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Friday, April 19, 2013

An Ice Life: The Playoff Push

Wild on Sports
An Ice Life: The Playoff Push
By Wild on Sports Analyst Brian Peirce

I was recently asked, what do you think is going to happen with the playoff races? A fair question, with the short season and everything being as tight as hell, curious fans want to know if their team will make it into the post season. I could go in depth with every team that has a chance, as some bloggers have, and then put in my two cents but I find that absurd. I have read them say the remaining schedule and then make judgment calls, which come down to gut feelings about the past of teams.

It would be hypocritical of me to do that, because I said at the beginning of the year that it would come down to last game of the season. It was like that in the recent years with the 3-point nights and 82 game seasons. With the shorter season, it was going to be worse, and it will come down to tiebreakers, especially in the west. With about one week to go, it is apparent that the Rangers, Jets, and Sabers are in a race for the last spot and you can throw in the Flyers and Devils if they were to win out and get some help. Though statistically, the Rangers have an 81.6% of making the playoffs while only a 38.3% for Winnipeg. All the others have less than a 1.2% chance of making it in the east making it less likely to have fireworks.

The West is more interesting and has the big story line of what will happen to Detroit’s active record playoff streak. As a Detroit fan, I was mad as hell the lockout did not wipe out the whole season because I knew this team could easily miss the playoffs. They could be consistent enough through 82 games to make it, but might not be for this short schedule. There have been at least half a dozen blown games and moments in the season where they could have already had this locked up. Most analysts still think they will make the playoffs, but I am not one of them and maybe it is just the pessimism. They might have made it if they had DeKeyser the entire year as well, but they did not and they blew easy points. Now they are a team that seems overconfident and not confident at the same time who has a huge final week that is very busy and ends playing in Dallas who is their most likely competitor for the eighth spot. Detroit still can make it with 100% chance if they win every game, so they control their own fate still, but currently have 40.3% chance.

It is not all about Detroit and the streak. Columbus is currently the eighth seed and has a 40.4% chance of making the playoffs and a 100% chance of blowing everyone’s mind if they make it when Detroit does not. Detroit holds the tiebreaker as of right now, but you have to think the Bobrovsky could power them to the postseason. He should also be the Vezina trophy winner and MVP if they make it, but he never will because there is too much love for Sid even though no single player will meant more to any team then “Bobby.” Then there is Phoenix, who needs this to try to keep people interested, has a 2.9% chance of making the playoffs and could make it by winning out. They will need 55 points to make it. Dallas has a 22.7% chance to make it and really can afford to give up two points and still make it for sure as long as those two points aren’t to Detroit in the last game to give them 57 points.

So you can see that anyone who gets hot over the last five games is the most likely to make it, and so it really is a crap shoot. You can see teams at the bottom blow out desperate teams and every night can bring total havoc to what people expect out of the final standings. I imagine that everyone who said Detroit was surly in, are currently rethinking it after a horrible loss to Calgary. If Columbus loses tonight it will make a huge impact, and you can say that about almost every single game left.


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