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Why were the Red Wings upset in the playoffs so many times?

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Old
01-14-2013, 01:14 PM
  #1
PhillyBluesFan
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Why were the Red Wings upset in the playoffs so many times?

Not just upset but upset in the first 2 rounds of playoffs

92
93
94
01
03
04
06(the worst one)

Yes they won 4 Stanley Cups but am I the only who thinks they massively underachieved?

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01-14-2013, 01:41 PM
  #2
Reds4Life
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Because the team that was capable of dominating regular season could not adapt to a completely different game - the playoffs.

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01-14-2013, 01:44 PM
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broad
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Because unlike basketball or football, the difference between a good hockey team and a bad hockey team is not vast.

Any team can win on any tonight, and with a bit of luck can win a 7 game series.

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01-14-2013, 01:46 PM
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Buck Aki Berg
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1992 wasn't really an upset - Detroit had 43 wins that season, so they weren't exactly a juggernaut. To be taken down by the second-place Blackhawks isn't an upset.

1993 is even less of an upset. Detroit only had three more wins all season than Toronto, not to mention they split the season series with three wins and a tie each.

1994 - pure BS luck for SJ .. I don't know how they managed to literally come within an inch of appearing in the conference finals, let alone take down Detroit.

2001 - LA found a way to come back and win game 3 (?), and just rode the momentum the rest of the way. And don't let the seventh-seeding fool you - thew Kings were pretty good that year (hell, if not for a crappy third period in game 7, they could have taken down the eventual-champion Avs in the next round)

2004 - again, Detroit wasn't head and shoulders above Calgary by any means. I wouldn't have favoured Calgary going into that series, but it's not unthinkable that they won.

2006 - see 1994.

Bottom line, with 21 straight playoff appearances, the failures are bound to pile up just as quickly as the successes.


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01-14-2013, 01:47 PM
  #5
Chalupa Batman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhillyBluesFan View Post
Not just upset but upset in the first 2 rounds of playoffs

92
93
94
01
03
04
06(the worst one)

Yes they won 4 Stanley Cups but am I the only who thinks they massively underachieved?
The Red Wings had multiple upsets in the playoffs (although I'd question some of your observations) because they have had a tremendous amount of success.

Or to put it another way, the Blue Jackets have never been upset in the playoffs.

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01-14-2013, 05:45 PM
  #6
Big Phil
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You aren't going to win them all. 1993, 1994 and 1995 (I know it wasn't in the first round) were years that you would have favoured the Red Wings. These were growing pains for a team that just seemed destined to breakout. Great teams have to learn how to lose before they learn how to win, so chalk this up to a learning curve. Post 1995 when they lost they rarely lost to a poor team:

1996 - Lost to eventual champs Colorado
1997 - Won Cup
1998 - Won Cup
1999 - Lost to Colorado 2nd round
2000 - Lost to Colorado 2nd round
2001 - Upset by Kings
2002 - Won Cup
2003 - Upset by Ducks
2004 - Upset by Flames
2006 - Upset by Oilers
2007 - Lost to Anaheim
2008 - Won Cup
2009 - Lost Cup final to Pittsburgh

I counted 4 upsets. Keep in mind on thing, this was a different team after 2004. Still some championship pieces but not the same. The Flames were just riding on a high in 2004 similar to the 1996 Panthers. 2003 was a shocker no doubt, but you can argue that the Wings post 2002 were a different team too. Yzerman was so banged up by then and Datsyuk and Zetterberg were young. Fedorov was old as well. So in reality I really only think the Wings that we all came to know as the Wings (1995-'02) had one upset and that was in 2001. It didn't hurt that Shanahan and Yzerman got hurt that series as well.

Losing to Colorado was never an upset. Post lockout only losing to the Oilers has been a shock. Not bad for a team like that.

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01-14-2013, 06:48 PM
  #7
Brodeur
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PhillyBluesFan View Post
Not just upset but upset in the first 2 rounds of playoffs

92
93
94
01
03
04
06(the worst one)

Yes they won 4 Stanley Cups but am I the only who thinks they massively underachieved?
Upsets happen. I think that's why the opening round of the NHL playoffs is so much more entertaining than the NBA. As a Devils fan, I've had to watch similar first round exits.

In particular with 2003, Anaheim was a red hot team heading into the playoffs.

