Where the Wings fit in
Bill at Abel to Yzerman had some entertaining words yesterday for THN writer Adam Proteau:
Are the Wings going to win the Central? Perhaps. Maybe not. Will they finish in the top 5 in the conference? Some are saying no. Will they miss the playoffs? Shut up.And I'll sing the harmony.
I don’t care if Osgood starts 70 games. I don’t care if Howard starts 75. Hasek and Ozzie could go down in a freak tandem-bike accident on 10 October and Detroit’s still in the playoffs.
I’ll tell you what…the Wings miss the postseason and I’ll sing an ode to Denver to the tune of Looking Glass’ timeless classic, “Brandy” and put it here on A2Y.
This same situation happened last year, when many were predicting the 'aging' Red Wings were ripe for a step back. (I was the only one of a small panel of blog experts last summer to put the Wings in the Top 3.)
The team went on to win the President's Trophy as the league's best team, and heading into this year, they really haven't lost enough pieces to foresee much of a step back. Sure, Brendan Shanahan, Steve Yzerman and Manny Legace are gone, but a full year with players like Niklas Kronwall and Danny Markov on the blueline and Dominik Hasek in goal should be more than enough to replace those losses.
More importantly than all of these this, however, is the fact that the Central Division still looks as soft as Jan Hrdina, and there's no one aside of the Nashville Predators — who have questions to face of their own — who can even challenge Detroit.
With the division-heavy schedule, it's nearly impossible that fewer than two teams per division will make the playoffs, and St. Louis, Chicago and Columbus simply didn't do enough to be one of them. Detroit gets in by default, tandem-bicycle accident or not.