Monday, June 9, 2008

2007-2008 Season Dead

It's been a couple days, I suppose I should recognize the Detroit Red Wings as Stanley Cup champions. Ok...recognized.

Now to Wild off-season speculation. For the Wild, we already know Petteri Nummelin and Branko Radivojevic are for sure gone, going overseas to play this next season. Pavol Demitra is almost certainly gone, the rumors have him going to Vancouver. Kurtis Foster will most likely miss most if not all of next season. Will Brian Rolston be back? One thing is for sure, the Wild will look a bit different in October.

Can this team keep up with the rest of the conference and finish with home ice advantage? Can they figure out a way to fend off the improving Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, Edmonton Oilers and make the playoffs? Will Doug Risebrough try to imitate the Red  Wings like he tried to imitate the Ducks, only to have it backfire in his face? Will the fans revolt if DR does not bring some talent in here? 

Stay's going to be interesting before the season starts. And thanks to the never ending playoffs, we have less than 4 months to wait until the puck drops again.


  1. Ooo, sounds like an episode of Desperate Housewives with all of the questions.

    I really don't care WHO we sign as long as we can get a player who can actually score and won't take up all of our cap space.
    What do you think DR will do in order to keep Gabby here? Will he sign the whole country of Slovakia?

  2. Wait a minute! I know J-Dog is anxious to move onto Wild speculation, but the champaign just quit flowing in Detroit. I feel a proper recognition of Detroit's Stanley Cup run is due before we put a bow (a red one, for certain) on the '08 season! Let's recap:

    • Detroit wins their 11th Stanley Cup in team history, and 4th in 11 years.
    • Nick Lindstrom becomes the first European born and trained Captain to win the Stanley Cup (take that Don Cherry!), forever destroying the myth that Euro players can't do it.
    • Hank (I call him Hank; we've got a great vibe) Zetterberg wins the Conn Smyth trophy, joining Nick Lindstrom (you know who) as the second European to win the award. His defensive stop on Sid 'the teary-eyed' Kid was probably the play of the series and defined how Detroit shut down the Pens with their team defence.
    • Zetterberg sets a team record in with 27 points in the playoffs. More than anything, this stat demonstrates that for any team to win the Cup, their top players must perform like their marquee suggests they should. Gabby should pay attention to how Hank performed in the playoffs and realize that to succeed when it counts, you have to be a two-way player. Hank proved that you can play defense and score (take that Gabby!).
    • Chris Osgood continues to prove his elite status with a 1.55 goals against average (best in the league) in the playoffs. Ozzie took a huge leap forward this year and is a much more poised, confident goalie than his first run with the Wings. Geeky hockey factoid - he joins former Wings great Terry Sawchuck as the only starting goalie in NHL history to win the Cup after a ten year gap. Ozzie - '98 and '08; Sawchuck '55 and '67 (ok, it was with Toronto in '67).
    • Pavel Datsuyk led the finals in hits, and multiple times set up key goals or scored key goals while stick handling in a phone booth and being swarmed by the Pens.
    • Detroit scored the most goals and held their opponents to the lowest amount scored. They held the Pens to 13 straight periods of single-digit shots!
    • Detroit closed out each series on the road. I believe this impressed me most of all. In hockey, seemingly more so than other sports, momentum in the playoffs seem to dictate success in a series (just ask previous Red Wings teams). With the exception of the sweep of the Avs, Detroit closed out each series after a seemingly devastating home loss.
    • Despite being the oldest team in the league (average age of 32), they clearly outplayed the very young Pens. This stat is slightly misleading as many of their key players are well under 30, and carrying guys like the Dominator (43) and Chelios (46) has to sku that figure somewhat. The Wings have incredible team speed and play a bruising team defense that cuts down on passing lanes and limits opponent's scoring chances (take that Barry 'the Sharks are the best team in hockey' Melrose!).
    • Detroit has all major players on the team signed at least through next year, and much to the chagrin of the NHL, is a projected $15 million under the cap for next year. This will allow them to sign their pending free agents, plus give them the potential to add a key free agent likle Mats Sundin. I don't know how to say Hockeytown in Swedish, but it may be warranted if this transpires. BTW - Detroit IS Hockeytown. End of discussion.
    • Drafting. How many of the Red Wings were drafted near or below 100th in the draft (Zetterberg an astounding 210th!). Many hockey fans think the Red Wings are nothing more than the Yankees of the NHL, but nearly everyone of their players have been drafted in the lower rounds, then developed in Detroit. Even Nick Lindstrom was a third round pick.

    OK, now that we've properly put a bright Red Wings bow on this season, how about them Wild? I'm not being sarcastic when I say I wanted a Red Wings-Wild Western Conference Finals.

    Instead of adding a much needed second line center or top defenseman (like Detroit did with Brad Stuart), Dougie 'the Plan' Reisbrough brings in Chris Simon. It's too bad 'the Plan' won't be joining him in Russia next season!

    It sounds like there is still a chance to re-sign Demitra (according to Russo's recent column), but would bringing him back make much of a difference? His first year brought a much needed spark (and probably kept Gabby here), but did he do anything this year to make anyone believe he can make a major contribution to the Wild's future?
    • Obviously the Wild's future depends on Gabby deciding he want to play here and the rumors of him wanting to play in the all-offence Easten Conference aren't true. I think guys like Zetterberg and Datsuyk proved that you can be an elite offensive player while still playing solid defense that is required in Jacque's system. Even if the team turns all-Slovak, it seems like Gabby keeps thinking the grass is greener on the other side. Hopefully this is not the case and he finally realizes his potential here.
    • Will the Wild steal a free agent like Ryan Malone or Hossa? The last batch of free agents, other than Demitra, didn't do much for me. Parrish has been a fading presense as his arrival, and guys like Hill, Kim Johnsson, or Bergeron (who, hello, had eight goals last year and was a -16!) didn't have the grit or scoring touch to move the Wild to the next level. They seemed to be second or third tier players, rather than the diamond-in-the-rough players Detroit has been so adept at finding. Here's to a more aggressive approach in top-flight free agents and Gabby not being in a Rangers uniform.

    Paul C

  3. What do you think about the Marc-Andre Bergeron trade? I'm really interested to see what Lemaire can do with him. He's got a great shot, but seems to need to learn how to see the big picture when he's out on the ice...

  4. Paul C...I'll I've got to say is "wow." That was more in depth than most of my posts this year. Good on ya!

    c.k...I'm still formulating my opinion. I don't kno much about Bergeron. Russo's made a teaser post before it was official, but he didn't name a name, and I was hoping it was going to be a little more.

    I'll post on that (eventually).

  5. Sick new blog layout! I like it.

  6. Thx Kirsten. Now just to actually write some content.

  7. Summer is a busy time, and it's hard to focus on hockey for me. Especially when the Twins are owning.


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