Tuesday, November 19, 2013

There is a real easy way for the Red Wings to deal with their "slump"

The NHL, evidently, likes it this way. Everybody gets a point. Few teams separate themselves one way or another. It creates a log jam in the middle. Practically every team is in the playoff race. It makes late March and early April compelling for teams which would, otherwise, be bottom feeders.
There are times, however, when the NHL's overtime rule, which allows for a point for a tie, and an extra point to be decided in overtime or a shootout, is just annoying and not particularly telling.
The Red Wings will head into their game tonight at Joe Louis Arena vs. the Nashville Predators with a 9-5-7 record. They have 25 points, which is tied for fourth-most in the Eastern Conference. They are just three points behind Atlantic Division leader Tampa Bay with equal games played.
Yet, if you look at the standings, under the NHL's system under streaks, it says "L6," suggesting the Red Wings have lost their last six games.
Technically, they have. Well, technically, they haven't. It's bizarre.
Five of those six losses were in overtime or a shootout, meaning the Red Wings got five out of a possible 12 points. So, in a sense, they have been essentially .500 in those games.
It's the same with the Red Wings so-called "seven-game losing streak at home, their worst since 1982."
The Red Wings have lost six of those games in overtime or a shootout, meaning they have procured six of a possible 14 points. In 1982, before overtime was implemented, those seven losses meant a big zero.
Gustav Nyquist: Every goal, assist at Grand Rapids needed in Detroit
Now, a case can be made the Red Wings gave extra points to Eastern Conference foes like the NY Rangers, Tampa Bay, Washington and the NY Islanders over this span. True. But the damage isn't nearly as severe as the losing streaks suggest. For example, the fact Pavel Datsyuk scored with 42 seconds left in regulation Saturday vs. the Islanders to secure a point was far more important than the Red Wings eventually losing in a shootout.
Meanwhile, the NHL gets what it wants. Parity. A playoff atmosphere in many cities near the conclusion of the regular season. It was pretty exciting around here last year when the Red Wings roared back to secure a playoff spot during the last week of the regular season. However, a more equitable system in regard to fairness would be three points for a regulation win, two points for an overtime/shootout victory and a point for a regulation overtime/shootout loss.
What's the answer to all this for the Red Wings currently? Win a game. Not in overtime or a shootout. How about in regulation.
The Red Wings haven't played particularly well and need to start gathering points so they aren't fighting for their playoffs lives again this March. Count me among those who feel the Red Wings shouldn't be keeping Gustav Nyquist in Grand Rapids because of waiver issues when he is scoring far more than a point per game, was stellar in the playoffs last spring and would clearly be an upgrade in a couple of spots.
The Red Wings are fortunate they are in the Eastern Conference because right now they would be falling behind in the Western Conference.
Nashville, which visits Joe Louis Arena tonight, and Carolina, on Friday, are both floundering around .500, which in the NHL these days means they are actually something less than that.
Getting two points in these type of home games early in the season would make it much easier late in the season.


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