Biggest question now the lockout is over

Hey, hey hockey’s back!  It’s finally over the 2012-13 NHL season is officially on track to begin, eventually.  A tentative deal was worked out between the NHL and the NHLPA early this morning which will bring hockey the NHL back to America.

I could use this forum to bitch and moan about what happened and how everyone is a loser in this situation, but I’m not.  It has been done and is a bit of a stale subject because everyone lost, the players, owners and anyone whose business revolves around the NHL.

My big question is this: are the Detroit Red Wings any good?

This team lost a lot this offseason both offensively and defensively and the big free agent signing was Carlo Colaiacovo, who totaled 19 points last season.  GM Ken Holland left a lot of cap space and hopefully if some teams start to cut veteran players we will be in the right place to add some pieces.

Trying to replace Nicklas Lidstrom is an impossible task and the loss of Brad Stuart didn’t help matters either, but this team does have a lot of young prospects that can come up from Grand Rapids and help immediately.  But with young players there is also a period where they need to get use to playing in the NHL, and with an abbreviated season the Wings may not have that luxury.

No matter what happens this season, this team should be fun to watch.  The speed in which guys like Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar move down the ice paired with Datsuyk and Zetterberg will be awesome.  Riley Sheahan, Teletubbies incident behind him, is a big body similar to guys like the Mule and should learn how to use his size.

Adding Mikael Samulesson should help replace Jiri Hudler while Jordin Tootoo should give this team a physical presence that it hasn’t seen since the days of Probert and Kocur.  Having a solid back up goaltender like Jonas Gustavsson will give starter Jimmy Howard a break during the quickly moving season.

This team has all of the pieces to make the playoffs and contend on a nightly basis.  With the shortened season every team has a chance and making the playoffs and more still should be the goal of this bunch.

What do you think hockey fans, will the Wings be able to make the playoffs or will the consecutive appearance streak end with this shortened season?  Let us know at @DSBloggers on Twitter or on Facebook or in the comments below to tell us what you, the fans, think.

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2 Responses to Biggest question now the lockout is over

  1. Beavs says:

    So I know I’m a bit late to the party here, but I thought I’d give my 2 cents on the Wings heading into the season opener. I’ve read a lot of analysis and speculation on the Wings odds and it is 75% cliche and end of the world commentary about the loss of Lidstrom and the end of our Dynasty. I agree with some and disagree with others, but here’s my take on the Wings:

    Positives:
    The offense is very good and very deep. Our Top-6 is pretty tight (hoping Samuelson delivers here) and the Pavel-Hank-Brunner line looks just dominant. I firmly believe that Detroit’s bottom-6 are what have kept us a powerhouse for so long and given us the longevity to win Stanley cups. This is all predicated on a competent and confident front office and ours is still both. I’m incredibly happy to see Eaves back in the lineup and hoping Helm stays healthy. I think those two guys play a very under-appreciated (outside of Detroit) role in the success of the team.
    I think we still have very strong leadership both on the ice and behind the bench. Zetterberg has been vetted for this role for a long time and I think that Kronwall is a capable leader for the defense corps. Babcock and his glorious hair will continue to do what they do. Hoping our new special teams coach will be able to work the same magic he did in Edmonton.
    Finally, we have a legitimate backup goaltender. Even with a shortened schedule, I’d like to see Jimmy resting much more often.

    Negatives:
    Oh the defense…
    I realize it’s the cliche of the hockey blog community to bash on the Wings’ blue line, and after a few months of excuse making and well-wishing, I’m inclined to agree with them. The loss of Lidstrom is obviously huge, but that was a calculable loss. The management knew that was coming from years out and should have had a transition strategy in place (that did not involve getting outbid on Suter). The loss of Stuart cuts a bit deeper for me. I’ve been a huge fan of #23 and I think he filled a very important and unmet need of the wings. It’s easy to look at the individual players left on our defense and try to find positive aspects of their game (ok… maybe not Kindl…) but I don’t think this is the right way to assess the quality of the defense. If I look at the Wings’ back end roster side-by-side with just about any other team in the West, I have a lot of trouble saying I’d rather have the Wings’. And as tough as that is to swallow, I think it’s the most realistic evaluation available.
    Again on special teams, there are some big question marks. On paper our PK should improve quite dramatically with Eaves back in the mix and once Helm comes off IR. The PP is more of my concern. I think this is where Lidstrom’s presence will be most felt. He was the quarterback and facilitated the puck moving design we utilized. However, our new coach is focused on much less puck movement and a lot more net crashing, which will probably better play to our current roster. Also worth noting – Samuelson, Smith, Larry Murphy, Mike Illich, or my grandmother would be better choices at the point on the PP than Hudler, so nowhere to go but up there!

    Key Factors (Individuals and factors most critical to our success):
    -Brendan Smith: We need this kid to be not just reliable on defense, but incredible. He has the pedigree and opportunity to shine and I think it’s going to be a make or brake factor for the Wings.
    -Damien Brunner: I’m getting more and more and more excited for this guy. We have loved watching the Euro-twins make ridiculous plays for years, but they have never had the right goal scorer to really turn their talent into production. If he can deliver he will not only improve the Wings’ record, but also shut up all of the neigh-sayers who think Ken Holland’s luck has run out.
    -Speaking off… Ken Holland: I won’t lie in that I was disappointed with our off season activity. I wanted Suter bad and don’t feel like we came anywhere near picking up the talent we could have. BUT, in Kenny I trust and he has a sizable amount of cap space to make some magic happen. He needs to find the right defenseman and write him a large check. We have excess talent up front that we can afford to let go of.
    -Jimmy Howard: I have no doubt of Jimmy’s abilities, but I fear we’re putting an unfair and unrealistic amount of pressure on him. Without a strong Defense in front of him, we need him to come up huge this season. If his numbers suffer this season, it should be considered a failure of the organization and not Jimmy Howard.
    -The Central Division: Unfortunately, a lot of success is relative, particularly with the intra-conferance format. There are only so many points to go around and we are in a stacked division. I think that the departure of Suter has a much larger impact on Nashville than the analysts are expecting and they will not be as competitive as last year. St. Louis and Chicago have not changed significantly this year and that sucks. The Blues success last year was heavily rooted in their incredible goal tending. Goal tending can be a very streaky quality and it’s tough to say if the Blues’ duo can repeat their dominance. Chicago is on the opposite side of that fence with a very complete roster that lacks Cup-worthy goaltending. I always have and continue to give the Hawks their due respect. Also, I think there’s a team in Ohio that we play a few times.

  2. Pingback: Red Wings season preview |

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