Series previews are usually pretty worthless, honestly.
All our careful analysis goes out the window as soon as the puck drops in game one. The Sharks win or a low-scoring affair dominated by the Kings' stingy defense and world-class goaltending, and that didn't happen at all. Whoops.- Los Angeles series was either supposed to be an easy
And after analysis fails miserably, all the stats in the world are no better. Regular season stats are meaningless come playoff time and the stats from round one for these two teams have no bearing at all on how this series will shake out.
So if stats and analysis won't help us predict this series, where can we turn? Are we lost without any hope in this uncaring, chaotic universe? Are we all as helpless as blind infants, buffeted about in a swirling void of numbers and hyperbole?
Well, yeah, pretty much.
But! If you are a regular reader of my work here at Battle of California, you'll know by now that there is one thing in this world you can always rely on, even when things are at their most confusing. There is one glorious beam of light and truth that never fails when you need it most:
Starting today we will use Wiki-magic to help us predict the winner of the Sharks - Red Wings series.
Let's start with the forwards. The Sharks and Red Wings are two of the top offensive teams in the NHL, and both sport a ridiculously deep set of forwards. How can you possibly compare this much elite talent? It's simple, really - evaluate players based solely on the most interesting facts about them on their Wikipedia page.
Jamal Mayers has a terrible Wikipedia page. The only interesting thing mentioned about him is his membership in the previously-discussed, probably-racist list of black NHL players. That's pretty weak.
Patrick Eaves is the son of some guy that I probably should have heard of. He has a daughter named Norah and a Newfoundland dog named Reuben who apparently visits Joe Louis Arena some times. Not only is it awesome that his dog is mentioned on his Wikipedia page, it's really funny that it gets a bigger mention than his daughter.
Eaves wins this one in a landslide!
Sharks - 0
Wings - 1
Scott Nichol is a a "repeat offender" and played hockey in Britain during the lockout. I'll bet he felt like a total badass playing against those pale Limey bastards.
Nichol is also listed at five feet nine inches tall, which is adorable.
Darren Helm scored six playoff goals before ever scoring a regular season goal, so he holds that odd NHL record. He has a Red Wings blog named after him. And then there's this:
He played on TWO lines? Holy crap, that's amazing! How did he not get tired?
Okay, Helm wins this one.
Sharks - 0
Wings - 2
Ben Eager led the league in penalty minutes in 06-07 despite only playing 63 games. He won the Stanley Cup last year and he likes to punch people in the head.
Kris Draper is...still alive? Oh my God. I would have lost that bet.
Draper was traded to the Red Wings in 1993 in exchange for a dollar. He got his face smashed against the boards by Claude Lemieux in one of the most heated incidents in the greatest hockey rivalry of the 90s. He has three children with bizarrely-spelled names.
Draper would have won with nothing but "traded for a dollar."
Sharks - 0
Wings - 3
In 2008 Kyle Wellwood broke a bone in his foot playing indoor soccer, then got placed on waivers by the Leafs, then got signed by the Canucks, then reported to training camp and failed his fitness test, then was a healthy scratch, then got placed on waivers again, then got assigned to the Manitoba Moose but he would have put the roster over the limit for veteran players, then started looking into playing in Europe, then got called back up by the Canucks and got a goal and an assist in his first game.
Oh, and he used hockey to "escape from troubles at home." Hah.
Also Kyle Wellwood's mom is apparently a firefighter.
I tried three times to spell Justin Abdelkader's name correctly so I could find his Wikipedia page, but couldn't manage to do it so I just read Kyle Wellwood's page again.
Sharks - 1
Wings - 3
Joe Pavelski co-owns the Janesville Jets NAHL team. Last year in the playoffs he had three straight multi-goal games, becoming the first player to do so since Mario Lemieux in 1992. He won a silver medal for the USA at the 2010 Olympics and was nicknamed "Swiss Army Knife" by the team's GM, which really isn't a very good nickname at all considering the Swiss had their own team, but whatever.
The most interesting thing about Valtteri Filppula is his brother with the totally crazy first name of "Ilari." Is he from Mars or something?
This one goes to Joe "American Army Knife" Pavelski.
Sharks - 2
Wings - 3
I covered Torrey Mitchell's page pretty well during Wiki-Sharks. He "graduated from Selwyn House School and The Hotchkiss School." I'm not sure what either of those are but that sounds dangerously snooty. Mitchell also has had enough weird stuff happen to him and around him that he has a lengthy section of his Wikipedia page that is simply titled "Incidents," which is awesome.
Jiří Hudler has weird squiggles above the letters in his first name. According to his Wiki page his name is pronounced:
/ˈjɪriː ˈhʌdlər/ in English
Thanks, that clears that up.
Later on his page there's a long paragraph detailing something about arbitration and contract issues that's full of citations and references. This whole thing was so boring that I think I legally died twice while reading it.
Torrey Mitchell, a winner is you!
Sharks - 3
Wings - 3
Okay, this thing is getting too long to handle*, so I'm going to publish it now. Stay tuned for volume two!
* = this joke intentionally left blank.