Sports Simulation Board Games
6th Annual "Commissioner's Surprise" HOCKEY BLAST Tournament, ONLINE 10.27.20 through 11.19.20
TV Time-Out: Taking a break in "Sweet Sixteen" HOCKEY BLAST action, October 26, 2019. (From left, seated) Mark Russell, Joe Petrafassi, Steve Tower;(from left, standing) Bobby McGill, Bill Sauerbier, Ken Castro, John Veruzzo, Pete Adams. This was the last live PLAAY Games event before everything was locked down because of the pandemic.
After taking the show on the road to Las Vegas NV, Hamilton ON, Pittsburgh PA and Boston MA, this year's "Commissioner's Surprise" HOCKEY BLAST Tournament was "safer at home," a 100% online, cooperative tabletop hockey event that the entire PLAAY Games community was invited to be part of, no matter WHERE you live!
We held our first tournament in Denver in 2016. You can read more about it here. The idea is, it's sort of like the NCAA's March Madness tournament: EVERY team has a chance to win it all! EVERY pro team from the 2019-20 HOCKEY BLAST Pro Season card set is included in our annual tournament. It's single-elimination, and the match-ups are completely random—we literally drew them out of a hat after the LIVE PLAAY-In Game on YouTube, Thursday, October 22nd!
The previous year's real-life championship series teams always get a first round bye for this tournament, so it was Tampa Bay and Dallas earning the byes this year. The pro league's expansion to Las Vegas a couple years ago gives us an un-even number of teams (31), so we altered our format just a little bit for the event. We kicked off the tournament with a "PLAAY-in" game between the bottom two pro teams from the 2019-20 season, Detroit and San Jose, streamed live (as mentioned above) on the PLAAY Games YouTube Channel. The winner of that game joined the other 27 first-round teams (see pairings and results below).
2019-20 "Commissioner's Surprise" HOCKEY BLAST Tournament Updates
The tournament pairings were announced Thursday night, October 22nd after the completion of the PLAAY-In game between San Jose and Detroit. Tournament play is now complete, with results posted below. Teams in blue BOLD advanced to next round, person(s) who played the game in [brackets]...
- Game ZERO, Detroit 1, at San Jose 2 : What a game! Detroit goalie Bernier single-handedly kept the Wings in the game, but Timo Maier managed to sneak one past him in the final minute sending San Jose into the tournament. We streamed this game live on the PLAAY Games YouTube Channel, using Tabletop Simulator.
- Game ONE, Minnesota 2, at New Jersey 4 [Derek Jones]: Physical from the get-go with 9 penalty events, 2 fights (almost a third), 44 total PIMs. New Jersey scored twice on the power play late in the first and pretty much controlled things from there, holding Minnesota to only 19 shots. Miles Wood led the way for the Devils with a goal and an assist.
- Game TWO, Washington 3, at Calgary 2 [Tim Lucas]: Ovechkin's goal with 4:00 to play in the game was the game-winner. Calgary's Matthew Tkachuk tried to send it to OT, but found none of the net and all of the post as time expired.
- Game THREE, Arizona 0, at New York ISL 2 [Giorgio Salvadego]: A very balanced game, but in the second period New York was able to score on two "can't miss" opportunities—and that was the game.
- Game FOUR, Florida 2, at Montreal 4 [Ed Meek]: A stellar save by Carey Price early in the second period, followed by two straight Montreal goals, one on the power play, erased a Florida 2-0 lead and the Habs never looked back.
- Game FIVE, Vancouver 2, at Philadelphia 3 (OT) [Rob Gallamore]: Vancouver's Elias Pettersson ties it at 2-2 with just 46 seconds left to play with the goalie pulled to force overtime. Claude Giroux picks up his second of the night just 23 seconds into OT to give the Flyers a huge 3-2 win!
- Game SIX, Anaheim 1, at Colorado 2 (OT) [Travis Jansen.]: Anaheim led 1-0 most of the game, but the Avs tied it late and Colorado's Ratanen scored the game winner in the first minute of OT.
