yankee hockey

WESTERN CONFERENCE PREDICTIONS 08-09

Posted in Detroit, predictions by amanoidopera on October 7, 2008

1. Detroit Red Wings

If there is one thing the last ten or so years has taught any hockey analyst it’s not to ever doubt the Red Wings. Year after year they put a team on the ice that dominates the Western Conference, and I don’t see this year being any different.

Back is nearly the same groups of forwards with the powerful addition of Marian Hossa. Back is perennial Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lindstrom. Back is Stanley Cup winning goalie Chris Osgood. Where are the weaknesses in this team? So what else can we think but back is the Stanley Cup? Well… maybe. They will certainly be fighting for it, and it starts with winning the West once again.

The Offense:

One of the top offenses of last season is back with a shot of caffeine that goes by the name of Marian Hossa. Let me just list some other names; Datsyuk, Franzen, Holmstrom, Zetterberg. If I’m the opposing goalie, I need an adult diaper. Add Hossa to that, and young Valtteri Filppula who’s sure to break the 20 goal mark this season and I don’t see a weak link on the Wings’ forward lines.

The Defense:

Anytime you start a blueline with Nicky Lidstrom you start with strength. Niklas Kromwall and Brian Rafalski bring with them a lot of experience, strength, and even a fair amount of offense. Brad Stuart sticks with the team and would like to reaffirm that he can play the role of a shut down defensemen. Chris Chelios is getting on in years, but don’t let that trick you into thinking he’s weak. Though I expect him to miss time with injury this year, as well as getting days off to rest, his presence in the locker room will be invaluable to the team.

The Goaltending:

Yes Chris Osgood backed the Wings to a Stanley Cup, and he’s still a fine goaltender. The Wings can’t ride him forever though. The tandem of Osgood and Conklin will be enough to win the division. But an injury to Osgood will change that, Conklin is no starter, especially not in the hard fought West. Also, there are questions as to whether, after carrying the Wings through the regular season, will Osgood have enough left in the tank to go deep into the playoffs?

The Fans:

Detroit is Hockeytown, there is no doubt about that. Smaller crowds are due more likely to troubled economic times then a lack of support. These are still some of the most die hard fans south of the border. Red Wing fandom is a family affair, it is passed down through the generations, and no matter where they play you are bound to see Red Wings jerseys peppered throughout the seats. Expect to see a lot of red and white in Detroit, and a lot of octopi come May.

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