Stoney Point - March 22, 2014 - The Detroit Red Wings are in tough to keep their streak alive. If the playoffs started this morning Mike Babcock’s team would have been on the outside looking in for the first time since the 1989-90 season. At the time of this writing, they are sitting in the second wild card spot. To put into perspective how long the streak has been, Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr. were the American Presidents during that season, Brian Mulroney was the Canadian Prime Minister and Sergei Makarov was the NHL Rookie of the Year. It was three years before future NHL Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne made his way to Winnipeg for that record breaking season and hockey poolies actually did their stats on a spreadsheet based on results from an actual newspaper!
It has been a great run for the Wings and many people in these parts are very concerned that this impressive streak will see an end in less than a month. The city of Detroit and its economy could certainly benefit from hosting some playoff games, so I for one and hoping the Wings can sneak in.
If it started today
Following on the thought process above, we would witness some interesting match-ups if the playoff began today. In the East, the matchups would be Boston/Detroit, Tampa Bay/Montreal, Pittsburgh/Toronto, Philadelphia/NY Rangers. In the West, we would see St. Louis/Phoenix, Chicago/Colorado, San Jose/Minnesota, Anaheim/Los Angeles. These pairings literally change by the hour, so its time to pay extra special attention to the Standings.
Bernier and Bolland getting close
James Reimer will get his fourth consecutive start tonight as the Toronto Maple Leafs host the Montreal Canadiens at the ACC. The Buds appear to be getting healthier as both Jonathan Bernier and Dave Bolland practiced this week and are expected to close to returning to action. Bolland is expected to go tonight and Bernier later in the week.
Bruins keep on winning
Boston won its eleventh straight game last night in Colorado. Stats have shown that over the last three seasons that the average winning streak is just over four games. In those same three seasons, only five winning streaks have hit double digits.
Buds on the brink
For much of the season, the Toronto Maple Leafs appeared to have had a pretty solid grasp on a playoff spot. Not so much any more. History has shown that teams likely need to get 90 to 95 points to make it to the post season. The boys in blue currently have 80 with 11 games to go. That would then imply that they need to play .500 or better to get it done.
I have to say that I am a fan of both Ron MacLean and Don Cherry and any scenario that has less of those guys in the mix next season, is a step backwards for Hockey Night in Canada – in my opinion. MacLean has proven to be the consummate professional who is well-liked and enjoyed by Canadians from coast-to-coast. Hopefully, the powers-that-be will revisit their decision in the months ahead.
As part of the MacLean announcement, HNIC announced that they will introduce a new segment called Hometown Hockey. Obviously, we think it is a great name!
Enjoy the Saturday night slate of games everyone.