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Objects are closer than they appear

Friday, 05.03.2010 / 11:45 AM / News
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Objects are closer than they appear
Below are the number of teams that are within 3, 5 or 10 points from a playoff berth on March 5.
Seasons
< 3
< 5
< 10
2009-10
7
8
12
2008-09
4
5
8
2007-08
4
7
12
2006-07
2
4
6
2005-06
1
1
8
2003-04
0
1
5
2002-03
0
2
8
MONTREAL – With just over five weeks to go in the regular season anything can happen.

If the NHL’s goal coming out of the lockout was to spread the wealth and increase parity, they can consider that mission accomplished.

Spring has almost sprung but the sad truth is that there are probably more MLB teams who know they have no chance of reaching the postseason than NHL teams. While the Washington Nationals and Kansas City Royals know their ultimate fate before the first regular season pitch is even thrown, NHL teams will battle it out to the bitter end.

With a scant three points separating the No. 6 and No. 10 spots in the Eastern Conference, and a buffer of only four points from No. 8 to No. 13 out west, it’s anything but a done deal on both sides.

At this point of the 2003-04 season, only months from the lockout, the playoff picture was far less cluttered. So much so that all 14 teams that eventually missed the playoffs that year weren’t less than three points from the No. 8 spot in early March.

It’s been quite another story in 2009-10 with seven teams only three points back or less and 12 of the 14 teams currently on the outside looking in sitting under 10 points behind.

If the NHL shield isn’t on Wikidpedia under the definition of parity, it should be as NHL teams looked poised to emerge from this regular season with kinks in their necks from constantly checking their rearview mirrors.

Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com.

See also:
The standings
Tweet'n'Win
Deadline, schmeadline
The golden boy