- Game SEVEN, Toronto 1, at Boston 3 [Jamie Watkins]: Boston's first line rolls, Bergeron with two goals, Marchand with three assists, Pastrnak a goal and two assists. Nylander with the lone goal for the Leafs.
- Game EIGHT, Chicago 1, at Carolina 2 (OT) [Eric Minor]: Teravainen from Aho and Slavin with the OT goal!
- Game NINE, Buffalo 3, at Nashville 4 (OT) [Chris Hoffman]: Buffalo took a 2-0, first period lead on a great shot from Kyle Okposo and a power play goal from Victor Olofsson, but a 5-on-3 advantage (second period) allowed the Preds to tie the score 2-2. A very intense OT featured spectacular saves from both goalies, a fight, and Bonino's one-timer for the winning goal in the sixth minute.
- Game TEN, Pittsburgh 1, at Los Angeles 2 (OT) [Derek Jones]: Watch this game on YouTube! Anze Kopitar gets the winner on the power play 7:54 into the extra session. Jonathan Quick makes 40 saves, including a spectacular save two minutes into overtime.
- Game ELEVEN, Vegas 1, at New York RGR 3 [Jeff Tomlinson]: 1-1 defensive battle until 7 minutes into the 3rd period. Trouba NYR was given tripping and roughing minor penalties providing Las Vegas with a 4 minute power play. 2 minutes into the penalty kill, Adam Fox cleared the puck into the Vegas end but it hit Brayden McNabb’s skate deflecting the puck into the post and into the net for a short handed goal.
- Game TWELVE, Edmonton 5, at Winnipeg 1 [Michael Owens]: Winnipeg opened the scoring at 2:40 of the first period, Matthieu Perrault, unassisted. All downhill from there. Third period, total domination by the Oilers outshoting the Jets 22-5.
- Game THIRTEEN, St. Louis 4, at Ottawa 1 [Steve Heller]: It was 2-0 in the 15th minute of the final period when Ottawa scored to make it interesting. But the Blues got an empty netter and then another one soon after to put it away.
- Game FOURTEEN, San Jose 3, at Columbus 2 (OT) [Steve Heller]: San Jose wins it 3-2 in the 9th minute of overtime as Marcus Sorensen puts one past Joonas Korpisalo. Columbus led 2-0 (both goals by Oliver Bjorkstrand) with 10 minutes to go in the game and it looked over. But Evander Kane scored and then Timo Meier tied it up in the 17th minute.
SECOND ROUND, "Sweet Sixteen"
- Game FIFTEEN, St. Louis 1, at Boston 4 [Steve Tower]: We played this game as the concluding event of our "All Hallows' Eve Spook-tacular!"
- Game SIXTEEN, Philadelphia 3, at Tampa Bay 2 [Jamie Watkins]: Laughton scores in the 16th minute of OT to secure the win. Hart was four-for-four on Spectacular Saves, the fourth giving some extra momentum to the OT GWG. Stamkos had both Bolts goals.
- Game SEVENTEEN, Los Angeles 2, at San Jose 1 [Ed Meek]: Drew Doughty gets the GWG with 2:49 left. Dustin Brown on power play and Anze Kopitar with a pair of assists and the 1st Star. Cal Peterson stopped 29 of 30 shots and is 2nd Star. Time Meier, San Jose goal scorer in the 1st, receives the 3rd Star.
- Game EIGHTEEN, New York ISL 4, at New York RGR 1 [Giorgio Salvadego]: Matt Barzal posted two goals and an assist to lead the visiting team to the third round. Pageau and Eberle scored the other 2 goals. The only score for the Rangers was from Buchnevich.
- Game NINETEEN, Carolina 2 at Colorado 3 [Rob Gallamore]: Tied 0-0 after two periods, Carolina scores twice right after Avs starting goalie Pavel Francouz gets injured to make is 2-1 Carolina with just 4:45 to play. But Colorado gets goals from Nazem Kadri at 17:46, and the game winner from Cale Makar, his third point of the night, with just 24 seconds left on the clock!
