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Octopus Thrower's NHL Playoffs Questions And Predictions

The 2014 NHL Playoffs began on Wednesday, April 16th, but the first game for the Detroit Red Wings is tomorrow. Friday 18th against the Boston Bruins.

Before the Playoffs begin for Detroit, the Octopus Thrower crew got together and answered a few questions about the Detroit Red Wings and our predictions for the first round of the NHL Playoffs.

Are you surprised the Red Wings made the playoffs?

Christina – Not really. I never thought they wouldn’t make it, but I never set my hopes super high.

Matt – I am surprised the Red Wings made the playoffs. Things were looking pretty dire in early to mid March, and a lot of smart hockey minds thought this might be the year the streak would end

John C. – No I’m not surprised the Wings made the playoffs.

Ari – No. I know its easy to say now, but I never doubted them and had them making it the whole season(I’m surprised they finished as the 2nd wild card, I thought they’d finish with the first wild card)

Peter – No are watching the team come back last season to make the playoffs, I expected the same thing to happen again once they fell to 10th place.

Tom – Yes. All season I went back and forth as to whether or not they would make the playoffs. I convinced myself since they did it last year, I should never count them out and they’ll find a way to do it again this year. However, after the amount of injuries they sustained in the latter half of the season, I thought their hopes of making it 23 straight were slim to none.

What does twenty-three straight playoff appearances mean to you, important or unimportant? Why?

Matt – The streak is very important to me as a fan and it clearly is to the team, as well. More than that, it’s what has been accomplished during the streak that makes it meaningful: 14 Division championships, 6 Presidents’ Trophies, 6 Conference championships, and four Stanley Cup championships. It’s a current model of sustained excellence unmatched in North American professional sports.

John C. – The twenty-three straight playoff appearances is important to me as a Red Wings fan. They way that Babcock and the entire team were able to pull together and rise above all the factors that would have surely doomed any other team symbolizes all the qualities that made me become a Red Wings fan.

Ari – At this point, the 23 straight is more just a number. It’s cool and all, but I think too much gets made of the streak. We, the fan base that is, should be more focused on the number of years since a cup instead of how many years in a row the Wings make the playoffs. The Wings are not a mediocre franchise and making the playoffs shouldn’t be this celebrated. This organization is elite and it’s time the Wings start raising up some banners again.

Peter – Twenty-three straight playoff appearances is import because it is a link from the present to the past. The legacy of the players we enjoyed watching growing up is kept alive because of the streak.

Tom – I think it’s important because it shows how competitive this team has been during the past 23 seasons. In the pre-salary cap era, they were able to assemble All-Star teams, but ever since the 2004-05 lockout, they have continued to draft and develop players like it’s nobody’s business, all while rarely getting high draft picks because of their high finishes. Being able to stay competitive without going through rebuilding years is a remarkable feat.

Christina – Important just to keep the streak alive and to keep the hockey media off our backs. Because you know they would run away with that one and talk about the “dynasty” being over, all that jazz…

Did the days off before the start of the playoffs help or hurt Detroit’s chances?

John C. – I believe the days off before the start playoffs will help the Red Wings. The time off will give the team to rest and develop a game plan to take on the Bruins. The extra days are also two days closer to getting Captain Hank back too.

Ari – I guess this answer would depend on whether you think coaching matters. I think it does and I think the more time you give Mike Babcock to prepare the better we as fans should feel. Let him scheme and figure out how to attack Boston and which match-ups he should be getting. The long-winded answer is that it helps the Wings.

Peter – It does take the thunder away from the Red Wings victory against the Blues, but it does give Datsyuk some more time to get closer to 100%, which could make a huge difference in the series.

Tom – I think it helped Detroit’s chances. Pavel Datsyuk was not at 100 percent, but he was getting better every game. Now, he has a few games under his belt since returning from injury, and he’ll be good to go Friday against Boston.

Christina – Help! Most of the time this team is rushed into the playoffs and rushed into the next round with barely a chance to rest. For once, things may just work out for us.

Matt – I think the days off leading up to the series could help the Wings in a long series, but as of now it looks like we’re going to have to count on the guys who got them there

Who will be the player who steps up for Detroit in the playoffs?

Ari – How about Tom Renney. I’m going to say that if the Wings win the series, it will be on the back of improved special teams play, mainly the power play. Renney was brought in as the associate coach because of his expertise in special teams. I say that he pulls through and the Wings special teams is better than it has been and is the biggest difference in this series.

Peter – Tomas Jurco. In the playoffs the top two line tend to cancel themselves out and it will be up to the Wings’ bottom six to get the job done.

Tom – Jimmy Howard. The Red Wings go as far as Howard takes them. He struggled early in the season (and didn’t get any help from his defense), but he has been really solid during the last month or so and will need to steal a game or two if the Red Wings want to advance to Round 2.

Christina – Johan Franzen, why not? (Or, more accurately, why WOULDN’T I say him? Haha) It’s his time of year, as we say every year and hope for another Colorado series…

Matt – Jimmy Howard. I think for this team to advance he’s going to have to.

John C. – It’s hard to pick one player who will step up for the Wings because it’s going to take a solid team-effort against Boston but I believe Jimmy Howard will be the guy we need to rise to the occasion and bring his best game.

What is your prediction for the Detroit Red Wings in the first round? Who wins and in how many games.

Peter – Detroit Red Wings in six games.

Tom – Like my decision on whether or not the Red Wings will make the playoffs, I’m torn on this choice as well. I respect what the Bruins have and realize they are a tough match-up, but the Red Wings have done well against them in the regular season. Detroit has played so well over the last few weeks of the season, and I’m giving them the nod. Red Wings win in seven games.

Christina – I’ll say Wings in six games

Matt – I’ve got Boston in six. I hope I’m wrong, obviously. This has been a magical run, and I couldn’t be prouder of this team and these kids. But sometimes you run into a buzz saw.

John C. – I believe the Wings will pull off the upset and take the Bruins in 6.

Ari – Bruins in 6. They won the presidents trophy for a reason. Wouldn’t be all that surprised if they lose in 5 though if we are being brutally honest here. The Bruins are just better.

Let us know what your prediction are for the Detroit Red Wings in the playoffs.

Let’s Go Red Wings! Beat the Bruins!

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