Similarities exist between this season and the cup winning 2008 season and those similarities have most of us convinced that the Wings are still the team to beat this year. However, there are some key differences. We’ll explore those, then I’ll let you decide how much whiskey to add to your glass.
Jump to start the exploration:
Okay, so it’s late in the season and Lidstrom is out for an extended period of time. Just like 2008! And the Wings can’t seem to get it together. Just like 2008! Also in 2008 Detroit picked up some help on the blueline by trading for Brad Stuart. This year it was Kyle Quincey. In 2008, Darren McCarty came home. This year, Kyle Quincey. In 2008 Detroit learned that a combination for Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and #96 Tomas Holmstrom could be the most dominant line in hockey. Lately, we’ve come to realize that a combination of Filppula, Zetterberg and #26 Jiri Hudler can score almost at will.
In 2008, Dan Cleary was practically invisible. He picked up 3 points in 22 playoff games. I could see him doing that again.
However, in 2008, around the time Detroit was getting pounded by injuries, Johan Franzen was just a checker. He was a Swedish Drew Miller. Important, but just a checker. Then he started scoring more than a rapist rooming with a coma patient. We have no rapist right now. No grinder-turned-superstar that can score at will.
Also in 2008, Detroit had Dallas Drake. He was the guy who had never won the cup. The blue collar player who would do whatever it took to win, even if it meant banking goals in off of Kris Draper’s face. Who is our Dallas Drake this year? Bert? Maybe. But he’s had two chances already and I don’t know that he’s had a Dallas Drake-like influence on the team.
Goaltending is better now than in 2008, but is our tandem of Howard and MacDonald as good as Osgood and Hasek? Meaning, if something bad happened (again), can Joey be the man? Let’s never find out.
Back in 2008, Detroit was 3rd in goals for and 1st in goals against. This year, they’re currently sitting at 4th in goals for and 4th in goals against. Worse, but contender-esque.
Special teams are not worth talking about.
I always loved how Cleary looks unsure if he should celebrate or not.
The Competition: In 2008, Detroit had home ice throughout the playoffs. The next closest team was San Jose and they were 7 points back. Detroit played Nashville first and struggled some as they were still trying to find their legs after all the injuries. San Jose hilariously lost to Dallas, then moved on to play against Anaheim. Detroit draws a broken and beat down Colorado team and tea bags them 4 times. Next Detroit plays Dallas who have beaten 2 of the top 3 teams in the West. Detroit wins, but loses Mule to a concussion. Then Pittsburgh.
None of that really matters yet because we don’t know who the Wings will play in the post season, but it was worth noting that as good as that 2008 team was, they didn’t have to play San Jose or Anaheim. If they had, would they have been healthy enough for Pittsburgh? So have faith, friends. As bad as it has been for a couple weeks, there are plenty of similarities between this team and the one from 2008. There are some differences, too, but we can’t worry about that stuff. It will be fixed, or it won’t, but at the end of the day, they’re the Red Wings and they’ll find a way.
How much whiskey do you want now?