Personally, I define "contender" as a top-ten team. I don't think there should only be three or four contenders at any time. I call those teams favorites. They're the three or four best teams in the league, but there are six or seven other teams that are good enough to go deep in the playoffs and maybe win it all.
I think the Wings might be one of the ten best teams in the league, if not right now then by deadline time. In this sense, I think you could argue they're contenders. Does that mean I honestly think they're right there with Chicago and Anaheim? Nope. But we're much, much closer to the top than we are to the bottom.
The Wings have played like a top 10 team so far. 10th league-wide in points, 7th league-wide in goals per game, 9th league-wide in goals against per game, 11th league-wide in power play percentage, 2nd league-wide in PK, 12th league wide in shots per game, 2nd league-wide in shots against per game, 3rd league-wide in faceoffs, 4th fewest penalty minutes per game.
By your definiton I'd say they are contenders, and I certainly think they've been a top 10 team league-wide.
I guess I'll define contendor as a team that makes it to the SCF to actually contend directly for the Cup, at least for this post.
Traditionally there has been some value in being a top 4 seed entering the playoffs, although that value has been diminishing pretty steadily in recent years. Since the lockout in 2005, about 75% of teams to reach the Stanley Cup Final were seeded in the top four, although I didn't include last year in this statistic because the new playoff format is convoluted and I don't fully understand it yet. If you use the older playoff model, the Rangers and the Kings from last year would be 5th and 6th seeds respectively, which would make the last 10 years be 12/18 =66%. But whether you include them or not, since 2005, 66-75% of the teams to make it to the SCF have been top four in their conference/top four seeeded. Compare that value to just the past five years and it drops to 5/8=62% (not including last year) or 5/10=50% (including last year with the old model). So there does seem to be a trend developing where more teams from lower in the standings are making it to the finals in recent years. Whether that's actually the case or a statistical anomaly remains to be seen, but its certainly the way the league has designed itself, so I wouldn't be suprised to see this trend continue in the future. So having said that, with the Wings currently sitting in 5th place in the Eastern Conference, we are just on the outside being in that fabled top 4 (more specifically 3 points outside with one game in hand), although the more recent history is more favorable for our odds.
BUT even they do get into the top 4, only 2 teams out of 16 total make it to the Final. Do the Wings have what it takes to be THAT team over all the others, whether top 4 or otherwise? I have no idea. I definitely like our team better than last year. Datsyuk and Zetterberg are still Datsyuk and Zetterberg. Tatar and Nyquist and Sheahan have picked up right where they left off last year, and now have some playoff experience under their belt. Weiss may finally be able to contribute. Howard has been steady. The defense looks much more solid than it did at any point last year, and perhaps most importantly, the Wings have not been plagued by injuries (knock on wood). When you add the fact that we have several assets in the minors that may be able to contribute as black aces or get moved for an established difference-maker at the trade deadline (as we don't have room for all of our prospects on the team and waiver exemption only lasts so long), and it definitely looks better for us than it did last year. At the very least I expect they'll win more than one playoff game.
Posted by Echolalia
on 26 November 2014 - 10:15 PM
Well I didn't think the Helm, Weiss, Jurco line would score and it did, so I'm just going to shut up. But man do I think that Datsyuk, Weiss, Helm line is doomed to failure. None of those guys averages more than about 130-140 shots a year.
Whatever Babcock throws out for his next new line, for the love of god say its going to be terrible. Your words have magic
So I don't know if the site that you use is wrong or if you are but either way id be my left but that there's a lot if fights not recorded. To me any time two people are throwing punches it's a "fight" even if it's more of a scrum.
The site technically wasn't wrong. In the 2013 fight you posted, they were given roughing minors, not fighting majors, which is why it wasn't included on hockeyfights
Posted by Echolalia
on 25 November 2014 - 04:16 PM
Because it's reasonable to assume that both those guys will play a full 82 games this season, or going forward? I'm not skewing stats. I'm going by their totals. Neither of those two will ever play a full 82 games again. So why would you go by their full season projections?
You mentioned that you think the Datsyuk Helm Weiss line is doomed to fail, and followed that up by saying none of the three of them averages more than 130-140 shots/year. That suggests that you expect the line to fail because they allegedly don't shoot the puck much, which is what Son of a Wing addressed by using a much more accurate shots/game average. Their season totals are that low due primarily to injuries, and to use full-season shot total to predict what kind of offensive output we can expect IS skewing stats (or at the very least is a poor choice of statistical values to use). With your value of 135 shots/year, it suggests an average of 1.6 shots/game, which is much lower than what they actually shoot. His response has absolutely nothing to do with playing a full season.
Posted by Echolalia
on 23 November 2014 - 06:51 PM
I posted about this very thing a few days ago. While I don't think you can pin our inconsistency on just one or two things, I'm willing to bet this is the biggest factor.
The thing about a player's "prime" is it's not just some physiological thing that magically happens when you hit a certain age. It's largely just the fact that, being 27, you've been in this league for three or four or five years now. You're experienced, comfortable, confident. You're a veteran. Roughly half our roster isn't there yet, and you can definitely tell.
