|Detroit Red Wings|
|Friday, 26 August 2011 21:45|
The fuel gauge for the Detroit Red Wings reads under a 1/4 of a tank, the tires have pinhole leaks and the odometer just turned over at 100,000 miles. Other than that, things are fine for the 11-time Stanley Cup champions.
Age is catching up to the Red Wings with their main core group now over the age of 30 or, in the case of defensive stalwart Nicklas Lidstrom, much older.
The 2010-2011 season marked the first time in his long and storied NHL career that Lidstrom finished with a below sea lever plus/minus rating (-2). Yes, he bagged yet another Norris Trophy but the finish line to his tremendous career is now within sight, perhaps as early as next spring.
The retirement of fellow defenseman Brian Rafalski left a gaping void on the Wings' backline and they gambled by giving the much traveled Ian White a handsome two-year contract to aid Lidstrom and other solid defensemen Niklas Kronwall and Brad Stuart. The Red Wings saw enough of White in last year's playoffs against San Jose to believe he's worth that kind of money but TheO6.com is alway leery of players unable to stick with one team over a short amount of time.
Offensively the Red Wings will be fine with the likes of Henrick Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, Johan Franzen, Danny Cleary and Todd Bertuzzi all back for another kick at the can. Goals should be plentiful - and they'll have to be.
The Achilles heel for the Red Wings next spring will eventually be the goaltending of Jimmy Howard. Last season Howard had a 2.79 GAA and a .908 save percentage, both ranking near the bottom of league leaders and completely unacceptable numbers for an alleged Stanley Cup contender. Howard will not be pushed at any time by an in-house candidate as veteran Ty Conklin, on the deep back nine of his career, was signed as Howard's backup.
TheO6.com has the Red Wings definitely making the playoffs - let's give them the 5th seed in the conference - but any games played past the first round of the playoffs will be done so with house money.
|Last Updated on Tuesday, 19 March 2013 18:30|