Tag Archives: Red Wings

Netminder or Nevermind in Hockeytown

It’s the end of July and hockey topics are thin at best. Numbers crunch, save percentages waged and other pertinent stats hit the street to make light of some hockey news, any hockey news at all. Thus we come to the new debate formulated by those stat geeks who can’t stop picking at the numbers. I like the stat geeks. I enjoy their mathematical brain and revel in their statistical evaluation of key players and future Hall of Famers. Apparently, Detroit’s Chris Osgood is the most recent target of the fame or lame game.

Chris Osgood has expressed his interest in hanging out at Tigers games, and he will get his wish retiring from the NHL this month. Osgood played only 11 games last season for Detroit being sidelined after undergoing sports hernia surgery in January. Osgood has 401 wins in his career which is the 10th best in the league ever. Osgood’s netminding spanned 14 seasons, and he earned three Stanley Cups. Not bad. The issue is his clutch, particularly in the crucial Game 7s where Osgood’s record is 2-4 in six games, and his save percentage just .901. “Ozzie” is being passed off as an average goaltender hiding behind one of the best teams in the league. So. Most Hockeytown nuts are aware of that. He’s being considered because it is not an easy job to mind the pipes for the Wings. They win, so does the goaltender.

A few articles have expressed dismay at the Ozzie hype and his Hall of Fame candidacy. When Ozzie was in net, the Wings delivered a .629 win percentage and an improved .640 when he was not in goal. It doesn’t matter. Osgood stood in goal and backed the Wings through playoffs and Stanley Cup victories. He’s worthy of being looked at because he was the goaltender for one of the best teams in the league. This is a consideration and there has been no guarantee made for Osgood to make the Hall of Fame.

Netminder needs keep Joey MacDonald at Joe Louis Arena in the No. 3 spot. Not so spectacular, but it will have to do. The likelihood of McDonald seeing ice time will be minimal. The Red Wings turn out phenomenal talent, but are the goaltenders hiding behind the team? Could the weakest link of the Wings be behind the mask?

Detroit signed Howard to a two-year deal in February and will stay put for now. At least the deal was limited and not an extensive contract like that of Roberto Luongo’s 12-year, $64 million deal. Jimmy Howard has become legend in fantasy hockey leagues, yet many Wings fans are ambivalent on his work ethic and his abilities in general.

Ty Conklin signed a 1-year deal as backup for Howard. Conklin is no stranger to the Wings playing in 2008-09, going 25-11-2 with a 2.51 GAA. Conklin had 37 starts and 40 games with Detroit three seasons ago, which were both career highs. He has only appeared in two career playoff games, neither as a starter.

Goaltending hasn’t been a huge priority for the Red Wings because the emphasis has always been the blueline and production line. Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Franzen will again step into the powerhouse roles, and Jimmy Howard will dazzle or dwindle.

Summer is here

Red Wings fans have sobered up now that the Wings are gearing up for summer in Michigan. Time to get the boat out, head for the lake and fondly reminisce about what could have been. Next season for sure!

Lidstrom will surely retire after this season at age 41, six Norris Trophy wins and 4-time Stanley Cup winner. He’s won the Viking Award twice, which is given to the best Swedish player in North America. While Lidstrom may be bound for Sweden to retire, the Red Wings will be losing Mike Modano and Chris Osgood as well. The 2011-12 NHL season in Detroit will look different with new additions from Grand Rapids moving in.

Fine wine ages, and so must the Wings fledglings. This new flock will have their growing pains, but overall will maintain quality hockey for the fans and in the Western Conference. Detroit will not be in danger of sitting last in the race next year to make the playoffs.

Brendan Smith, Tomas Tatar are just a few who have had some ice time in Detroit. Notable Griffins not ready for prime time include Gustav Nyquist from Maine and Brandon Straub from Colorado College.

We still will have Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Franzen but how long will it be before Rafalski leaves? A few more productive years in Detroit, then he could be done or NHL rumors have focused on Rafalski as a trade option.

