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Holland: Wings, Sharks not as far apart as one might think

I don’t want this to get buried in the game-day thread, because it’s absolutely stellar: Red Wings GM Ken Holland spoke to the Hockey News’s Ken Campbell about the Wings’ margin for error in the playoffs on a historical basis, as it applies to their series against the Sharks, which they trail 2—0 heading into tonight’s game (8 PM EDT, FSD/CSN Bay Area/TSN2/WXYT/“Joined in Progress” by Versus) :

He points to the 1995-96 Red Wings, a team that rolled through the regular season with 62 wins and 131 points, then lost in the conference final to the Colorado Avalanche. Then he jumps to the next year, when the Wings had 24 fewer wins and 37 fewer points, then went on to win the first of two consecutive Stanley Cups.

“We were playing keep away most of that season,” Holland says of the ’95-96 team. “One night we went into Calgary and we beat them 4-0, they had 14 shots on home ice. We had the ‘Russian Five’ and nobody could get the puck from us.”

So what does that have to do with Game 3 of the Red Wings second round series against the San Jose Sharks? Well, Holland tells that tale to illustrate how slim the margin is between winning and losing. Then he takes his pen out and draws an imaginary line at the top of the wall.

“People think the difference between the team that wins the Stanley Cup and everybody else is here to here,” he says, drawing another line about three feet below. Then he draws another about three inches below the top line and says, “It’s really between here and here. So what am I saying?” he asks, now putting his thumb and forefinger together. “The difference is about this much.”

Continued

Update: And speaking of the past, former Wing Darren McCarty engaged in a pre-game interview on WBBL’s Huge Show:


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Comments

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

I’m not sure how anyone could think that two one goal games that came down to good bounces one way and not the other means the teams are very far apart.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 05/04/11 at 08:03 PM ET

MsRedWinger's avatar

Geez, this article repeated the fiction that Niemi has been the better goaltender.  I’m with you, George - Jimmah has been better.  Niemi hasn’t been tested yet.  Hopefully, later this evening…

LET’S GO RED WINGS !!!!!

Posted by MsRedWinger from Flori-duh on 05/04/11 at 08:11 PM ET

WestWing's avatar

I’m not sure how anyone could think that two one goal games that came down to good bounces one way and not the other means the teams are very far apart.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 05/04/11 at 06:03 PM ET

I’m not seeing this huge gulf between the two teams that a lot of other people are either.  Not to say that there aren’t things the Wings can do to better to enhance their chances of winning.  But to say that they’re completely over-matched?  I’ve yet to see that.

I think the size difference between the two teams is an issue in this matchup (you’ll notice that quite often the Wings are forced to make plays with big bodies draped on them).  They need to find a way to be more effective and freeing themselves up to skate to prime scoring areas.

Otherwise I think this is a pretty even match-up.

Posted by WestWing from Portland, Oregon on 05/04/11 at 08:24 PM ET

Avatar

I disagree with you guys. The Sharks have been markedly better than the Wings in this series. Excluding the Datsyuk line, the quality of shots hasn’t been there. In the past, the Wings have countered other teams’ size and physicality factors with speed and puck possession. Todd McClellan (spelling?) has done a great job at shutting down the Wings entry into offensive zone. With Drapes in the line up, I think they’re going to revert to dump-and-chase with his line and try to wear down the D. The second game was probably the most frustrating performance I’ve seen from the Wings in a LONG time.

Posted by Jesters Dead on 05/04/11 at 09:20 PM ET

PaulinMiamiBeach's avatar

. The Sharks have been markedly better than the Wings in this series.

um, that’s what the article says.  better in the two games?  yes.  does that mean they are equivocally a better team in general?  not necessarily.

Posted by PaulinMiamiBeach on 05/04/11 at 09:27 PM ET

Avatar

the fact that they have won 10 out of the last 12 makes them the better team

Posted by deter on 05/04/11 at 10:42 PM ET

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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.