Kukla's Korner Hockey
by Paul on 10/17/11 at 01:20 PM ET
from Elliotte Friedman of CBC.
A few years ago, I was chatting with a GM about a team that started the NHL season very nicely.
“I believe in the 10-game rule,” he snorted. “You don’t get a true sense of a team in the first 10 games. I don’t put too much into a hot or cold start.”
Well, he’s modified that stance—slightly.
“With the three-point games, teams can’t win the Stanley Cup in the first 10 games of the season,” he said. “But they sure can lose it that quickly.”
Spent a few hours on Sunday looking up the post-lockout standings, picking the date of Nov. 1 for each year. During those six seasons, the difference between eighth place and last place in each conference ranged from four to eight points. That early, it’s difficult to create an incredible amount of separation.
Twenty teams who were not in the top eight on Nov. 1 recovered to make the playoffs. That’s an average of almost 3.5 per season. (Just to clarify, the “Top 8” includes any team with the same point total as the eighth-place team. I wasn’t going into tiebreakers so early in the season.)
Doesn’t seem so bad, right? Depends. The safety net shreds for anyone falling too far behind. Of those 20 teams, guess how many of them were more than three points out?
Two. That’s it.
continued plus 30 Thoughts…
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Paul Kukla founded Kukla’s Korner in 2005 and the site has since become the must-read site on the ‘net for all the latest happenings around the NHL.
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