Some of us get a classic NHL playoff matchup, say, the Bruins and the Canadians, and some of us get Wings/Predators.
In any event, here are a few items regarding Detroit, and what has become a rather remarkable run by General Manager Ken Holland: In his ten seasons on the job, Holland has iced teams which have racked up 100+ points nine times (the year they didn't they had 93 and still won their division),, have won the NHL Central Division 8 times, have won the Western Conference title 5 times, have won the Presidents Trophy 4 times, and have won the Stanley Cup two times. His career winning percentage as Wings GM is .672. By comparison, the Wings teams which set an NHL record which still stands by finishing first in the regular season standings seven straight years between 1948-49 and 1954-55 posted a winning percentage of .664 during that unprecedented run. So those clubs, those great Detroit clubs of the 1950’s, were almost as good as the teams assembled by Holland these past ten seasons.
Here are a couple of notes about the Wings/Predators match up which begins here in Detroit tonight, courtesy of NHL Public Relations. My thoughts in italics:
- There have been, since 1994 when San Jose upset Detroit in seven games, eight occasions in the Stanley Cup playoffs where the #8 seed defeated the #1 seed. The most recent occurrence came in 2006 when Edmonton shocked Detroit with a first-round upset. How many times has the 8 beaten the 1 in the NBA playoffs? Twice, isn’t it? If you know the answer, post it up here on the blog. If you know why it happens way more in the NHL than it does in the NBA, I think we’d all like to know that, too!
- There are seven Predators still on the Nashville club who were with the team in 2004, when, in the first playoff appearance in franchise history, Detroit ko’d ‘em in six. There are ten Red Wings on the current roster who appeared in that series four years ago.
- Of 271 NHL playoff series in the past twenty years, this is only the sixth in which each team boasts a goalie who appeared in at least 45% of his teams games during the regular season.
- Adam Hall’s goal 16 seconds into Game 1 against Detroit in 2004, in the Predators first-ever playoff game, is the quickest ever surrendered by Detroit in a post-season game. For the record, the Wings record for fastest goal from the start of a playoff game was set by some guy named Gordie Howe, who scored :09 after the puck was dropped against Toronto on April 1, 1954 against former Detroit goalie Harry Lumley.
While the Wings are starting the playoffs tonight at home, the Tigers are hoping to start a winning streak on the road. You could call last night’s 7-2 Fenway Park victory over the Red Sox, “The Seven Million Dollar Win” and here’s why. With a 2008 payroll, according to Associated Press, of 138.7 million dollars, it costs Detroit about $856,000 in salary every time they play a game. Detroit’s played 8 games now, so they’ve paid out 6.8 million dollars in salary. Round it up and that makes the cost of last night’s win — Detroit’s only win this season, of course — roughly seven million dollars.