Wednesday, April 19, 2006

The Big Mo

I was going to post a pic of Mo Vaughn here but who better to represent momentum then the biggest Mo of them all. Plus its fitting that when I am talking about a team that includes Chelios and Maltby that we use the word Dick.

A few pundits have opined that the Oil have no chance against the Wings because the Wings have been red hot over the past few months (last night's loss was their first regulation loss since March 7th, I believe) while the Oil stumbled down the stretch. Hot versus cold. Mudcrutch had a couple of posts on April 7th and April 9th where he looked at the "hot team" and what that meant going into the playoffs.

What he concluded is that in many cases the hot team was simply the good team. James Mirtle used Tampa as an example of a hot team. Mudcrutch's point was that while Tampa may have been indeed hot going into the playoffs they were just a really good team. When they entered the playoffs that year many did see them as favourites because they were good.

Detroit fits that model as well. Nobody has been hotter over a longer period of time then the Wings but the fact is that they are a very good team that also benefits from a soft schedule.

Finally there are other factors that come into play as well. You have teams that are playing callups in order to evaluate young players for next year. You have teams that are resting players for the playoffs. There are teams that have nothing to play for because they have clinched their spot and are essentially trying not to get hurt. You have others (hello LA) who are playing out the string. Its always difficult to read that last month. In the past years teams have been red hot and have been swept out in the first round. Others have gone in cold and gotten hot.

Which leads us to the big Mo. The baseball adage is that momentum is as strong as your starting pitcher next game (or soemthing like that). Going into Friday who has momentum? Well, Detroit has been on a roll but they are playing a hungry team which has nothing to lose and knows they can play with them. If the Oil win Game One on a bounce and then Roloson stands on his head in game two, then what? Or if Lidstrom fires a bomb from centre that eludes Roloson in game 3 then what?

Its an elusive thing. I think these teams start at even on Friday and in game six ir seven that big penalty kill or save or individual effort will mark that final swing. Between the two you will have injuries, controversial calls, big goals and big saves on both sides.

No comments: