Monday, October 15, 2012
TTM Success: Bill Mikkelson
Bill Mikkelson played 141 career NHL games and was a player I had never heard of until reading a where are they now article in Sports Illustrated. Mikkelson was part of the 1974-75 expansion team, the Washington Capitals.The 1974-75 Caps set NHL records for worst winning percentage, .131, and goals against in a season, 446. They set a modern day NHL record with fewest points in a season with 21. While some of those team records will likely never be broken, Bill Mikkelson set a record that's considered unbreakable. While playing in 59 games, Mikkelson was a -82. To put that in perspective, only a single player has a lower +/- when combining all seasons since the lockout. Jack Johnson is -85 in 364 games. Since 1994-95, the first lock-out season, only four players have gone below -40, with Rico Fata topping (or is it bottoming?) that list with a -46.
Mikkelson is not alone on the list of worst single season +/-, spots 2, 3, and 4 all belong to teammates from the 74-75 Caps. Greg Joly was a -68 in 44 games, and Jack Lynch, a last season acquisition, was -54 in 20 games with the Capitals. If Lynch had played all 80 games with Caps, that projects to a -216 for the season!!! As mentioned in the SI article, Bill Mikkelson's single season worst +/- might just be a truly unbreakable record. Mikkelson's attitude remains positive about the experience. It is better to have played and been scored upon (lots) than to have never played at all. "I got to play. And the price I paid, I would pay it 100 times over." He has also fathered a NHL defenceman, Brendan, and a Olympic Gold medal winning defencewoman, Meaghen.