April 22, 2011

Detroit Red Wings - First Round Sweeps – Good or Bad??

During my brief time writing about the Stanley Cup Finals I have encountered many different message boards, blogs, webzines, discussions and forums. I find these a valuable tool for my research as well as getting other fans perspectives on how games have gone, what they think will happen next and of course, who will win the cup.

It was on one of these discussion boards where a fellow ice hockey fan planted some sort of doubt in my mind that the Red Wings were on course for the Cup this season. It wasn’t anything to do with how the team were playing, injuries, potential match up’s and opponents that this fan’s comments related too but a fact they thought they had read or heard somewhere.  The comment was along the lines of no team had gone on to win The Stanley Cup after sweeping a team in the first round since changing to it’s current format.
I’m not exactly sure when the Cup did change to it’s current format but it certainly got me thinking – had there been a 4-0 winner in round 1 that had won the cup since I started watching Ice Hockey back in around 1993. I had an evening to spare, a comfy chair and a drink in hand so I was going to find out.
Its probably happened to all of us before. A Mate, fellow fan or work colleague will drop something into conversation about that nights sports games that bamboozles the mind. Half the time you don’t even think about it. If I was to tell you in one of my articles that no player has even won the cup on his birthday, Phil Housley has played the most ever games in the NHL without winning the cup or there has never been a penalty shot in a game 7 you wouldn’t rush out there and try and prove me wrong. Some of you might believe me, some of you might pass the fact on to someone else. Some (ok, most) of you probably couldn’t care less! (If you are thinking of rushing out there to prove those statements, 1 I think is correct, 2 I made up but might be right!).

I guess I felt the need I had to come back to the person this time round. If it had been any other team than Detroit I probably would have ignored it. The fact is the Wings are playing well and have just as good a chance as any team in this playoffs. Hey, they are the 1st team guaranteed a spot in round 2. They have one of their star players about to return fresh into the next round, they will have had extra rest days than the others and Jimmy Howard is starting to look comfortable in the playoffs!

I wasn’t going to let a silly historical fact that might or might not be true beat me. I was going to beat it. I didn’t even know and still don’t, why I had allowed this to get to me so much. I don’t believe in facts and stats. Just because no other team had ever done it doesn’t mean it isn’t ever going to happen. Figures and stats are there for breaking. For every record set there is a record broken, or something like that. I still didn’t know if this comment was even true!
Thankfully my research didn’t take too long and for my beloved Red Wings the dream of getting their hands on Lord Stanley’s Cup were still intact. I discovered there are quite a few teams since 1993 that have managed the feat. I have listed year by year how the teams who started with 4-0 victories went on and progressed that year, but if you just want to know the winners they were ....
1994 – New York Rangers
1999 – Dallas Stars
2000 – New Jersey Devils
2001 – Colorado Avalanche

I was quite pleased with my findings and I will be hunting out that post and putting my reply on there with a large grin on my face and a drink in my hand. From the start of this Playoffs my heart has been saying Detroit but my head has been saying Vancouver. Maybe this is a little victory for the heart. Maybe, just maybe that this should be added to the list above

2011 – Detroit Red Wings

(Ps .. for any of you who are interested in the full list from 93 of teams that have come away with a 1st round sweep, its below with who they were eventually knocked out by!)
Buffalo Sabres 4 v 0 Boston Bruins – Beaten by Montreal Canadiens 4-0 in Conference Semi Finals
St Louis 4 v 0 Chicago Blackhawks – Beaten by Toronto Maple Leafs 4-3 in Conference Semi Finals
New York Rangers 4 v 0 New York Islanders – WON CUP
Dallas Stars 4 v 0 St Louis Blues - Beaten by Vancouver Canucks 4-1 in Conference Semi Finals
No First Round sweep
Chicago Blackhawks 4 v 0 Calgary Flames – Beaten by Colorado Avalanche 4-2 in Conference Semi Finals
No First Round Sweep
St Louis Blues 4 v LA Kings 0 – Beaten by Detroit Red Wings 4-2 in Conference Semi Finals
Detroit Redwings 4 v 0 Anaheim Ducks – Beaten by Colorado Avalanche 4-2 in Conference Semi Finals
Dallas Stars 4 v 0 Edmonton Oilers – WON CUP
Buffalo Sabres 4 v 0 Ottawa Senators – Beaten by Dallas Stars 4-2 in Stanley Cup Final
Detroit Redwings 4 v 0 LA Kings – Beaten by Colorado Avalanche 4-1 in Conference Semi Finals
New Jersey Devils 4 v 0 Florida Panthers – WON CUP
Toronto Maple Leafs 4 v 0 Ottawa Senators – Beaten by New Jersey Devils 4-3 in Conference Semi Finals
Colorado Avalanche 4 v 0 Vancouver Canucks – WON CUP
No First Round Sweep
Anaheim Ducks 4 v 0 Detroit Redwings – Beaten by New Jersey Devils 4-3 in the Stanley Cup Finals
No First Round Sweep
Stanley Cup not contested due to lock out year
New Jersey Devils 4 v 0 New York Rangers – Beaten by Carolina Hurricanes 4-1 in Conference Semi Finals
New York Rangers 4 v 0 Atlanta Thrashers – Beaten by Buffalo Sabres 4-2 in Conference Semi Finals
Pittsburgh Penguins 4 v 0 Ottawa Senators – Beaten by Detroit Redwings 4-2 in Stanley Cup Final
Boston Bruins 4 v 0 Montreal Canadiens – Beaten by Carolina Hurricanes in Conference Semi Finals
Detroit Redwings 4 v 0  Columbus Blue Jackets - Beaten by Pittsburgh Penguins 4-3 In Stanley Cup Final
Vancouver Canucks 4 v 0 St Louis Blues – Beaten by Chicago Blackhawks 4-2 in Conference Semi Finals
No First Round Sweep
Detroit Redwings 4 v 0 Phoenix Coyotes – Beaten?? Stanley Cup Winners?? YET TO BE CONCLUDED...................
- Adam Yates

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