Posted by Bob Biscigliano in Detroit Red Wings
Chalk up another banner to the Joe Louis Arena rafters in Hockeytown, Detroit. Tonight, the Detroit Red Wings will be raising their 11th Stanley Cup Championship banner to the rafters, before they embark on a journey toward a 12th, as they start the season against the Toronto Seaholm Maple Leafs. This will be 50 banners in total. This is an exciting time for all die-hard Detroit sports fans because the start of the NHL season will give us a much needed break from the dreadful Detroit Lions, disappointing Detroit Tigers season, and tough times surrounding the city of Detroit involving the economy and former mayor Kwame Kilpatrick. The city's black eye will slowly subside with the banner rising remembering last season's championship and the start of the Red Wings defense.
The Red Wings are by far and away the favorites to win the NHL Stanley Cup again this year as they boast almost the exact same lineup as last year with a key addition in league-star, Marian Hossa. Shakespeare, if he were alive today, wouldn't be able to describe the beauty and romance of this lineup. I have to admit though, the Detroit Free Press did a pretty good job when they referred to it as downright swoon-worthy. Personally, I can't even begin to explain how good it actually is. I really can't. That's tough for me to say because I've been around great Red Wings lineups before. Literally. I dated Hall of Famer, Igor Larionov's daughter when I was seventeen years old. Of course, since then his daughter has moved on to bigger and uglier things, but that's besides the point. I've been around some great Detroit teams before and I take a lot of pride in all of them.
At first, I thought Kwame's Wed Wings were going to have a bit of a hang over from partying with the Stanley Cup and Kid Rock all summer long, but this preseason they showed everything but that by going a convincing 7-2. In the past few days, Head Coach Mike Babcock sent down what he called the three best players he's ever sent back to the minors. Leino, Helm, and Ericsson would for sure be in lineups elsewhere in the NHL. I wouldn't be surprised to see these three back up with the big team at some point this season. They're all going to be good NHL players one day. In fact, the lineup is so deep, the Red Wings are saying they'll have tough decisions to make with veterans, Chelios and McCarty, when they return from their stints on the IR.
I guess the cliche goes something like this: I'll believe it when I see it. Well, I've seen preseason highlights and this team is not only "downright swoon-worthy," but downright nasty. There are going to be some lopsided games this season, no doubt. I don't think I've had enough afternoon shots of Jack Daniels to make the claim that they will win more than they did in the 95-96 season, but I think they will definitely flirt with 60 wins. This is a very good hockey team and I think everyone else in the NHL world knows that. I'm happy the season is back and I can't wait to watch tonight's game at 7 pm.
Other items of note:
- Nick Lidstrom will wear a visor for the remainder of the season after nearly losing his vision and nose from a puck. He will play tonight despite having some blood drainage still in his eye. I hope it looks like Stevie's did because if it does he should have no problem scaring potential scorers away, as if he had much problem with that anyway.
- Hossa, Datsyuk, and Holmstrom will be on the same line together tonight for just the 2nd time. This line will quickly become one of the best and most feared lines in the NHL. Duh.
- The game tonight can be seen on VERSUS, and probably on some other obscure network like Hallmark or something. I can't wait for the NHL to be back on ESPN.
- "God Bless and Go Wed Wings"