Thursday, April 20, 2006
This is Johnny Gottselig, captain of the 1937-1938 Chicago Blackhawks. They had a record of 14 wins, 25 losses and 9 ties in their 48 game season for a total of 37 points, 30 behind the first place Boston Bruins.
And they won the Cup.
Why I'm picking the Oil:
1/The regular season means nothing. I could go on (and probably already have in past posts) with example after example of high flying regular season teams that met their ends quickly in the playoffs. Minnesota over Chicago in 1991 when the Hawks had 38 more points in the regular season. The failures of the Wings the past two playoffs when they were the top seed in the West etc etc.
2/ The Wings are just not that good. 44 out of 48 points from the three weak sisters in their division. Did they earn those points fair and square? Sure they did. But can you honestly look at a Wings team with Manny Legace and Chris Osgood between the pipes and a 44 year old pulling down major minutes on the blue line, not to mention Cory Cross and Jason Woolley patrolling the defensive zone, and tell me that this team is unbeatable. They are flawed. The Oil were a far weaker team in years past and the Stars stronger then this Wings' team and the Oil still almost pulled off upsets, even with Salo in net. The gap between these two teams is not that big.
3/ The Oil match up well with this team. The Oil can skate and both teams that beat the Wings out the last two playoffs were strong skating teams as well. The Oil are deep.. They can roll four decent lines. Chicago, Columbus and St. Louis can barely roll four between them. They split the season series and for good reason.
4/ The vet factor is overrated. Sure Yzerman, Shanny, Chelly etc etc have been through the wars. Hasn't helped them the last two playoffs against a couple of pretty green teams. Nor did it help Team Canada at the Olympics.
5/ It always comes down to goaltending and while I really do like Manny Legace he has never had to do this before. Roloson has and has done well and that counts for something. Legace might be alright but the edge in net goes to the Oil and nothing is bigger.
6/ The injury factor - Datsyuk is hurting and Schneider is nursing a sore groin. That's a couple of pretty big hits to take. Groin injuries don't just go away.
7/ The age factor - when game five rolls around how are Lidstrom (35), Schneider (37), Chelios (44), Woolley (36) and Cross (35) going to be holding up? Not to mention Yzerman, Lang and Shanahan. The Oil are going to play physical and while they are not a bunch of youngsters their key guys are all a lot younger then the Wings' guys with a few exceptions - Zetterberg etc.
The Oil have to play disciplined and they have to play their game. If they do and I think they will ...
Oil in 6
Posted by Black Dog at 9:13 AM