With a couple weeks left in the season, the noise about playoffs and the draft is becoming hard to ignore. As we all know by now, the top half of the league starts making moves before the trade deadline and the bottom half starts gunning to be the NHL’s Next Edmonton Oilers. But in the middle there’s that barren wasteland, where a team must decide if they have chance to make an ernest effort to and in the playoffs or if they should just attempt to align themselves to improve their drafting position.
Personally, I find the latter abhorrent. It’s unfair to fans who scrape and save every penny they have to get to a game a season and they have the misfortune to swing a game at the end of the season. You put your full effort into getting to the game, the least the team could do is show up and play like the team you know and love. But I know teams don’t get better by consistently finishing 15th in the league. My head and my heart are in constant conflict at this point of the seasons.
The only thing that irks me more than having to settle with a losing second half is a team that can’t make up it’s mind. Win, lose, win, lose, so on and so forth until you’ve watched your team yo-yo through the standings. What’s a fan to do? Well here at Up The Pucks, we are here to help.
Two teams that are properly dive bombing the second half of the season are the eternally failful Edmonton Oilers and the equally disappointing Toronto Maple Leafs. Since the new year both teams have teetered the line between okay and just down right terrible. Take a look at their record below:
As you can see, the Oilers are closer to being at .500 since the new year, while the Leafs are going more the tire fire route. Each technique is unique and dangerous.
For the Oilers, the team is no stranger to the lottery and knows what it takes to really hang tough at the bottom of the standings. Their ability to lose is hard to top but just because your solid at losing doesn’t mean another team could be better. Those three 1-point games could come back and bite you.
As for the Maple Leafs, the team is no stranger to falling in the middle of the standings. And while they only have one less 1-point game, their 0-point games are strong. The Leafs are in danger of completely alienating their fan base. It’ll never really happen but you’re asking a lot of your fans going out there and getting blown out night after night on top of the disappointing fact that the team will not be signing Steven Stamkos, Manifest Destiny went out of style with the 19th century. And you’re Canadians.
Can your team do it? Can you as a fan stomach it? Only the strongest survive. Only the best can emerge on the other side holding the Stanley Cup, just ask the Chicago Blackhawks.