- Game TWENTY, New Jersey 3, at Dallas 1 [Chris Hoffman]: New Jersey got on the board late in the first period on a Will Butcher one-timer from the point. The second period had no scoring, but turned nasty with the Devils Mirco Mueller dropping the gloves twice, taking on two different Stars (Benn, Gurianov)! A pair of third period goals (Zacha, Palmieri) extended the NJ lead to 3-0, Dallas scored a meaningless goal in the final minute (Seguin).
- Game TWENTY-ONE, Montreal 2, at Washington 5 [James Cast]: Game detail coming soon!
- Game TWENTY-TWO, Nashville 1, at Edmonton 4 [Derek Jones]: Leon Draisaitl scores two goals and two assists for Edmonton. Zach Kassian and Connor McDavid also scored for the Oilers. Filip Forsberg had Nashville's only goal..
THIRD ROUND, "Elite Eight"
- Game TWENTY-THREE, Philadelphia 4, at Colorado 3 [Steve Heller]: The teams traded three goals in three minutes in the 2nd (Flyers 2-1) but Colorado tied it up in the last minute to tie it up. In the third, Sean Couterier scored in the 8th minute (his second of the game) to give the Flyers a 3-2 lead. Colorado kept the pressure on Carter Hart but could not score. The Avs pulled Grubauer with about a minute and half to go. Lindblom got an empty netter for Philadelphia to seemingly put it away. But on the face-off the Avs dumped it in and Landeskog got a quick goal. Alas, they could not get the puck back and the Flyers will move on. .
- Game TWENTY-FOUR, Boston 4, at New Jersey 3 [Tim Lucas]: Depth makes the difference! Nick Ritchie scores a hat trick to advance the Bruins to the Final Four. A third period rally by the Devils proves too little too late.
- Game TWENTY-FIVE, Washington 3, at Edmonton 2 [Jeff Tomlinson]: Washington scored twice in the first six minutes of play and held off Edmonton. Edmonton took too many penalties and didn't get on the board until 8 minutes left in the game. They poured it on for the remainder of the game but couldn't make up the 3 goal deficit.
- Game TWENTY-SIX, Los Angeles 0, at New York ISL 3 [Giorgio Salvadego]: LA was vastly superior in the faceoff circles, but was NYI PP which made the difference. The 2nd line scored twice in PP in the 2nd period with Beauvillier and Nelson.
Barzal put the icing on the cake in the third period. Semion Varlamov earned the second star of the game honor with a 3rd period spectacular save on Martin Frk.
SEMI-FINAL ROUND, "Final Four"
- Game TWENTY-SEVEN, Philadelphia 4, at New York ISL 2 [Jamie Watkins]: Varlamov is injured in the seconnd minute of the game. Greiss comes in relief and plays well for the remainder of the period. Varlamov comes back for the 2nd, and the Isles wish he hadn't, giving up three goals in the second period. Konecny (two goals, one assist) was the First Star.
- Game TWENTY-EIGHT, Washington 1, at Boston 4 [Ed Meek]: Tuukka Rask had a great game, stopping 22 of 23 shots. Boston led 3-0 early in the 3rd period before Caps Bully Boy Tom Wilson cut the lead. Bjork opened the scoring in the first, followed by a Ritchie marker in the second and an early goal in the third by Pastrnak. Boston hung on and scored an empty net goal, Krejci with the nail on the coffin with time remaining. Boston outshot Washington 34-23.
Game TWENTY-NINE, Philadelphia 1, at Boston 4 [Mike Vacco and Steve Tower, Streamed live on the PLAAY Games YouTube Channel, Tuesday November 17]: With a crowd of PLAAY Gamers watching LIVE, Mike Vacco coached Philly while Steve Tower handled Boston. The B's top line of Pastrnak, Marchand and Bergeron was deadly: they combined for a goal in the opening minute of play, and then did it again to begin the second period! In between, a DeBrusk goal with help from Krejci added to the big hole Philly found itself in. The Flyers finally found the net with Van Riemsdyk, five minutes left to play. Philly got the puck right back and created a solid scoring chance, but Halak shut the door and that, as they say, "was all she wrote." Boston wins its second Surprise Championship in three years! Thanks to everyone who participated, either as a game contributor, spectator or follower! Be sure to LIKE the video!