The new team will work under Babcock and Holland. Change is good so look forward to getting to know the 2011-12 team and think fondly of the 2010-11 Wings. Somewhat like the transition from Steve Yzerman heading to Tampa Bay, the triumph comes with perseverance. Detroit fans will not be denied a good game of hockey.

The playoffs continue with Tampa vs. Boston and the Canucks vs. the Sharks.

Boston is a Bunyan of a team with Milan Lucic, David Krejci and Zdeno Chara, and then some. Tim Thomas in net creates the beast within the Boston Bruins. I expect gritty games with incredible puck-in-glove action from Thomas. Boston bets: Marchand, Peverley, Recchi.

Tampa Bay boasts Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos, Vinny LeCavalier and in net, Dwayne Roloson, who has been on will-call for a Stanley Cup trip. Other names you need to know: Purcell, Malone, Bergenheim.  Tampa won the Cup in 2004, then the lockout derailed the NHL for years. The experience on the Lightning is just enough to take out Boston.

Tampa Bay takes the series because they shut down Ovechkin to get here.

Vancouver Canucks stands for Canada. Ryan Keler will also take out anyone who gets in his way of this Cup. He was gyped out of the Gold, so now he must conquer the Cup. The Sedin twins are expected to get the job done as well. Roberto Luongo is a proven winner in net and so is his opponent. Gentlemen’s duel. Canucks who can make the plays: Bieksa, Burrows, Torres.

The Sharks have carried some playoff baggage that needs to get tossed. With Logan Couture, Devin Setoguchi and Ryan Clowe, the Sharks look tough to beat. Clowe will clock Kesler I’m betting on that one. The Sharks have Joe Thornton. Plus, Dan Boyle has won a Stanley Cup with Tampa Bay in 2004.

Vancouver Canucks will move on, despite both teams having difficulty closing the deal.

Let the Octopi Fly

The Detroit Red Wings were the first to advance to  the second-round of NHL playoffs. Energized, the Wings swept the Coyotes with the depth in player skill the Wings are known for. The break means rest, which is essential for the Wings as Zetterberg and Franzen will make a return. The Red Wings do it every year and will continue to do so with the type of managment and care for their players. Red Wings fans are happy fans:Lidstrom was nominated for the Norris Trophy and Pavel Datsyuk nominated for a Selke. Jimmy Howard is holding his own and can keep the Sharks out of net to win.

San Jose has been enjoyable to watch, but the LA Kings stalled the Sharks.With Anze Kopitar out, the nimble netminder Quick is just one piece of the puzzle that fits so well in Los Angeles. This team continues to display the type of fan base and talent base to become an elite league leader. Going toe-to-toe with the Sharks was a bit unexpected. The Sharsk are tired, but pumped they made in through to the next round. Sharks defeated the Wings in three of the four games played during the regular season. The Sharks also eliminated the Wings last year in five games. Watch out for Ryan Clowe and Logan Couture as a powerful force on the Sharks.

The Sharks-Wings series will begin Friday in San Jose, with Game 2 on Sunday at 3 p.m.

Vancouver looked solid and on their way to annihalate the defending champs, but the Hawks found out how to play Luongo for a chance to defedng their turf. Fighting for a first round advancement, Alex Burrows buried the winning puck in net to grab the Canucks the series win, for the second year in a row. Ryan Kesler was also nominated for a Selke for his awesome season. Just like the Sharks, the Canucks got their workout but are propelled by adrenaline.

Nashville holds on to finally seek a Round 2 in the NHL playoffs. Anaheim was a tough hump to bump this season but give credit to Pekke Rinne who look unfazed most nights. Watch Rinne play against any team and the stun gun comes out as his stance rarely flusters. Barry Trotz, one heck of a coach, will see how his team rides the next curve with hometown boy and Hobey Baker winner, Blake Geoffrion. Smashville has smashed on through. This team is building a strong house.

The Vancouver-Nashville series is expected to start Thursday with a 9 p.m. game in Vancouver.

