Since the 2017 Stanley Cup Playoffs began, I’ve been seeing a lot of analyst and hockey bloggers asking “Where my All-Stars at?” I get it. A handful of games in and forty-five goals later we’re looking at ~30% of the game-changing buries coming from somewhat random contributors.
Guys like Edmundson (STL), Wilson (WSH), Martin (SJS), Calvert (CBJ), Ward (SJS) Kassian (EDM) and a handful of others are turning it up out of seemingly nowhere. Not to discredit the regular rodeo boys like Crosby, Kessell, Malkin, Williams who are carrying their weight. But let’s face it… it’s these out-of-left-field plugs that are making these first few games feel way off-script.
So what gives?
There’s a distinct difference between this year’s playoff schedule and last years. It’s called Mercury Retrograde (MRx). And you don’t have to believe or give a crap about Astrology to do a quick Google Search and see it’s a widely acknowledge planetary shift that is known to wreak havoc on communications, logistics, and relationships. In fact, several notable financial, legal and relationship advisors will tell you — even they know this is a shitty time to expect things to go as planned.
It’s a time where things that should run like clockwork, intermittently breakdown for seemingly no reason at all. In professional sports it often manifests as communication breakdowns, bad timing, equipment fails, petty arguments, and overall questionable decision making under pressure.
It happens about three times a year and lasts a little over three weeks. This year it started April 9th; two days before the puck dropped. And it’s going to last until May 3rd — about a week into the Second Round.
Last year Mercury Retrograde was April 28nd – May 5th. It basically kicked in full effect on Day 2 of the SECOND series. Anyone remember 2016 Second Round? Oh yeah, I do. Caps, Stars, and Islanders all breezed through First Round (as everyone expected) only to suddenly self-imploded in the Second. Mercury Retrograde kicked their asses.
Truth is, Mercury Retrograde impacts some teams more than others. Several players actually perform above their usual contributions. Why? Because some people’s charts make them more tolerant and embracing of chaos. These somewhat “random plugs” actually aren’t playing better, its more that they like disorganization and attract more lucky opportunities by not over thinking. Meanwhile the others more easily impacted players are stuck in their own heads trying to reconcile the concept of “shit happens.”
Goalies whose charts are susceptible to Mercury Retrograde are the most painful to watch. Last thing you need is any energy that messes with a goalie’s head. They already need so much structure to get out of bed each morning. So when a goalie has issues with his equipment, bad timing or feels like something is off… it’s a recipe for disaster.
Who Will Get Through Unscathed?
This year Mercury Retrograde is creating opportunities for a handful of players and giving a few teams a leg up. That said, each game night has additional lunar shifts that can offset Mercury Retrograde. Teams with balanced allocation are the most likely to get through this Round unscathed. Keep in mind, this small advantage or disadvantage will subside by Second Round, and we’ll see more of what we expect from the usual go-to guys.
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