NHL Playoff Push: Older Teams Are Looking Tired

Mike ThiessenContributor IApril 3, 2009

DETROIT - NOVEMBER 08: John Madden #11 of the New Jersey Devils skates against the Detroit Red Wings on November 8, 2008 at Joe Louis Arena in Detroit, Michigan. The Wings defeated the Devils 3-1. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

As the New Jersey Devils slip and slide their way into the postseason, they look like a very tired and worn out squad.

Ever since Martin Brodeur broke Patrick Roy's record for career victories, the Devils have been struggling to get into the win column.

At the same time, over the past two weeks the Detroit Red Wings have struggled to maintain the winning form that led them to the top of their division standings. 

They have let the Presidents' Trophy slip out of their grasp to some younger teams by going on a three game losing streak.

After the big win against the Blackhawks, in which Brodeur broke Roy's record for career wins by a goaltender, the Devils have scored more then two goals in a game only once. This has come over a span of eight games, in which they have been shut out once, held to one goal twice, and have scored only two goals four times.

In the one game the Devils were actually able to score more then twice, Brodeur had a shutout and they won 4-0 over the Wild.

Over this difficult period of games, the Devils have looked tired at times. The drive to get Brodeur the record for wins in a career looks to have taken a toll on this experienced squad of veterans.

The Red Wings are another team that is looking tired. Only it is not their offense that is struggling to score—rather, it is their defense giving up goals. They have lost three in a row and four of their last five.

During this stretch it has been a combination of defense and goaltending that is not playing up to the high standards of a Stanley Cup defender. They have given up 16 goals in their last five games.

Although their goaltending has been suspect all season, it is really starting to show a lot of cracks right now. The combination of Ty Conklin and Chris Osgood is going to have to make some improvements if the Red Wings want to have a chance to repeat as Stanley Cup Champions this year.

Both the Devils and Red Wings have very good teams with a lot of veteran players who bring wisdom and hard work ethic to the ice every night. This veteran presence can prove to be valuable when the playoffs arrive but experience only comes with age. But it also means that the Devils and Red Wings are also a lot older then many other teams in the NHL.

The Devils currently have 15 players over the age of 30 on their roster. This includes six players over the age of 35.  They do not have any players younger then the age of 23 on their roster.

Meanwhile, there are 12 players on the Red Wings roster over the age of 30, and seven over the age of 35. Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios is the oldest player in the NHL right now at the age of 47.

When the playoffs begin in mid-April, the Red Wings and Devils will be given the opportunity to prove that experience is more valuable then youth. Goaltenders Chris Osgood and Martin Brodeur have both demonstrated to be great during the playoffs throughout their respective careers.

During the past few years, we have seen some very experienced teams do very well in the playoff—and this includes three Red Wings squad who won the Stanley Cup last year.

Fans of the Red Wings and Devils will be hoping that they can see their veteran teams face each other when the Stanley Cup Finals take place later this spring.