Well it has returned, and with a good opening show, too. Preseason hockey isn’t a time to look at records, wins and losses, all that. It’s a time to look at lines, chemistry, combinations, conditioning, new faces, prospects, alternatives. And in the grand scheme of things the Red Wings looked pretty good. Rookies and younger kids turned the puck over at the line, either ‘trying to do too much,’ as the old adage goes, or simply failing to get the puck deep and making Ericssonian mistakes (congrats to Jon E. for the new term!).
But it’s here. And all the necessary components assembled or not, it’s something to be afraid of. What I like best about this team is how quiet they are. Some may hate our home-team journalistic continuous lack of in-depth coverage. Some may think we’re not enough of a force in this modern era to pick up free-agents with enough of a name and resume and that this fact hurts us when we can’t rely solely on the usual big-names to carry us. Some even think we’re too old and our failure to draw younger, bigger stars to Detroit makes us an outgoing, dying dynasty. The fall of Rome, one might compare us to.
I think differently though. I think our quiet, modest approach to this off-season only makes us more of a threat. We very quietly beefed up our defense. We don’t have to hush the fact that our big stars are returning because, well, we’re the Red Wings and we hold on to our best (see also: Steve Yzerman). The Red Wings Organ-I-zation was very quiet, almost stealthy. And let’s face it, we know this team, and at this stage in our lives, we know danger. We know that quiet, when dealing with such high potentials, is always dangerous. It’s like being chased by a predator (and I’m not talking about the predators that Chris Hansen can’t get enough of interviewing) and just when you think you can catch your breath after 20 seasons of sleepless anxiety, you take a break.
But there is such thing as a worried stillness. The calm before the storm. Like being in the bush hunting big game, surrounded by a family of bears or other carnivorous creatures you stumbled in too close to with the tunnelvision of a higher quest, their perfect tranquility and stillness is a sign of impending danger. Such is the case with this team. There was no parade this year on Woodward Ave. There was no celebration during the postseason. There was only paperwork and press-conference to announce retirements. Outgoing legends. The waters we so diligently patrol as Red Wings fans were serene and calm, much to the dismay of the Chief.
That must only mean one thing. Either all of the Red Wings’ franchise were cryogenically frozen after Game 7 or we have been busy preparing for our invasion of the 2011-12 season, similar to the Cold War preparations by a different Red Army a generation ago. Which reminds me, Brendan Smith may turn the puck over too much at this level in his first NHL preseason appearance, but damn it is good to see a physical Red Wing defenseman wearing the number 2.
As the preseason continues, I will be right here with the franchise as always and thoroughly enthralled by the speed of our youngsters and their adaptations to the Red Wings style of play. It’s a science experiment before October 7th, and we’re all very lucky to be able to watch.
LGRW and we hope you all join us in welcoming Twig to the most feared fighting force in the Red Wings fans’ war on words.