Wednesday, January 05, 2011

The Tortoise and the Hare

Hare ran down the road for a while and then and paused to rest. He looked back at Slow and Steady and cried out, "How do you expect to win this race when you are walking along at your slow, slow pace?" … Slow and Steady walked and walked. He never, ever stopped until he came to the finish line … Hare stretched and yawned and began to run again, but it was too late. Tortoise was over the line. After that, Hare always reminded himself, "Don't brag about your lightning pace, for Slow and Steady won the race!"

At the moment, four teams are bunched atop the Eastern Conference standings with more than 50 points: Philadelphia (53), Tampa Bay (53), Pittsburgh (53) and Washington (52). But not all teams get to 50-plus points the same way…

Pittsburgh had a 12-game winning streak along the way. Without that, the Penguins are 13-12-3.

Tampa Bay is 9-1-1 over their last 11 games. Take that away, and the Lightning are 15-10-4.

Philadelphia had a 9-0-1 streak earlier in the season. Absent that run, the Flyers are 15-10-4.

Meanwhile, in Washington, the Caps had an 8-0-1 run at one point, but they followed it up with an 0-6-2 drought. Take away the streaks, and the Caps are 15-6-3.

Over an 82-game season teams are going to have streaks, good and bad. But maybe it is what you do when you’re not on a streak that matters with so many games and so long a season. Fits and starts didn’t stand the test of a long race for the hare, and maybe the tortoise’s “slow and steady” will win the 82-game race in the end for the Caps.

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