Long, long ago, in the spring of 2006, a time when the Oilers were playoff contenders, James Mirtle wrote a post about hot teams and their chances at the Cup. Mirtle was a big fan of the idea that being hot going into the playoffs mattered; I thought that “hot” teams were frequently “good” teams and that you had to be careful to avoid mixing the two. I wrote two posts on the subject and closed with this:
Being hot is great but it’s not substitute for being good. If you’re looking at a hot team that doesn’t have the goal differential to back up their hotness, in all likelihood, they aren’t a legitimate Cup contender. For those interested, New Jersey is essentially the poster child for this this year-they have a goal differential of -2 and yet have been pretty hot since January 1. An astounding 14 points on shootout wins and overtime losses is what has them where they are. I haven’t followed them closely enough to say for sure but it’s possible that they’ve been propelled forward by the return of Elias-if they were in a huge hole with their goal differential and fixed that, my thoughts on their chances are much different.
James thinks that they’re a better candidate than the Oilers for a post-season run; absent a big goal differential run that I’m unaware of, I can’t see it. One of his other picks, the Ducks…that’s a darkhorse that I can get behind.
If James was a twist the knife guy, he’d point out that Carolina made his hot list. Thanfully he’s not. I always figured that the good media members had some sort of a listserv where they shared this stuff so that they didn’t make each other’s mistakes but it appears not. Would someone mind telling Pierre LeBrun?