The Malik Report
by George Malik on 01/16/13 at 08:54 PM ET
The Globe and Mail's Eric Duhatschek picked Red Wings GM Ken Holland on one of his favorite topics--parity in the salary-capped NHL--and Holland (as well as several players who've played on parity-driven Cup champions in Kings defenseman Rob Scuderi and former Hurricanes Erik Cole and Mike Commodore) was more than willing to help Duhatschek frame the abbreviated 48-game 2013 season as one in which the only thing which separates a Cup favorite from an also-ran is a razor-thin margin:
“Somebody asked me the other day, ‘who are the Cup contenders?’ and my answer was, ‘the Cup contenders are the 16 teams that make the playoffs,’” Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland said. “If you make the playoffs, you’ve got a chance to win the Stanley Cup. In ’05, when the salary-cap world came into being, part of that was for economics, but part of it was for parity – to give everybody an opportunity. That’s the beauty of the league right now. It’s wide open.
The Red Wings represent the closest thing to a dynasty in the current era. They were one of only two teams to make the playoffs every year between lockouts. They have managed 100 or more points for 12 years in a row and have four Stanley Cup championships in the last 15 years.
In the pre-salary cap era, the Red Wings were the model of how to do it right – spending intelligently, as opposed to other teams with similarly deep pockets that failed to capitalize on the power of their purses. But Holland thinks there’s more to the parity paradox than just dollars and cents.
“The disparity between the best and the worst players in the league, in relation to 10 or 20 years ago, is far less than it once was,” Holland said. “Then you think about coaching. We call it ‘backside pressure’ now, but all it really is, is back checking. When you think back to the 1990s, how often would you see a three-on-two? How often do you see odd-man rushes now?
“Then you see the D-zone coverage and all the shot-blocking that goes on. Then you think about the goaltending and how that’s evolved. I think everybody is better managed. Coaches are going to seminars and sharing information. The Europeans, they used to come over and were a little awed and intimidated at first. Well now, with the world juniors and Olympics and all the games they play here, when the Europeans come over, they’re ready to go.
“When you start to put down the laundry list of all the things that changed, it adds up to parity. It adds up to a league that’s really close – where every night, it’s a one-goal game. Somebody’s going to make the playoffs in a photo finish and somebody’s going to miss the playoffs in a photo finish and the team that misses, if they had gotten in, they might have gone on a playoff run.”
Continued, and as you might imagine, the article's worth your time.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.