Parity In The NHL? Right. (As The Wings Go Up Two Games)



They don’t even need Gordie Howe and Terry Sawchuk. It’s now two games to none for the Detroit Red Wings.


What’s this about parity in the NHL? That’s what the spin doctors say. They tell us the league is so evenly-matched now that any team can beat any other team on most nights. Maybe that’s the case during the long, drawn-out regular season when Atlanta or Toronto and other teams of that ilk might beat the Wings or Pittsburgh on certain nights. And that’s what the league brass likes to play up. Everything’s up for grabs. Anyone can win. Anytime.

But the regular season isn’t the playoffs, which is when a team like Detroit, full of depth, speed, stars, experience and magnificent role players put their skates on for real, and that’s when the Atlanta’s and Toronto’s of the league would never stand a chance. And seeing Detroit, and also Pittsburgh, perform in this final series only magnifies just how much work the Montreal Canadiens have to do before they become a serious threat. Detroit in particular just has too much going for them, throughout the lineup.

There’s no parity in the NHL. The cream eventually rises to the top. 98% of teams in the NHL wouldn’t have a sniff against the Detroit Red Wings in the Stanley Cup finals. Even the Pittsburgh Penguins, with two of the league’s best players, Sidney Crosby and Evgeny Malkin, skating for them, haven’t shown that they can win this series.  They’ve had their chances these past two games but still can’t win. Detroit just knows how to get the job done, even when they’re not playing their best. Even when one of the finest players in the league, Pavel Datsyuk, is missing from the Wings lineup and one of the best dirty-nosed grinders in the league, Kris Draper, is sidelined.

Parity? Any team can beat any team on any given night? Right. If you believe that, you believe Gary Bettman would like a team in Hamilton, and that Phoenix is a solid hockey market.

8 thoughts on “Parity In The NHL? Right. (As The Wings Go Up Two Games)”

  1. That’s an interesting take on it. Does that mean that there are two forms of parity? One for the regular season, which does seem to be there, and one for the playoffs which certainly doesn’t. When NJ was winning it’s share of the cups it was because of stellar goal tending and a system of play that the whole team bought into and could play. Detroit has taken it further in that their goal tender is seldom stellar but the whole team knows how to play their system and that means it has to be about the coaching. I’m not sure we give enough credit to the job Babcock and co. have done in these playoffs.

  2. I don’t even think Detroit needs great goaltending. The team, and the system, might be enough.

  3. True and that leads right into the idea one of the talking heads mentioned recently that you don’t need to have the best goal tender in the league just a good one and then spend your money on the players in front of him. Right now the debate is whether Osgood gets into the hall of fame with 4 cups. They’re debating that which means some people don’t think his contribution warrants a spot. Are they right? Heck Jarvis won cups in each of his first 4 years in the NHL and he’ll never see the hall of fame which means Osgood is seen as a part just not a key part.

  4. Yeah, I don’t think the number of cups you win automatically makes you a hall of famer. That’s a great point you make about Jarvis. And Osgood just does a good job, nothing more, I don’t think he’d be a hall of famer. No way. He just has a great team in front of him.

  5. I fully agree, Detroit is by far the class of the league. They were the favourite to win the cup again this year even while they were still disposing of Pittsburgh last year. Throughout the year several other teams (including our beloved Habs) were mentioned as possibilities, but Detroit was always at the top.

    But Detroit isn’t completely dominating. Anaheim, the lowest ranked team in the playoffs, played them evenly throughout their seven game series. It would have interesting to see how Boston would have faired against Detroit. Also lost in between Detroit’s cup wins, they’ve had several years where they choked against weaker teams.

    Especially now with the salary cap, what a team needs is strong leadership and a willingness to sacrifice individual stardom for the benefit of the team. Detroit has this quality in spades, but in Montreal it has been severely lacking since their last cup win. Somehow I feel its easier to rally around a defensive star like Carbonneau or Lidstrom than an offensive one like Koivu or Crosby. I think Montreal is hoping Komisarek could be this leader soon, but his salary demands show that he isn’t.

  6. There’s a few teams I think can be included besides Detroit and Pittsburgh. Boston, Washington, maybe Anaheim. Chicago’s too young. Not many.

  7. Hi Dennis: Thanks for your comments about the Wings and their winning ways (curse them!) It would be nice to see some other teams in the hunt for the Cup. That’s it, I’m breaking and entering and stealing Babcock and Company’s book of hockey secrets and bringing it back to Boston. Bail me out if I get caught, okay?

  8. Sorry Di, but now that Montreal has a new coach, Boston doesn’t stand a chance.

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