Western Conference final prediction: Detroit vs. Vancouver

I’m taking the Red Wings, because I always do. Vancouver deserves to battle it out with the best.

Ovechkin in, Pens out

Buffalo proved that goaltending does make a difference, but couldn’t surpass the fire of the Flyers. Miller had two shutouts in the series, but the tandem of Boucher and Leighton is brotherly love in true form. This has been a great series with higher scoring numbers. The Flyers wanted it more.

Boston and Montreal had quite a battle, but Boston moves on. Tim Thomas is a stable goaltender who will give the Philly boys a challenge. Boston is a good team, but the Flyers are scrappier.

The Philadelphi Flyers will face the Boston Bruins. The series will start Saturday afternoon at 3 EST. Classic east coast matchup.

Tampa Bay wouldn’t go away. With am 8-2 victory in Game 5 of the Pens-Lightning series, Tampa refused the exodus. That game was the turning point to rid the Pittsburgh Penguins a chance for the Cup. Sidney Crosby will recoup over the summer for a hopeful return in September. Tampa Bay’s victory is good news for the Southeast division and the growing hockey fandom down south. It’s also good for new GM Steve Yzerman. Goalie Dwayne Roloson was a great catch for Yzerman’s Lightining and will square off with the Caps rookie Neuvirth in goal. Tampa didn’t get the break as the Caps did.

Washington took back their spark beating the Rangers convincingly. This season, goalie Neuvirth illustrated his skill as former Calder Cup MVP. And he did it against Lundqvist who is the backbone of the Rangers. With Ryan Callahan out, the Rangers were down a man but the toughness expected of New York sputtered after two OT losses. Washington got a rest before the new clash in the East with their divisional rivals, the Lightining. Caps won 4 of 6 games during the regular season. This is a difficult series to predict.

Tampa will head to Washington on Friday to begin the series at 7 EST.

Eastern Conference final prediction: Tampa Bay vs. Philly

I’m riding the Lightining with their solid cast of Martin St. Louis, Steven Stamkos and Roloson. While Washington is good, the playoffs cause the Caps to fumble.

The coast with the boast

What’s with the love affair with the Western Conference? Los Angeles seems to be a hot bed for hockey now that Drew Doughty, Jack Johnson and Justin Williams is the supporting cast for Anze Kopitar- the depth of the bench holds great value. The youth movement hit teams like the Kings, the Avs and the Sharks. Couture is in, and the Blues are singing happy tunes.

The lowest team in the East lags behind the wins in the West by seven. Toronto’s fall from grace was heard around the league, yet the struggling Rangers pulled their team up with their groomed talent in Ryan Callahan and Brandon Dubinsky. The West takes bigger chances. The East sticks to tradition. There is more pressure in the East to win, not so in the West. Ebb and flow. Los Angeles chose to rebuild and invest in marketing and public relations with the other Heidi. Colorado got lucky with some smart picks who were willing to take a salary reduction. Numerous reasons have put the West into high gear for now. The population influx in western cities is evident, but few are relocating eastward. Old school hockey fans live in the West now and expect a higher level of play from their NHL franchise. That’s how it goes in Denver, where you will meet people from the cold northeast looking for 360 sunny days a year in the Mile High City, and a hockey team. It’s the people who influence, the demand for the product. It’s pure demographics and market research before investing in the product. If the population pressures the management, more will be spent on building.

The Western Conference used to stop in Detroit. Since Chicago stole the show and grabbed the Cup last season, the westward migration continues. Vancouver, Anaheim, San Jose and Phoenix speak to the newest generation of hockey fans. Don’t get me wrong- the East is not dead by any means, but the trend shifts west for now. A generation has turned more aware of hockey, growing up with Joe Sakic and Steve Yzerman as the superstars in the West. Gretzy in Edmonton, Los Angeles, and St. Louis brought more attention past the Mississippi.

