Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Not Dead Yet



But getting there.

When is the last time the Red Wings were not a good team? 1991? Was it 92 and 93 that they were a young and upcoming team that got upset in the first round? That's a fifteen year run.

Holy shit - that's good.

And I think that while they are in decline they have maybe one more divisional title left in them. Part of me thinks Nashville might catch them - that's the key. But if I look at their rosters the Wings still have the edge.

The Wings did have a three year stretch without a Cup between 98 and 02 but that was when they were battling with the Avs and the Stars (and then later the Blues) for conference supremacy.

Since 2002 they have two first round exits and a second round exit as well. To lower seeds in each case. Times have changed.

Yzerman is gone. Shanahan. Now they are a two line team rather then a three line team.

Holmstrom, Lang, Maltby, Draper and even Lidstrom are aging. Lidstrom may have won the Norris but he was ineffective against the Oilers.

Chelios, well, he sold his soul to the Devil years ago.

And the goaltending? Does anyone really think Hasek is going to get it done for this team?

Kronwall is a beaut. Datsyuk too.

And Zetterberg? One of the best. Period.

I think they have one more division title - the D is too good (and Markov will help there as well) and Zetterberg and Datsyuk will carry the offence.

But their days as true contenders are over.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

On the way down, but the competition in their division is still relatively weak, making them look better again.

Vic Ferrari said...

Yzerman is gone. Shanahan. Now they are a two line team rather then a three line team.

That's the key point to my mind. Unless they can catch lightning in a bottle with one of their prospects, they just won't be as tough to play against without that 3rd line that can score.

I've thought that the Wings would be in decline for ages though, so I'm gunshy about predicting it. Old guys just seem to be able to play forever for the Wings though. Father time finally caught up with Yzerman, but he was still pretty damn effective when we saw him last in the playoffs.

Anonymous said...

Zetty was hands down the best Wing against the Oil, but Yzerman was definitely second and scary as heck when he played. I kept dreading the games when he suited up. He went out on top and their captain. Good for him =)

And I don't know about the Wings dropping off too much in about 2 seasons. They could have a prospect or two come up, and pull off a Lilja or two on the FA market...you never know...they just haven't seemed to have plummeted like they should have for these last few years.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

Oh they're not done yet and they will likely win their division.

And in Zetterberg, Datsyuk and Kronwall they have three kids to build around - they're way ahead of most teams.

I just don't see them challenging for the Cup - I think that is over with.

And Vic's point is exactly the one I am making - its one thing when you have three lines that can score - one of them is going to hit the third D pair and easy marks - can't be helped.

The Oilers could match Peca and Horcoff against two lines but who would face the third.

With two lines suddenly these guys will face tougher opposition every shift at least on the road if the opposing coach so desires.

Vic Ferrari said...

I think that is what really separated the elite teams last season, Ottawa and Detroit. I know they both disappointed in the playoffs, but anyone who thinks that BUF outplayed the Sens has been smoking the drapes. And anyone who thinks that the Oilers outchanced the Wings is wearing copper and blue glasses in the darkest tint available.

Of course OTT and DET also had a good defense, with a couple of really good PP guys back there as well. But when Yzerman/Lang are on the 3rd line coming over the boards, right there wher the soft minutes are supposed to be ... it's a long night for the opposition. Same with OTT. Same with Ottawa, especially when Havlat was healthy.

If the '06 playoffs were played on thousands of paralell universes ... every bugger in the derby would win some cups I'm sure, but OTT or DET would win the largest share of them IMO.

Do the Oilers have that same thing going now, with three lines that can score without cheating for offense? Personally I dunno. If all goes well, and a couple of the younger forwards step up their game a bit, probably. But it could go either way. And hopefully the patchwork D can get the forwards the puck enough to win them games, and I think (hope) that they can.

namflashback said...

vic,

So true, there was enough things that went the Oilers way to win against the Wings, but that was certainly the underdog series of the four the Oilers played. Then, under the frustrating Oilers press the Wings own self-doubt got to them.

I am hoping that that self-doubt about their identity continues to trouble them. The best part is that they will probably be mentally fragile no matter if their reg season is going well or not.

Chris said...

I'm really not ready to write off the Red Wings yet, I don't think the Predators are quite there yet in terms of being able to overtake the Wings in that division yet. Although I will admit that I think the gap between the two has narrowed. On the other hand as I recall the Wings do have a fairly talented farm team that went deep in the AHL playoffs so they should have some young guys in the pipeline ready to step in.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

chris - I'm sure they'll have a couple of guys step in although over at AbeltoYzerman they're talking fourth liners not anyone for the first two likely.

Gap has narrowed but I agree - the Preds aren't there yet.

Chris said...

Yea, I agree that they don't necessarily have anyone whose going to come in and have a Crosby or Ovenchkin effect. But the only player whose regular season production they seem likely to miss is Shannahans. Yzerman was great in the playoffs, but he didn't play alot in the regular season.

Black Dog Hates Skunks said...

You're right Chris and they also have to make the transition to a younger team anyhow.

But from three effective lines to two.

Aging of key guys.

Goaltending issues.

They will likely win the division again but I this may be the last one for a while, a short while perhaps, but a while.

Terrific run though.