Wednesday, January 23, 2013

On the Topic Of Slow Starts to a Shortened Season

While the shortened season does leave little room for error, the fact that some fans and some teams are hovering their hands over the panic buttons may be a little too premature. Sure, the fact some teams have gotten into slumps in the early five-days for play, you just have to look back into history to see that getting off to a slow start isn't a horrible thing....if you have the right parts, of course.

Looking at the last shortened season in 1995, you just have to look at the Stanley Cup champions of that year to see that as long as you get into the playoffs-- it's perfectly fine and you have a shot at winning the whole thing. In fact, the Devils were the 5th seed in the East, having to defeat the 4th, 3rd, and 2nd seeds in the East to win that conference in a total of 16 games before the Finals.

Yet, the bigger thing is that it wasn't until March 30th (Game 33) when they went over .500 for the season and leading to their 22-18-8 record; in a time where the OT loss didn't account for a point. More over than that, after tying their first game, the Devils went to lose three straight and were 3-5-2 in their first 10 and their longest unbeaten streak was seven games It wasn't a cause for overpanic, but I'm sure it was there after the quick losing streak.

Conversely, the Western Conference representitve that year was the Detroit Red Wings, who won the Presidents' Trophy for best record of the league (33-11-4) and played in 14 games before the Finals, to be swept by the Devils in four games. Comparing the stats for the Red Wings to the Devils, the Wings never dipped below .500 after January 24th in their third game of the year, went 7-3-0 in their first ten games with a long-unbeaten streak of 11 games.

Interestingly enough, both teams went 5-4-1 in their last ten games.

What does it all mean?? Well, it's an issue of conservation and patience. While the beginning may look grim to some fans, owners, GMs, etc.; the fact remains that in the last short-season, it didn't really matter the quick start you got off to or not; just making the playoffs was enough to give a team hope. Of course, with the game changing in conditioning and technology; teams may want to not wait as long as March 30th to finally crack the .500 mark.

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