Hockeymetrics: Stars, Blackhawks On the Brink of Joining a Not-So-Illustrious Club


With one day left in the NHL season, one thing's for certain.

The 2007 Colorado Avalanche will either have company in the 'best teams to not make the playoffs in the post-NHL lockout era' department, or they'll get kicked out of the club with Chicago or Dallas holding this inauspicious mantle. That year, the Avs posted 95 points and missed the playoffs by a point in large part because 7 of the 8 teams that year broke the century mark in points.

Including the Dallas Stars, who in spite of their 107 points gained that season, were seeded 6th opposite the 3rd seeded Vancouver Canucks. Both teams staged a memorable playoff series in which Marty Turco posted three shutouts with the last two coming in Games 5 and 6 to rally the Stars from down 3-1 in the series to force a Game 7 in Vancouver.

Unfortunately, Turks and the rest of the Stars couldn't complete the comeback and the Stars season ended in the Pacific Northwest.

Obviously, the situation is a little bit different this season. But the Stars are hoping they'll have the opportunity to finish off another improbable rally come 5:00 when they take to the ice at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul against the Minnesota Wild. Fortunately this contest will occur late enough that Stars fans will have ample opportunity to bathe themselves after engaging in the disgusting very necessary act of rooting for Detroit against Chicago at 11:30.

Otherwise, Dallas sports fans will take another kick to the crotch from the sports gods. But from an overall sports perspective, they'll hardly be alone in the 'best teams to not make the playoffs in sports' discussion.

MLB

The inclusion of the wild card in baseball was brought about mostly for additional revenue. In fact, maybe it was completely due to additional revenue.

But I like the think the 1993 San Francisco Giants provided at least a little bit of that impetus. That year, the Giants won 103 games...and didn't make the playoffs because the Atlanta Braves staged a memorable comeback in the second half of the season to overtake San Francisco and win the National League West by one game.

The 1999 Cincinnati Reds hold the distinction of being the team with the highest win total in a season not to make the playoffs. But their 96 wins were good enough to get them into a one game playoff against the New York Mets for the NL Wild Card that season. Which they lost 5-0 at home, by the way.

NBA

In 2008, a similar situation to what we're seeing this year in the NHL, played itself out in the Western Conference where all eight playoff teams had at least 50 wins.

That meant poor Golden State, which finished with a record of 48-34 and a winning percentage of .585, was left on the sidelines a year after they...permanently scarred the psyche of the of the Mavericks and all DFW sports fans...well, we're not here to reopen old sports wounds.

But I'll admit to feeling a little schaudenfreude over Nellie and the Warriors missing the playoffs that year.

NFL

In 2008, the New England Patriots lost starting QB Tom Brady for the season in their opening game against the Kansas City Chiefs. Many thought they were done.

Instead they rallied behind backup QB Matt Cassell and posted an 11-5 mark...and they missed the playoffs because they lost a tiebreak to Miami for the AFC East crown and a tiebreak to Baltimore for the wild card. Indianapolis was the 5th seed in the playoffs with a 12-4 mark.

Which meant the three time Super Bowl Champs had to sit on the sideline for the playoffs that year. Not that any of us were really feeling sorry for them.

Now there are impressive names on this list to be sure. But that's no consolation prize if you're a Stars fan. Particularly when no playoffs this year would mean joining the Oilers and Wild as the only Western Conference teams that have failed to make the playoffs in the last three years.

No, it would be much better if you could help the Blackhawks become just the third team in the modern era to win the Stanley Cup in one spring and then miss the playoffs the following spring, I would imagine.

But tomorrow starts with Detroit.

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