atlanta, since Manhattan are their division rivals, and if they end up facing them in playoffs, there are no guarantees that this form doesn’t continue and Manhattan doesn’t just hold them down in 2nd round.

The chasers group is pretty numerous, but since Atlanta has games in hand on all of them, and already has the point lead, it’s a tall ask to expect yourself to pass Atlanta on your own performance, and you would likely need a help of their opponents in this week. San Francisco currently holds down the 2nd spot, closest to Atlanta with 4 points of a deficit, but with 4 games more than Atlanta, at a 7 point deficit we have Buffalo (3 games more), Los Angeles (2 games more), and New Orleans (4 games more), with the last of the group of potentional challengers (the emphasis on potentional) Chicago with 2 games more than Atlanta and an 8 point deficit. As we are right now, it’s virtually in Atlanta’s hands to lose this position, because any of these 5 teams putting up effectively flawless weeks might not even be enough if Atlanta plays to expectations.

The divisional fights – Gunning for the playoffs


Pacific Division – Fight to the line


The Pacific hasn’t changed much since week 1. The small changes here weren’t too obvious between weeks 1 and 2, but a weak week 3 takes Seattle a little bit behind the competition, while SFP and LAP continue to exchange blows in a ridiculously close fight. If LAP converts both their games in hand to wins, they are 1 point ahead of San Francisco, SFP holds a .002% lead in point percentage, SFP seems to have better luck home than LAP, but LAP claws games back in away games, in simple terms, this fight likely won’t have a resolution until the very end of the season. Calgary is guaranteed playoffs, and at their position, is left to play a bit of a spoiler, since they got caught up with expectations and started dropping behind the leaders, so their position is effectively locked bar a major meltdown by one of the top 3 teams. A quick look at Edmonton, they are confirmed out of playoffs even mathematically, and currently winning the tanking competition with Minnesota by 7 points, even though they just won 2 games on Saturday’s sim.

Central Division – A new challenger appears

If Central was a clear 1 man race at the start of the season, by the end of week 2 NOLA has entered the conversation and wants to get that divisional championship for themselves. It turns Central into a very similar division to Pacific – a 1-2 fight that’s extremely close between Chicago and New Orleans, a somewhat distant 3rd, a even more distant 4th and a hard tanking team in 5th. The fight for 1st isn’t as crazy close as the SFP/LAP one, but it’s still a matter of 2-3 points and NOLA has all the chances to take the crown for themselves. Winnipeg is trailing this fight more than Seattle is trailing in the Pacific, meaning that the looming threat of a decent form Texas is a bit more of a reality, even if the lead is still 12 points and therefore, pretty hard to imagine being closed down, even if here we are not talking about teams effectively guaranteed to win half their games, so while the chances aren’t high, they are technically not 0. Minnesota at the end of the division has been dangerous at points, but doesn’t convert too many games, so while they are still mathematically in with the chance for playoffs, at this point they would effectively need Texas to just not get any points while winning every game they have left, so it’s a 1-2 for 1 OA between them and Edmonton, and that race is not to Minnesota’s liking.

Western conference – High highs, low lows

The playoff picture is a little blurry for West, but it’s not hard to guess who fights for what positions. Calgary and Texas are fairly close and are going to fight for a WC1 spot, hopefully getting them a slightly weaker opponent for their first round, which as the things seem to be going, could be one of the Central division teams, as both NOLA and CHI are just behind the lead of the Western conference, the fight between SFP and LAP. Seattle and Winnipeg are at this point sort of hibernating – their worries are more about squeezing all of the performance they can out of themselves, rather than looking at standings since it’s unlikely they catch up, or are caught up to, and they are just patiently awaiting the losers of the 1st place fights. If we split those fights by goal differences, the 1st round here could look something like this:

P1 SFP – WC2 TEX
C1 CHI – WC1 CGY
P2 LAP – P3 SEA
C2 NOLA – C2 WPG

The jump of team strength between WC1/WC2 and respective 3rd places in your division is likely a good motivator (as if winning the division wasn’t a good enough motivation) to try your hardest for that W. The fact stands, West holds 4 out of the 5 chasers after Atlanta, so the top end of the conference is extremely strong, but at the same time, they have both of the tanking teams as well, making West a fairly polarized conference compared to the East.

