NHL Playoffs 2011: Detroit Red Wings Might Be Too Satisfied for Their Own Good

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NHL Playoffs 2011: Detroit Red Wings Might Be Too Satisfied for Their Own Good
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Despite my arguments and true belief in the contrary, the Detroit Red Wings will not be beating the San Jose Sharks in Round 2.

Not withstanding my arguments and true belief that the Red Wings were going to rebound from another 0-2 series deficit to the same club, they're not going to.

The puck drop for Game 4 in this round is still a couple of hours away, but, there's no getting around the fact that this series is over.

Now, I'm not saying the Sharks will sweep the Red Wings tonight; they might not.

However, what I am saying is that the Red Wings will not win the next four games to beat San Jose out of the second round.

Now, if you'd want to argue that they could do it, you won't get any push back from me; you're right, they could.

I could train myself to walk on my hands while balancing two poodles on my feet, but I'm not going to.

Likewise, the Red Wings are not coming back to win this series.

The reason for this lies beyond the potential this impressive group of athletes represent collectively, for the Red Wings' problems have nothing to do with potential.

No, the problem they've faced is really one they've been facing all year—they're simply not out working their opposition long enough and hard enough to get the breaks they need to win.

I say that because, if you can look at this series with objective eyes, you'd find the Sharks have been getting the breaks they need to win.

Some would say that the Hockey Gods have smiled on San Jose in this series.

I'd say the gods have come down from Hockey Heaven and eagerly offered themselves up as love slaves to the Sharks.

The good bounces, the lucky deflections, the crazy caroms that often change the momentum of a game in the playoffs, have all gone the Sharks way.

Before you get all ready to scold me about having sour grapes, calling the Sharks' three straight wins "lucky", save it.

The Sharks have won three straight games, and might even sweep Detroit, because they've been the better team.

Period.

Luck favors the prepared and clearly, San Jose was well prepared to win this series when it began.

Had Detroit been able to work just a little harder than San Jose, pushed a little longer than than the Sharks, well, we might be talking about the lucky breaks Detroit has capitalized on to win three straight games.

Honestly, these teams have been that close to this point.

But it's that closeness, that almost mirror image of each other that makes working that much harder to win games so important.

In the end, that extra work, that harder push the Sharks have made to put themselves where they are now may simply come down to hunger.

When people (yours truly included) talk about the number of players who've won a Cup in Detroit versus the same group in San Jose, it's often used to demonstrate how the Red Wings have the edge in experience.

Honestly, that usually turns out to be a pretty sound argument.

Nevertheless, as the Red Wings are now facing elimination, one wonders if those numbers can't be used to show that "experience" and "satisfaction" exist on a one-to-one ratio.

I'm not saying the Red Wings don't want to win; clearly, they do.

However, when you've won four Stanley Cups like Nicklas Lidstrom, or recently turned in a Conn Smythe Trophy-winning playoff run in 2008 like Henrik Zetterberg, one can't help but think their hunger for a championship isn't just a little less ravenous than Joe Thornton's or Patrick Marleau's.

Who's more starving: the team who's feasted on victory multiple times, or the team who's only smelled the aroma from a distance?

Have the Sharks caught nearly all the breaks in this series?

Yeah, they have.

But we've seen the same thing happen to this Red Wings team in years they've won the Cup.

Catching breaks doesn't mean you don't deserve to win; it just means you've worked hard enough to earn them.

The Sharks are starving for a championship, and it shows.

The Red Wings still have the taste of championships past on their lips, and it shows.

Follow Matt on Twitter: http://twitter.com/MAhutter12

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