Montreal, Philadelphia and New York have emerged recently to wow fans. Washington and Pittsburgh are no slouches, neither are Overchkin and Crosby, who still dictate hockey stats. Stamkos has become the new face of NHL hockey, and he’s in the East, and a beach league to boot. The expectations in the Eastern Conference are fierce and that has caused the stern look at the differences. The Western Conference has been under rated for so long, that the shock of their revival emphasizes the weakening of the East. Right now in the standings, in the West, Vancouver has 31 pts. and sits in the No. 2 slot, while Tampa Bay also has 31 pts. but sits in the No. 6 slot in the East. The consistency in the West allows an evening of the race in standings almost weekly. The hold on the top spot is tighter in the West, thus more competitive match-ups regularly. More attention to detail and fewer mistakes is a must if your team is facing stiff competitors.

The West has stayed competitive to keep up with the Red Wings over the years. Yes, I said it. Every team wants to keep up with the Wings, now and in the past. But for teams truly in the west, it seems ironic as the West touts the lone gunslinger mantra, yet the team concept translates well. Teams work well in an ambush. The East develops individual talent, so the team concept has dropped in significance, some have suggested. The Flyers seem pretty tight, as does the Rangers. Benchwarmers in the East aren’t as NHL ready as they seem to be in the West. The Tampa Bay Lightning is an eastern team benefiting from the knowledge through Steve Yzerman’s leadership. Stevie Y. learned from the best franchise team both on and off the ice.

Best bets for the Stanley Cup have pitted the Detroit Red Wings against the Washington Capitals. Another speculation could be Tampa Bay and Los Angeles. Some exciting possibilities have been created in this fluctuating season sending fantasy teams into clunkers and numerous hat-tricks. Great games are great gifts for any hockey fan, so may the season be magical!

Hat-tricks and Hits

The NHL and the NFL have come to a head, literally, with both looking at serious consequences for head hits in the game. The NHL has even gone beyond hits on the ice- they’ve gone to the fans. Suspensions came for taking aim at the fans taunting players, such as Rick Rypien who was suspended 6 games for grabbing a Minnesota Wild fan. Rypien was already in a bad mood losing to the Wild and double points for roughing plus a misconduct call. Though he didn’t apologize, Bettman did.

Daniel Alfredsson, Rene Bourque and Steven Stamkos scored hat-tricks early in the week. Alfredsson scored three times in a duel with Buffalo, and the first to score over 1K with a hat-trick. Good news for Ottawa. Up in Calgary, Bourque bounced three in the net rolling into Columbus. Stamkos scored three as a souvenir in Atlanta. Then Alex Semin strolled right in with a hat-trick of his own when the Caps met rival Atlanta over the weekend. The Islanders Tavares picked up a trio despite losing to the Panthers. But don’t forget Brad Richardson‘s triple threat over the Avs at the Pepsi Center.

In the East, The New York Rangers fought hard Saturday in Boston. Sean Avery powered a misconduct call with an instigator and fighting cherry on top. In the first period alone, 30 PIMs for fighting hit the stats. The Rangers are climbing.

The Buffalo Sabres slump is barely in its third week, but feels like a lifetime. Could the high expectations of Myers and Miller be setting the Sabres up for failure? Give it time for this all to work- because it will. Saturday saw a spark with a win by Miller and a goal by Myers.

New Jersey is fighting back, at least David Clarkson that is. Clarkson, who is guaranteed a fight a week met his quota this week with Travis Moen in Montreal. Last week he took on two fights when Washington got on his nerves taking it out on Jason Chimera and Matt Bradley. Another good slugger, Dan Carcillo, finally used the gloves and got his five for fighting in Toronto.

Way out West, cheerleaders will come to Canada, Edmonton sets the trend for some reason. Sad or sexy, obviously Taylor Hall isn’t performing the way they expedcted. So, maybe some T&A will help.

Franzen returned with a bang. Red Wings fans are happy. Detroit has its secret weapon back. The Wings are sitting in the standing nicely right now and should stay with strong play by the Mule. Zetterberg amd Holmstrom are hitting their stride to put the Wings back in a confortable place in the race. After the win at home against Anaheim, third straight win, the Wings goalie Howard continues to perform like a top netminder.

