Occasional colleague Dennis King and I had an exchange on Twitter after last night’s game:
@mc79hockey there's no point; this season is over anyway so just hope all hands get healthy so you can see full potential and go from there
— Dennis King (@DKingBH) October 30, 2013
The thing is – I don’t really agree with Dennis that the season’s over. Teams have stretches of eight points in 14 games and make the playoffs with some frequency.
The 2005-06 Habs went through an eight in 14 stretch in about mid-season. They recovered to make the playoffs with 93 points. They would like have won their series with Carolina that year were it not for an untimely inj…this probably isn’t helping moods so let’s move along.
In 2007-08, Calgary had an eight in 14 stretch early in the season. They recovered to make the playoffs with 94 points.
The Flames were joined by the Wild in recovering from a prolonged horrific early season start in 2007-08 as the Wild went through an eight in 14 and still ended up at 104 points.
Over in the Eastern Conference, Philadelphia made it to 95 points after enduring an eight in 14. Washington went through an awful stretch to start their season in which they weren’t getting any goaltending or breaks. Nothing was going in, nothing was staying out. They had an eight in 14 as part of a twelve points in 23 games stretch. 94 points and a playoff spot.
In 2008-09, Montreal went through an eight in 14 that turned into a 10 in 16 stretch. 93 points and a playoff spot. The Rangers had one of these stretches later that season and made the playoffs with 95 points. Pittsburgh had a bunch of these stretches in 2008-09 and it ultimately led to a 12 points in 20 game stretch. The Pens finished with 99 points (and a new coach) and won the Stanley Cup.
In the West that year, St. Louis endured a couple of eight in 14 stretches that turned into a 13 points in 20 games stretch. They finished with 92 points and a playoff spot.
In 2009-10, Boston actually managed a six points in 14 stretch and still made the playoffs with 91 points. This was part of a stretch in which the Bruins were winless in ten. Philadelphia trumped that with a nine in 18 stretch that included a couple of eight in 14s. The Flyers squeaked in with 88 points but went to the Finals.
The 2010-11 Sabres managed eight points in their first 14 games. They recovered to make the playoffs with 96 points. So did the Kings later in the year and they still cruised in with 98 points.
13 playoff teams in the seven full seasons since 2005-06 have had runs like this, many of them worse. It’s not the normal thing but then runs like this tend to involve some element of bad luck. It’s pretty easy to see how the Oilers could be around .500 right now and people would look at the injuries and the schedule and think that that’s not so bad.
All of that said, they really can’t afford a hole that’s much deeper. They’re already going to need some breaks to get out of this but, hard as it may be to believe, the hockey gods don’t just taketh away. They also occasionally giveth.
So, uh, any time now…Email Tyler Dellow at firstname.lastname@example.org