Tonight, I watched about half of the Kings-Coyotes play-off hockey game. I think that this should be the poster child for why hockey season is (statistically) too short.
Coming into the season, the Kings were a Stanley Cup contender. However, when the season began my team simply failed to find the net. Throughout the early going, the Kings were not in the Western Conference’s Top 8. Coach Terry Murray was fired by New Year’s, to be replaced by Darryl Sutter. Our new coach, of Viking, Alberta’s famed Sutter clan, had not coached an NHL game in over six years. Sutter did inject some new life into the team. We started scoring a little more, but we weren’t lighting the world on fire. Then we made the Jeff Carter trade. We got better, and we went on a hot streak in March before ending the season in eighth.
Come play-off time, the Kings played phenomenally. Who could have thought that the 8 seed would win eleven of its first twelve play-off games, playing all three of the Western Conference’s division winners? The Kings have simply been electric. But why?
It’s possible that the Kings were this good all along, but they just hadn’t had enough time to figure it out yet. On the other hand, teams go through ups and downs all the time, and maybe this is just an extended run of uppityness. (I know I misused the word, but bear with me.) Why weren’t the Kings playing like this before? If they had, they probably would have won their division. Considering how tightly clumped the Kings, Coyotes, Sharks, and Stars were, they would have won easily. Who knows?
I believe that this is further proof that the NHL needs to consider lenghthening its regular season. If there are this many upsets play-off upsets as there are on a consistent basis, isn’t a major hint that the sample size is too small? (For mathematical proof, see my “Why Hockey Seasons and Basketball Seasons Should Not Be the Same Length” post from Monday.)
On the other hand, maybe the NHL could just move the trade deadline forward…but that’s another topic for another day.
P.S. This is a historic post in that it was the first that I have written for Fanfare Sports Blog as opposed to rmummery. Enjoy!
P.P.S. I intentionally misused the word “uppityness” for a reason. In seventh grade, that was the word I missed in the county spelling bee, and I really wanted to use it. That’s all.