At the start of the NHL season I listed 22 reasons why the Detroit Red Wings may not make the playoffs. With the Olympics putting everything on hold for a couple of weeks, now seems like a good time to review my list as the Red Wings currently occupy the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference.
Looking back I’ll admit some of the reasons I wrote back then were a bit foolish, but there are certain ones that do hold a lot of weight. I should also mention that back in September I said at least half of these need to be true for the Red Wings to miss the playoffs.
The statistic in the parenthesis will keeping track of which reasons are likely to be true by the end of season. Again, the goal is to stay under 11 out of 22. Here we go.
The Detroit Red Wing won’t make the playoffs if…
22. There isn’t an octopus thrown at Joe Louis Arena on opening night, October 2nd.
- This one was guaranteed to happen. (0 for 1)
21. The Detroit Tigers win the World Series and the Detroit Pistons make the playoffs.
- The Tigers failed so (0 for 2), but I’m still holding out hope on the Pistons.
20. Joe Louis Arena has a capacity percentage for the season below 90 percent.
- The Joe has been sold out for every game this season. (0 for 3)
19. The Buffalo Sabres and Ottawa Senators both finish with more than 95 points.
- The Sabres are at 38 points, last in the Eastern Conference. It’s mathematically impossible for the Sabres to reach 95 points with 26 games remaining. (0 for 4)
18. Niklas Kronwall averages less than 15 minutes of ice time per game.
- Kronwall hasn’t been the issue this season. He was played in 56 of the 58 games averaging 24:15 minutes of ice time per game. (0 for 5)
17. They have a 7 game pointless streak any time during the season.
- In November the Wings had that 7 game losing streak but picked up 5 points by losing games in overtime or shootouts. (0 for 6)
16. They rank worse than 25th in the NHL in scoring on the power play.
- The Wings rank 22nd in the NHL at 16.5%, close but not true. (0 for 7)
15. They rank worse than 25th in the NHL in allowing other teams to score on the power play.
- The Wings rank 10th in the NHL at 83%, not even close. (0 for 8)
14. They have more than 1,000 penalty minutes as a team at the end of the season.
- Only 522 penalty minutes currently, that’s 5th best in the NHL. (0 for 9)
13. They lose 15 or more games in overtime and shootouts combined.
- This one is up in the air. They are at 12 loses right now. Getting 3 more in 24 games is possible so I’ll mark this one as true. (1 for 10)
12. A player scores more than 60 goals during the season.
- The team leader is Henrik Zetterberg at 16, so this isn’t going to happen. (1 for 11)
11. Gustav Nyquist and Joakim Andersson both end up with the same point totals as last season (6 and 8 respectively).
- Nyquist’s hot streak has him at 24 points so far. But, Andersson has been rather disappointing this season with only 13 points in 52 games. I’m going to make this one as true because of Andersson’s performance so far. (2 for 12)
10. They get fewer than 30 points out of the 30 games they have against their Atlantic Division opponents.
- The Wings record against Atlantic opponents is (9-6-5). That’s 23 points through 20 games. So, they are on pace to keep this claim false. (2 for 13)
9. Justin Abdelkader spends more time in the penalty box for fighting than he does standing in front of the net.
- Abdelkader has 27 penalty minutes, 0 for fighting. But, I’m going to make another exception and make this one true. While Abby has showed off his world-class speed, the Wings need Abby to grind more in front of the net and look for rebounds. (3 for 14)
8. Stephen Weiss puts up similar numbers as he had last year as Florida Panther.
- 100% true, no exception needed here. Weiss stats in 2012-13: 17 games, 1 goal, 3 assists, plus/minus of -13. Weiss stats so far in 2013-14: 26 games, 2 goals, 2 assists, plus/minus of -4. (4 for 15)
7. Daniel Alfredsson gets moved up to play on the 1st line.
- At times Alfredsson has had to move up to the 1st line because of all the injuries. (5 for 16)
6. Brendan Smith and Danny DeKeyser have a plus/minus rating below -15 combined at the end of season.
- Smith is at -4 and DeKeyse is at 4. So, they have canceled each other out. (5 for 17)
5. They come away pointless in their 5 games with the Florida Panthers.
- The Panthers did their best to make this one true but the Wings took care of business to grab 6 out of the possible 10 points. (5 for 18)
4. They lose more than half of their games at Joe Louis Arena.
- The Wings record at the Joe (11-11-8). 11 wins to 19 loses, it would take an incredible surge late to stop this one from being true. (6 for 19)
3. Jimmy Howard lets in an average of 3 goals or more per game.
- Howard has had a roller-coaster season, but holds a goal against average at 2.65 per game. (6 for 20)
2. Mike Babcock gets fired.
- The organization can’t fire a head coach who is doing the best he can with players constantly rotating in and out of the line-up due to injuries. (6 for 21)
1. Pavel Datsyuk or Henrik Zetterberg get seriously injured and miss a majority of the season.
- Speak of the devil. Ongoing injuries have caused Pavel and Hank to miss a combined 34 games. (7 for 22)
It wasn’t pretty, but the Red Wings past my list I made at the beginning of the season with 4 points to spare. Strangely enough, they also have a 4 point spread against the 5 teams chasing them down for that last playoff spot in the East.
If anything is certain it’s that the last stretch of the season is going to be drama filled and nerve-racking.
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