The Columbus Blue Jackets clinched a playoff spot after a thrilling OT victory over the New York Islanders. Well, I don’t know that it was thrilling, exactly. I can’t tell you what the score was or who scored the goal. Scratch that – I say it was a 1-0 OT shutout with Elvis Merzlikins in net and Pierre-Luc Dubois tipping a Zach Werenski shot into the net. That sounds good, no?
Your response is probably, “What the heck are you talking about?”
The Athletic’s Dom Luszczysyn (PAYWALL) employs a model that tries to calculate the overall chance of a team to win a game and how they are projected to do by season’s end based on a myriad of factors. During the regular season, he runs the model thousands of times to come up with his projections. Since March 12, he decided to play out the season. What would happen if he only let the model run once. That’s like real life…only one go through. One roll of the dice. Once for all the marbles. One ring to rule them all, one ri… what?
It’s something that I started following because it was fun, took up about 30 seconds of my day, and let me stay loosely connected to hockey. It’s been necessary for me – hockey is far from the front of my mind.
But something really fun has happened… the dice have come up Jackets pretty often. In real life, the Jackets played 70 games and sit at 81 points with a 33-22-15 record. In Dom’s thought exercise, the Blue Jackets have completed a 10-game stretch at 7-1-2 and sit at 97 points. Playoffs!
What’s the point of all of this?
Well, frankly, if we all live in a simulation and we are simulating things in a simulation, then these results are as good as the simulated real thing.
Also, I simply haven’t really been thinking about the Jackets much lately. Just hasn’t seemed important. But this made me wonder – How did I think the season was going to end? Only 12 games were left. How would it have played out in my mind? How did specific players perform down the stretch? Am I reflecting on a past season or dreaming of playing out the rest of it?
We have other threads to talk about the real world. Let’s use this one to talk about an alternative world. What did you, personally, project for the Jackets? Has it changed with the time away?