I remember going to a Devils/Ducks game (http://espn.go.com/nhl/boxscore?gameId=230124025) in January 2003 and had no reason to think the Ducks were a contender. After that game, Anaheim had a 20-18-7-4 record. Afterwards they went on a tear, finishing the season 20-9-2-2 (Anaheim added some useful pieces in Sandis Ozolinsh, Rob Niedermayer, and Steve Thomas at the deadline). Some times those #7/8 seeds can be misleading if those teams were works in progress throughout the year.

Giguere frustrated Detroit in that series while Curtis Joseph was very much looking like he was 36.

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01-14-2013, 06:59 PM
  #8
Czech Your Math
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Good answers. Like Taco says, very successful teams are going to be upset eventually. It wasn't just that they were upset, but the disparity and/or manner:

'92- They get swept by Chicago, and that was after they had to win both OT games to send it to game 7 vs. a 70 point Minnesota team.

'94- As the west's top seed, they lost to the < .500 Sharks.

'95- No disgrace losing to the Devils, but they were swept as the Prez winner.

'96- Before losing to Colorado, Wings lost a 2-0 series lead vs. < .500 Blues and were down 3-2, before they squeaked by in a double OT game 7.

'01- The Kings were a very good 7th seed, but Detroit blew a 2-0 series lead by losing 4 straight.

'03- They were swept by a team which had won ONE series in their franchise history.

'04- This was more running into a hot team and being a bit unlucky.

'06- A first round loss as Prez winner.

I wouldn't say they massively underachieved, but they didn't overachieve either.

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01-14-2013, 06:59 PM
  #9
Chalupa Batman
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brodeur View Post
Curtis Joseph was very much looking like he was 36.
That's not particularly fair to Joseph; he was league-average with a 91.7% save percentage in that series. When your team scores six goals in the equivalent of five-plus games, your goaltender isn't the first place I'd look.

04/10/2003 L 103 18 42 44 1-2 3OT / Anaheim Home Giguere
04/12/2003 L 58 54 20 23 2-3 / Anaheim Home Giguere
04/14/2003 L 59 44 24 26 1-2 / Anaheim Road Giguere
04/16/2003 L 66 42 24 27 2-3 OT / Anaheim Road Giguere

(Source: http://hockeygoalies.org/bio/joseph.html )

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01-14-2013, 07:02 PM
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The referees and Bettman, especially Bettman in 2009.

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01-14-2013, 07:03 PM
  #11
Chalupa Batman
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Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
The referees and Bettman, especially Bettman in 2009.
You're looking for the Bettman^H^H^H^H^H^H^HBusiness forum, two doors up.

Please don't ban me

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01-14-2013, 07:06 PM
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Also interesting when you consider the 'upsets' 03, 04, and 06, each one of those teams was game away from winning the Cup, and there are some who say Calgary actually did!

As a Wings fan, I lost it when they lost to Edmonton, but then watched Edmonton steamroll their way through San Jose(believe they came back from 0-2) and a very hot Minny team.

Then there are the goalies.

Giguere: 1.62GAA .945SV%, 5SO
Kipper: 1.85GAA .929SV% 5SO
Roloson: Although his stats aren't nearly as good, anyone who watched that series will tell you he got into the Wings heads. He made some huge and timely saves to keep Edmonton ahead.

I've never seen as good a goaltending performance as Giguere in 03. There was no beating the guy.

The West has always been quite a bit closer in terms of parity even since the first lock out, so I think that's a consideration as well.

Anyway, when you make the Finals six times in 13 seasons and win the Cup four times, those upsets really aren't that bad looking back in context.

I'm sure any teams fans in the league would trade four upsets in 13 years for four Cups

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01-14-2013, 09:10 PM
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I would go too with the big sample size of being cup contender, they been cup contender for almost all year's since what, the 48 games lock-out minus 1-2 seasons.

Remove the one that had a giguere or other explanations, and they had an about has expected 4 cups + (what 2 stanley cup finals, pens+devils ?)

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01-14-2013, 10:20 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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I find it interesting that the two upsets against teams with almost nothing but grinders and a goaltender playing out of his mind (Anaheim, Calgary) are considered understandable upsets to pretty good teams, but the loss to a team that actually had a decent amount of talent and only finished 8th due to literally having the worst goaltending in the entire league (Edmonton) is considered the unthinkable embarrassment.

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01-14-2013, 10:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Kyle McMahon View Post
I find it interesting that the two upsets against teams with almost nothing but grinders and a goaltender playing out of his mind (Anaheim, Calgary) are considered understandable upsets to pretty good teams, but the loss to a team that actually had a decent amount of talent and only finished 8th due to literally having the worst goaltending in the entire league (Edmonton) is considered the unthinkable embarrassment.
Note... the worst goaltending in the league until they added Roloson 10 games before the end of the season, along with key depth on the blueline in February. That team went to the Cup final, beating San Jose and Anaheim as well, it was a very good team and in particular, a very deep team. Once they added Roloson, it changed everything.

