How will Detroit cope without Schneider?
I find it hard to believe any team can lose its No. 2 blueliner and advance to the Stanley Cup finals, something the Detroit Red Wings are going to attempt against the Anaheim Ducks beginning on Friday.
Missing Mathieu Schneider is going to impact this series far more than most expect, simply because his transition game is so valuable at even strength and on the power play. Not a big guy, he has nonetheless had a career year at age 37 and been a very big part of the run Detroit has put together this season.
A lot of the weight of this series would have been on Nick Lidstrom even with Schneider in the line-up, but now the perennial Norris Trophy candidate is going to have all he can handle for 30+ minutes a night. And that's with 64-year-old Chris Chelios playing 25.
The Wings are the underdog in this one, there's no question.