Colorado continues to have fun and maintain some wins, but hovering mid to low pack in the West. Don’t have too much fun if the job doesn’t get done. Even Liles has figured out that he’s a defenseman, so he posted five for fighting with Justin Williams. The Kings are just in front of the Avs, but look out St. Louis Blues hanging with these two talented young teams.

San Jose Sharks scrapper Ryan Clowe has risen from the dead and slugged for five. When Calgary came to town, it put the Sharks on edge, especially when the Flames went up 4-zip in the first.

So the story goes. Jumping into the third week will be an interesting jumbling of predictions that have been set aside for new ones. Don’t be surprised if your team slumps now and again as they all do. It’s a long season- hunker down with your remote and plenty of whatever keeps you going. Load up on candy too for Halloween.

Hockey for the Holidays

As you share in your festivities and blessings, think of the great hockey games you can watch with relatives this season.  Nearing mid-season, the race is heating up.  Take some time for yourself between holiday shopping and holiday parties to watch some of these great games.

In the Eastern Conference, the Pittsburgh Penguins and the Buffalo Sabres battle it out on Saturday the 19th to overtake first place Washington Capitals in the Eastern Conference. Can goalie Ryan Miler keep Sidney Crosby out of the net?  With the Penguins’ list of injuries, the Buffalo Sabres have the depth to take the Pens apart.  But they’ll have to get by the New Jersey Devils first.

The mall is too crowded on Sunday, and you’d rather be home for the battle of the Great Lakes with Detroit coming to Chicago.  Patrick Kane, Patrick Sharp and Jonathan Toews will be taking it to ailing Red Wings.  Now with Henrik Zetterberg out for two weeks, veterans Todd Bertuzzi, Brian Rafalski and Pavel Datsyuk will need to play hard against the young Hawks.  Bundle up and watch out for the wind-chill factor.

On the 21st an inter-divisional rival match-up between the Colorado Avalanche and the Minnesota Wild should be interesting.  Colorado has not done as well as they’d like against the Wild, so look for the depth of Colorado’s bench to heat up the ice and plow the Wild.

If you have your shopping done, then cozy in on the 22nd when Matt Duchene, Wojtek Wolski, and Ryan O’Reilly welcome the spunky Anaheim Ducks to Colorado.

The last day of hockey before the two-day holiday break presents the best of the East and West match-up on December23rd. Buffalo Sabres stealth goaltender Ryan Miler goes up against Alex Ovechkin and the punchy party of players in Washington. Then put your game face on when the Chicago Blackhawks come to the spastic crowds in Detroit for the second meeting for the holidays.  Do you really have to go to that holiday party?]

Happy Holidays and be safe.  No slashing, boarding or roughing!

The Many States of Hockey

I’m caught between two teams: my hometown team and my home team.  But, it’s an amazing opportunity to have been a part of both team’s histories and battles.  I feel lucky.

As a staunch Red Wings fan, I’ve been criticized for my lack of scope.  My hockey mom pal Michelle woke me from my one-sided love, “Oh Heidi, there’s more teams than the Red Wings.”  True.  She should know; she lives in Boston, is a Bruins fan, but loves her hometown San Jose Sharks.

So now that the Red Wings are pacing their stride in their division, the expectations that once were sky high have become a let down.  Meanwhile, the Colorado Avalanche are steamrolling through their division and have stunned many by exceeding expectations.   All of this doesn’t change the club, rather conveys the natural order of change.   I have been blessed with the Yzerman Era in Detroit, and the Sakic Era in Denver.  It is my sole purpose to glorifying two different types of hockey cities in this commentary.