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01-14-2013, 11:07 PM
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Kyle McMahon
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Note... the worst goaltending in the league until they added Roloson 10 games before the end of the season, along with key depth on the blueline in February. That team went to the Cup final, beating San Jose and Anaheim as well, it was a very good team and in particular, a very deep team. Once they added Roloson, it changed everything.
Exactly, yet the tone in here seems to indicate that this might be the most unlikely upset of all. While a loss to a Flames team that had Shean freaking Donovan as their third leading scorer wasn't really any big shocker.

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01-14-2013, 11:12 PM
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Not the only reason why, but in 1993 and 2001 they came up against Felix Potvin, who mentioned he always elevated his game against the Red Wings, Detroit and Adirondack...

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01-14-2013, 11:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Czech Your Math View Post
'95- No disgrace losing to the Devils,
That's certainly not how it was perceived at the time. There was an awful lot of bitterness about that loss and the way it happened, particularly in light of how the Devils fared the following year with more or less the same team (Claude Lemieux being the only major change).

I'd say the Wings fell about as flat in that Finals as the Flyers did in 1997, but against a much weaker team.

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01-14-2013, 11:55 PM
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That's certainly not how it was perceived at the time. There was an awful lot of bitterness about that loss and the way it happened, particularly in light of how the Devils fared the following year with more or less the same team (Claude Lemieux being the only major change).

I'd say the Wings fell about as flat in that Finals as the Flyers did in 1997, but against a much weaker team.
And yet the previous year (1993-94), the Devils were the 2nd best team in the league and made very few changes going into 1994-95. They were 12-4 with 51 goals for and 27 goals against in the playoffs heading into the finals. After 1994-95, Larry Robinson, Jacques Lemaire's balance left the team and Lemaire started focusing even more on defense every time the team hit a rough patch. The Devils did miss the playoffs in 1995-96 with a 37-33-12 record (back when the 12 was actually ties), but their record would have been good enough for the #4 seed and home ice advantage in the first round if they played in the West.

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01-15-2013, 04:12 AM
  #20
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Most of it has already been answered, but here are a couple more notes that I haven't yet seen mentioned:

01: Yzerman and Shanahan injuries. Yzerman only played game 1 and Shanny only played games 1 and 2. Fedorov alone wasn't enough offensively.

03: It was a group of future HOFs who were coming off a Cup the previous season. The same fire wasn't there and obviously Giguere had a run for the ages.

04: The team was in the beginning of the transition period up front. Datsyuk and Zetterberg were by this point Detroit's most skilled forwards and the future, but they weren't ready for the playoffs (especially during this clutch and grab era against that Calgary team full of them.) Yzerman, Shanahan, and Hull were nearing the end.

06: This was the finishing of the transition period up front. Datsyuk and Zetterberg were the two best players up front with Yzerman and Shanahan on their last leg. Datsyuk was injured heading into the playoffs though(he actually missed game 1), which had a very big impact. In the mean time, Pronger, Roloson(arguably), and Pasani(lol) decided to play the best hockey of their careers.

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01-15-2013, 06:58 AM
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tarheelhockey
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And yet the previous year (1993-94), the Devils were the 2nd best team in the league and made very few changes going into 1994-95. They were 12-4 with 51 goals for and 27 goals against in the playoffs heading into the finals. After 1994-95, Larry Robinson, Jacques Lemaire's balance left the team and Lemaire started focusing even more on defense every time the team hit a rough patch. The Devils did miss the playoffs in 1995-96 with a 37-33-12 record (back when the 12 was actually ties), but their record would have been good enough for the #4 seed and home ice advantage in the first round if they played in the West.
Nevertheless, the 1995 Finals were seen as a disaster for that Wings team and the following season (for both Jersey and Detroit) only made it look worse.

In the scope of 15 more years of success and multiple Cups by both teams, sure, we can say "no disgrace". In 1995, people were a lot less forgiving of that upset. It's not an oversimplification to say that Bowman got outcoached, plain and simple, and it fed right into the narrative of Yzerman, Dino, Coffey being regular season players.

Pretend history ends in 1996 and the core of that team isn't redeemed with a win... that series would look horrific for them.

