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05-13-2010, 05:30 PM
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GopherState
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5/13 Discussion - Lucky v. Good

One of the things which gives the NHL playoffs an aura of excitement is the feeling that any team can go on a run at any time. Unlike the NBA, where only a handful of teams are legitimate title contenders (there have been three sweeps out of four series this round), it seems like there is at least one 6, 7 or 8 seed in the NHL final four every year. With Montreal beating the Capitals and Penguins and facing the 6th or 7th seed in the ECF, I'm wondering whether it is better to be lucky (having a mediocre regular season but good playoff run) or consistently good but coming up short.

As Minnesota hockey fans we've been in both positions. On one end there is the North Stars being the worst team to make the playoffs in 1991 and reaching the Stanley Cup finals and the Wild's magical 2003 run. On the other, there is the 2008 Northwest Division championship run which ended in a first-round knockout and essentially the entire 1990s for Gopher hockey (for those of you who are Gopher hockey fans).

Both contain different highs and lows. As you can see today from many of the Montreal fans, lucky gives you a great high for the moment; however it doesn't last as long as being a consistently good team. Sooner or later, the eighth seeded team shows up as one can see from Edmonton after their magical eighth seed run.

Good, on the other hand, gives you a more consistent high but a rather deep low if things do not turn the way you want it to be. With that said, it is far easier to get back up on the horse and try again (as teams like the Wings have shown).

So what is better? Would you rather be lucky and have one long playoff run or good and have a few smaller runs?

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