Hockeytown will always be in Detroit.  The Red Wings are equivalent to the Canadiens for Montreal.  It’s just in our genetic makeup and we can’t be punished for sticking with the lifelong team, the team of our childhood.  My memories of hockey in Michigan are my foundation for my love for the sport and influenced my understanding of the game.  Respect is the name of the game in Detroit, and any hockey fan cannot forget that.  Detroit deserves a ton of respect, and that’s just good hockey.  Textbook hockey is what I hear from fans of the Red Wings.  Pure hockey fans love the Red Wings.  We’re the Yankees and Cowboys of the NHL.  But we’ve had our bumps.  The Wings went through a forty-year drought as a team, but the Wings fans held on.  Oh, and then there’s Gordie Howe.  Aretha Franklin wrote her iconic song Respect in Motown, Hockeytown.

When I saw Joe Sakic on a fire engine holding the Stanley Cup, I knew I was a fan.  Having moved from Ann Arbor to Denver, the Avs weren’t here yet.  A few years later, I was standing downtown watching the Stanley Cup parade go by.  What an awesome team the 1996 Avalanche were; truly, hockey at its best.  But Denver still isn’t a hockey town like Detroit.   I meet too many people who aren’t interested, yet the Avalanche fans are the most polite people I’ve ever encountered at a hockey game or hanging out with at morning skates.  When I tell them I’m also a Wings fan, they tell me they’re sorry, But they still talk to me about hockey.  DU Pioneer hockey has always been my link with Colorado, and the Pioneers just celebrated 60 years on ice. That’s tradition.

The series of playoffs games between the Detroit Red Wings and Colorado Avalanche were an exhibition of old-time hockey greatness.  Steve Yzerman and Joe Sakic together on the ice fighting for a right to represent the Western Conference starting in 1996, is classic.  The Avalanche came in as the new kid on the block facing the tested and true Wings.

Avs fans love to razz me about the Wings mediocre season, and the Wings fans tell me I’ve “gone to the other side.”  I’ve always been diplomatic in my approach to relationships, and this is no different.  I like the New York Rangers too because my husband gave me his Rangers jacket from the 1980s.   My nights are spent watching hockey and writing about the sport I can’t live without.  I’ll watch any game, any team.

Glows and Blows- Week 7

Glows-

The November 16th issue of The Hockey News was devoted to the blue line.  Heading up the charge was top defenseman Niklas Lidstrom.

There were more blows than glows this week, which meant lots of fighting.

Blows-

Battle of Ontario was a slugfest between the Leafs and Senators, posting 40 PIMs for fighting.  Only one game misconduct was called.

Brad May has established himself at the new Red Wing bad guy.  Despite the acquisition of Todd Bertuzzi, May has evolved into the spirited old school scrapper Darren McCarty style.

A bad blow for the Red Wings as Niklas Kronwall is out 4-8 weeks due to a hit by Canadien Georges Laraque.

My roster said DTD, but Minnesota bad boy David Backes took 2 for roughing against the Coyotes.  Last week his brutal blows didn’t seem to stop this week’s intensity. Welcome back!

Chicago’s Brent Seabrook and Flame Dion Phaneuf battled it out Thursday night for a great match up right in front of the penalty box.

Dallas Star James Neal did his duty against Columbus posting 19 PIMs in one game.  His hit on Blue Jacket Derek Dorsett cost Neal a two game suspension.

Atlanta Thrasher Maxim Afinogenov was dynamite against Tampa Bay, posting 6 PIMs, 4 for roughing.

Yzerman’s Detroit Legacy

Last Saturday Detroit Red Wings’ Steve Yzerman was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame, and his contribution to the world of hockey is indisputable.  I always knew his role in hockey, but his imprint on me was validated when I had to fill out a questionnaire regarding my favorite hockey team for a website.  The question asked, “Who is your favorite player of all time?”  I didn’t hesitate with my answer, Steve Yzerman.

The banners in Joe Louis Arena display championships dating back to the 1920s when Sid Abel and Ted Lindsay were the “production line.”  Most associate Gordie Howe with Red Wings hockey greatness, but my time with the Wings begins in the Yzerman Era.