Edit: I didn't mean "much weaker team" as a shot, btw. Most teams are much weaker than the 1997 Wings.

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01-15-2013, 09:41 AM
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2006 the wings were getting old and had slowed down, and the oilers played a fast trap style hockey. The hockey gods blessed Roloson with superhuman abilities leading the Oilers past the Red Wings.

That series was probably the most entertaining as an Oilers fan throughout the entire playoffs, high scoring, dramatic end to end hockey.

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01-15-2013, 03:25 PM
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Big Phil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fugu View Post
The referees and Bettman, especially Bettman in 2009.
Well, you're probably being sarcastic, but a lot of people aren't when they talk about 2009. I chalk it up to a lot of sour grapes from Wings fans who seem to forget that the team they faced a year earlier in the final, got better and hungrier. I certainly didn't see any bias from the refs in that final in 2009

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01-15-2013, 05:52 PM
  #24
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Well, you're probably being sarcastic, but a lot of people aren't when they talk about 2009. I chalk it up to a lot of sour grapes from Wings fans who seem to forget that the team they faced a year earlier in the final, got better and hungrier. I certainly didn't see any bias from the refs in that final in 2009
There was that non-icing call that really messed things up; and the too-many-men noncall for over a minute, iirc.

On a serious note, I don't believe that the Pens could have beaten a healthier Detroit team. Detroit was better in 2009 on paper than 2008. There was that scheduling gaffe where the NHL had said the playoffs would start a week after the last Conference final ended, and then changed their minds. Detroit had about 36 hrs, iirc, between ending with Chicago and starting up the next series. Of course, we always hear about injuries and that both sides play through them, but look at who was injured on the Wings. Lidstrom almost lost a testicle in the previous round and continued to play. Datsyuk missed the first 4 games maybe 5 games (someone can correct me). Hossa was playing with shoulder injury. Rafalski had chronic back pain, which ultimately had him retiring before his contract expired. Cleary had two ripped groin muscles on either side. Those are the ones I remember, but the I think as the series wore on and got tougher, they just ran out of gas. Looking back on it, I'm amazed they got to a game seven. I know Crosby got hurt towards the end, but the loss of Datsyuk would be comparable to the Pens playing at least half the series without Sid, for example.

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01-15-2013, 05:58 PM
  #25
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You aren't going to win them all. 1993, 1994 and 1995 (I know it wasn't in the first round) were years that you would have favoured the Red Wings. These were growing pains for a team that just seemed destined to breakout. Great teams have to learn how to lose before they learn how to win, so chalk this up to a learning curve. Post 1995 when they lost they rarely lost to a poor team:

1996 - Lost to eventual champs Colorado
1997 - Won Cup
1998 - Won Cup
1999 - Lost to Colorado 2nd round
2000 - Lost to Colorado 2nd round
2001 - Upset by Kings
2002 - Won Cup
2003 - Upset by Ducks
2004 - Upset by Flames
2006 - Upset by Oilers
2007 - Lost to Anaheim
2008 - Won Cup
2009 - Lost Cup final to Pittsburgh

I counted 4 upsets. Keep in mind on thing, this was a different team after 2004. Still some championship pieces but not the same. The Flames were just riding on a high in 2004 similar to the 1996 Panthers. 2003 was a shocker no doubt, but you can argue that the Wings post 2002 were a different team too. Yzerman was so banged up by then and Datsyuk and Zetterberg were young. Fedorov was old as well. So in reality I really only think the Wings that we all came to know as the Wings (1995-'02) had one upset and that was in 2001. It didn't hurt that Shanahan and Yzerman got hurt that series as well.

Losing to Colorado was never an upset. Post lockout only losing to the Oilers has been a shock. Not bad for a team like that.

If you consider how many of the teams they lost to went on to win the Cup, it's pretty convincing that they were always THE team to beat in many ways.

I think a lot of people underestimated the 2007 team. Burke said, after the Ducks went on to win, that the series that had him the most worried was the one with the Wings. He said they also were a lot tougher physically than most observers would acknowledge-- and coming from Burke, that's really saying a lot. I don't recall the entire interview now, but the impression I had was he felt the biggest battle the Ducks would face and did face in their Cup win that year was Detroit, so he certainly knew how good they were. It's not surprising then, in retrospect, to see them go back to back for the next two seasons with essentially the same team (adding Stuart in 2008, and noting that the 2007 team lost Kronwall and Schneider (#2 D) heading into the playoffs).


Last edited by Fugu: 01-16-2013 at 06:37 PM. Reason: Schneider, not Rafalski
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