It does make me excited for what's on the horizon.
edit: for the record, I think its worth mentioning that while we haven't put together a long streak of victories in a row, yet, the Wings are still right in the thick of things, with the teams around us having played more games. This implies that we probably haven't experienced the losing streaks that some of these other teams have endured also.
Posted by Echolalia
on 23 November 2014 - 05:21 PM
That's definitely a theory that I've thought about, but the problem I have with what I'll call the "transition argument" is this...all those guys are playing great. The fourth line is playing awesome, the kids (other than Jurco) are playing very well, the prime guys have been good (minus Helm), and the vets are all playing well. Literally everybody on the team aside from Jurco, Helm, Lashoff, and Kindl are playing great hockey. And we don't really rely on any of those four to win games anyway.
That's what's so irritating about all this for me. Everybody is playing pretty well. We've got a good offense, defense, goaltending, and special teams. And yet we can't string together wins. I just don't get it.
I think everyone's put up some solid strings of games, but I don't think anyone has been able to really consistetly get going. Tatar is currently on fire, but he was cold in the beginning of the season, and right now it seems like Tatar is the only one who is producing. Nyquist has 3 points his last 10 games, but at the beginning of the year every puck he touched hit the back of the net. Zetterberg has been cold lately, Datsyuk hasn't been playing. Really, the only line that has been able play with some consisteny throughout the season has been the fourth line. And I think you really hit the nail on the head in your title in that the Wings have been inconsistent. Maybe not collectively, because there always seems to be at least one player who's pulling the wagon (and there have been plenty of different players to pull it already), but in terms of lines and individual players, they've been pretty streaky. Well, aside from the fourth line in a shut-down role, and actually Abdelkader has been bringing it every day, too. I'd add Smith to that list as well but hes missing time right now, which isn't helping the Wings out. Everyone else has been either really hot for several games, or really cold for several games, and at a loss for any better reason I suspect that age distribution may be at least partly to blame.
Its almost like they're taking turns being the on-ice leader. Right now Tatar is playing hot, so he's pulling the wagon. Next week its going to be Franzen, and then Tatar will disappear.
Posted by Echolalia
on 23 November 2014 - 04:53 PM
If I had to guess, I would say that the age distribution of our team may be playing a role. One one end, we have our current core of Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Kronwall, all on the wrong side of 33. They're still great players, but the Wings cant lean on them as heavily as they used to, and I don't think it fair to expect them to string together win streaks entirely on their shoulders. And on the other end of the spectrum, we have our up-and-coming core (give or take) of Nyqvist, Tatar, Sheahan, Dekeyser, etc etc all south of 25 years old. They're great players, but not quite in their prime, and not quite experiened enough to be the leaders of this team. If you look at the players that we have between 25 and 30 years old (which I'm arbitrarily defining as prime years just based on the notion that folks in this age range tend to have a few solid years of NHL experience under their belt, and are still young enough in most cases not to have lost a step or be plagued by injuries) we have Abdelkader (27), Andersson (25), Glendening (25), Helm (27), Miller (30), Nyquist (25), and Smith (25). Four of those seven players are on our fourth line. I think its also worth pointing out that even though I arbitrarily picked 25-30 as prime years, based in part due to NHL experience, Glendening, Andersson, Nyquist and Smith have all played less than 140 NHL games, which means that sweet spot between solid skill and durability, and solid experience is going to be delayed a few more years in these guys.
But who knows whats really going on.
I just took a look at the standings at NHL.com, and right now there are only three teams currently riding 3-game winning streaks. Everyone else has streaks smaller than that (or losing streaks). Theres also 23 of 30 teams within 10 points of eachother league-wide. I don't know what each team has looked like streak-wise over the course of the entire season so far, but teams are more closely matched than in the past, which can also be playing a role.
Posted by Echolalia
on 22 November 2014 - 11:28 AM
Better than anyone expected? No. we are playing were most of us expected. fact is we have won 10 games out of 19. Barely above .500. If the PO's started this morning we are in as the 7th seed. No different than the past few years. This while guys like Nyquist, Franzen, and tatar have been hot scoring goals. They all will cool off and then things get more concerning. yes if he dominates Mantha could be a jan 1 pickup that helps. But he isn't the type of player we need most: front of the net grinder types. We simply don't have any in our system. We need 2 Hornquist type of players. Then another puck moving Dman that shoots RHed.
Perron and Petry would be great pick ups for this team. Now what we would have to pay is the question.
We're in the seventh seed because everyone above us has played two more games than we have. If the Wings win their games in hand, they're second in the division. Additionally, we may have won 10 out of 19, but we've also only lost 4 out of 19 in regulation, which is the second best in the league to only Pittsburgh's 3 regulation losses.
So whil the facts you give are technically true, they're also an incredibly negative and misleading spin on what's actually going on. Through the first quarter of this season, the Wings have playing like a top 10 team.