Since the 1990-1991 season the Detroit Red Wings have made the NHL Playoffs 25 consecutive times. During that span they have impressively won 4 Stanley Cups and continue to cement themselves as arguably the golden standard of the league.
However, I’m here to tell you that while the Championships are impressive the playoff streak is highly overrated. I’m a casual fan but die hard Red Wings fans point to this “accomplishment” as one of the crown jewels of the franchise. My always favorite line – “It’s the longest active streak in all professional sports!” with an exasperated look on their face as you question the significance.
And with that comment in mind, the NHL is also a sport that qualifies 53% of the league for the post season so who cares! In fact, most years teams with LOSING records make the playoffs. That would be like an employer telling you after an interview “So, you were worse than 50% of our applicants but here’s a job, you sub par piece of shit!” Is that really an accomplishment? Are those the standards we should applaud? A franchise like the Red Wings and a city dubbed “Hockey Town” should make the playoffs every year when 16 of the 30 teams get in. Celebrating qualification for an overly accepted club is nothing more than cheering for a handout and winning the Stanley Cup is devalued.
And just for comparison, of course the NHL (or NBA – Spurs are currently at 19) will have the best chance at a consecutive playoff streak record. They have the greatest odds of getting in. Here’s a list of the Major Pro Sports and the number of teams that get in the playoffs.
- The NBA qualifies: 16 of 30 teams – 53% (The same problem as the NHL)
- The NFL qualifies: 12 of 32 – 32% (The BEST teams earn a week 1 buy)
- The MLB qualifies: 10 of 30 – 33% (The BOTTOM two teams play a one game playoff)
- The Champions League qualifies: 32 of more than a 100 teams (It’s too confusing to find them all)
Oh, by the way, The Red Wings don’t even hold the NHL record for longest playoff streak. They’re currently third behind the Boston Bruins (29) and the Chicago Blackhawks (28)
Personally, I think it’s time for the Red Wings to miss the playoffs. It will let them rid themselves of mediocracy. It’s also time for the NBA and the NHL to put a larger emphasis on the regular season. Stop rewarding losers with even the slightest chance of getting hot for a 3-4 week period and stealing a title which they didn’t deserve for 6 months. Getting into the playoffs in the NBA and the NHL is like getting a gold sticker. If you don’t make any noise and lose in the first or even second round its not a good season.