Stevie Y was drafted by the Wings in 1983 and became team captain in 1986. That’s when hockey became alive for me.  I didn’t keep track of his scoring rather his presence on the ice.  His leadership was from the heart and his commitment to the team and the city raised the bar.  He was my Mr. Hockey.

I remember family events would mosey into talk of how the Red Wings were doing this season.  No change since I was young. Recently at a cousin reunion in Ann Arbor, I was reminded of my “admiration” for Steve Yzerman.  It caused some great laughter.

My cousins would come home from their factory jobs at Ford and watch the Red Wings in their basement.  A few years ago, I traveled back for my Uncle’s funeral in Pontiac; my cousins and I felt the awkwardness of the day.  Our talk turned to the Detroit Lions, the Tigers and the Wings.  We all agreed that the Red Wings were our favorite.  We talked about Stevie Y and his leadership, representing the hard work and persistence found in Detroit.  In many ways the “production line” hadn’t quit.

Meeting old high school friends in Ann Arbor even raised the profound impact of the Red Wings.   I would be attending the Wings-Predators game that next afternoon at the Joe, and was excited to hear about others who had recently gone to the games. One friend recalled her dad taking her to Red Wings game as a kid.  She had that far and away look, “great times,” she said, “I miss those times just me and my dad. It was our special day.”

Steve’s portfolio is impressive leading in scoring his rookie year with 87 points and lifting the Wings into the spotlight after a long drought.   But what Detroit fans will always remember about Steve Yzerman is his stint as team captain from 1986-2006 making him the longest served captain for one team.  Detroit was proud of that bond with our captain and our Wings.  We considered him to be home, one of us.  He turned it around like the city had so many times, and graced us with three Stanley Cups.  He proved that hard work and strong bonds could create success and honor.  Steve Yzerman showed the world that the Detroit Red Wings was a family.  That’s his legacy.

Red Wings Redux

They’re the Yankees of hockey, the Cowboys of the NHL and fodder for the media hype of a downed dynasty.  Red Wings fans are not worried. Panic just makes things worse, and in this case worse is not an option.  The team will be back, stronger than ever.  Bandwagon bummers can get off at the next stop.

 

Cautious hockey blogs are stating the obvious:  the Wings don’t look like the team that almost won the Stanley Cup.  They’re not!  The team lost three major players that had a direct impact on scoring:  Jiri Hudler, Mikael Samueslson, and Marian Hossa.  Evidently the trio made an impact, and while the Wings added players with strengths not all have NHL experience.

 

Transitioning perhaps, however, scouting and management decisions have brought some great talent throughout the years and this season is no different.  Sure, the younger guys are still squeaky, but by no means are Pavel Datsyk and Henrik Zetterberg past their prime.  The younger players such as Villa Leino and Jonathan Ericsson were hot during the Stanley Cup playoffs last season; one hopeful, Valterri Filppula will miss 4-8 weeks with a broken wrist.  They’ll get it back.  Detroit is always cautious about any game and expects the best.

 

Pleasure may be derived by some based on the Red Wings slow start, but with a 25-week season I’m not worried about the situation.  Even during down times in Detroit’s hockey history, the fans stood tall and behind their team.  I’m no exception.

 

This week was the tour of Canada, and the Red Wings sparked the team with their first road win in Vancouver coming from a 2-0 deficit to win 5-4.  The Edmonton Oilers know what it’s like to be down and were also discouraged by last season’s performance. With a new attitude the Oilers came out strong, stumping the Wings to a 4-0 deficit.  Wing goalie Jimmy Howard was in deep water, but the Wings rallied to tie the game 4-4 to gain a point.  In the end, a shootout won the Oilers the game.

 

This hard work and talent can move the puck creating the team that everyone loves to hate, yet respects because they play the game well and make a good opponent.   No one is debating the ability of the team, but with a Halloween game in Calgary, and Steve Yzerman being inducted into the Hockey Hall of fame on the same day, Red Wings fans are hoping for a treat, not a trick.