Atlantic Division – All hail the fire


While 1st is a big question mark for both Western divisions, both Eastern divisions are on the very opposite side of the spectrum – Atlanta is basically guaranteed to win this division, unless they just plain stop earning points right about now, and it doesn’t seem Atlanta wants to allow that to happen. Atlantic’s 2nd seed is surprisingly stable as of the end of the week, with Manhattan having a great week for themselves and grabbing a decent lead ahead of the 3rd and 4th. The fight for the last guaranteed playoff spot is still raging on and is still very close though – Tampa currently holds the advantage, with Philladelphia hanging on very close behind despite the fairly large GD difference between the teams. Baltimore dropped out of the race thanks to a weaker week 3, and while anything is open to the chances of them making it in, they definitely seem like the team out of not only the race for the Atlantic’s 3rd spot, but thanks to the fighting in North East, also the fight for a wild card spot.

North East Division – It is, indeed, the stampede

Just like the two Western divisions being very similar, the two Eastern ones are similar in their team distribution, too. It’s a clear 1st place team (Buffalo), a 2nd seed with a decent lead ahead of 3 and 4 (Montreal), with Toronto and Hamilton in close fight for the last playoff spot and New England in the position of Baltimore of a team looking from the outside in. Buffalo is the only Atlanta chaser in the East, meaning that their position of a division lead is very likely not expected to be challenged, and this position bodes very well for a decent run in the playoffs for the Stampede. Montreal in the 2nd spot is the current winner of the sweepstakes for the rest of the division, and while their lead isn’t as nice as Manhattan’s (Manhattan leads current 3rd Tampa by 8 points with a game in hand, Montreal has 6 points on 3rd Toronto with 1 game more), it is at least a bit of a cushion to work with, which wasn’t really the case for any of the teams until about this point. The Toronto/Hamilton fight is not as close as the Tampa/Philly one either, with Toronto leading by 3 points with 2 games in hand, meaning Hamilton really needs a great week for themselves to keep the chances of a good 1st round matchup alive, and while New England thought valiantly, they fell off the rest of the division by the end of week 2 and while they recovered and kept a decent record in week 3, it wasn’t quite enough to claw back any of the lost points, meaning that they likely are the unlucky ones of the bunch.

Eastern Conference – The Two Towers

While West’s messy placements influenced the seeds 1 and 2 of the playoffs, East has most of their chaos concentrated on the seeds 3 and 4, and on teams trying to claw into the 3rd spot for a considerably easier matchup for themselves. Atlanta and Buffalo are going to be very clear candidates for a conference final, with the only somewhat likely challenger Manhattan with their knack for beating Atlanta for no good reason other than that they can. The rest of the division is just hoping to slide into that seed 2 – seed 3 match for a chance to get out of the round 1, and then attempt to upset the two top teams. The seeding as of right now looks as following:

A1 Atlanta – WC2 Hamilton
NE1 Buffalo – WC1 Philly
A2 Manhattan – A3 Tampa Bay
NE2 Montreal – NE3 Toronto

Again, the difference for someone like Tampa to play either Buffalo or Manhattan as their round 1 matchup is massive, and everyone is going to be hoping for that 3rd seed in their division to avoid the top team matchup. Wildcards in East are not much stronger than the wildcards in the West, but intra divisional games are going to be a bit closer (mostly down to seeds 2 being weaker in the East, compare 4th in East Montreal and 4th in West Chicago), meaning that possible upsets exist more within East than the West.

That should be it from me for weeks 2 and 3, next week I shall maybe do some very unfortunate playoff predictions. Until then!

Manhattan Rage | General Manager
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Absolutely solid writeup! Gonna be interesting to see how things shake out at the end

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S66 Damian Littleton


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Montreal waking up Patriotes

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Let's go Texas! 

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