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THE SPORTS GUY - Red Wings at the Quarter Pole

At just past the quarter point of the season, the Wings are at 16-4-4.  Not bad.  But many fans expect better.  How come?  Because they have given up too many goals?  Because the San Jose Sharks have looked better?  Because too many of their games have been one-goal squeakers?  All reasons for concern, but relax, the Wings still have to be a favorite to bring the cup back to Hockeytown in June.  Why?  Read on:

The Cup hangover will go away.  For those concerned about the Sharks, keep in mind they were first round knockouts last year - by the end of April the Sharks involvement in the playoffs was reduced to watching them on TV. They have improved, and they may be the team that the Wings will have to beat to get to the finals this year, but come playoff time, the Wings experience in such situations will enable them to win through.

The defense will improve.  It will.  This has been a weak aspect of their game this year, but it is, as a team, one of their hallmarks.  A lot of goals scored on the Wings this year have been on turnovers, and a few fluky goals.  The Wings are too good to continue turning the puck over, and the incidence of strange goals tend to even out over the course of a season.  It will improve. 

The goaltending will stabilize.  Neither Osgood or Conklin has been stellar.  But they do not have to be.  The goaltending of Osgood and Conklin will not be as good as the pairing of Osgood with Hasek last year - Osgood had a career season, and Hasek stayed healthy and solid throughout the season.  Osgood and Conklin will improve, but the Wings will give up more goals during the season.  The key to the cup will be be what it always is - good playoff goaltending when it is needed, with great goaltending delivered at critical times of critical games.  The Wings will win it all again if Osgood delivers in those situations.   He'll only need to keep them in 3-2 playoff victories, because the Wings will not lose playoff games by 1-0 or 2-1 scores.

The offense will sparkle.  There is nothing more fun to watch than the Wings offense when it is clicking.  It is clicking, and it will continue to excel throughout the season and the playoffs.  The Wings have more offensive firepower in Grand Rapids than most teams have on their third lines - they can sustain injuries and still produce.  And how good is Marian Hossa?

The greatest concern regarding the Wings, for this season, is the health of the defense and goaltending.  They can't afford to lose Lidstrom, Krowall or Osgood.  But it isn't too early to worry about next year.  In some ways, the success so far this season of Franzen, Hossa and Zetterburg causes a great concern - all can be unrestricted free agents at the end of the season, and it will be extremely difficult to keep them all.  Do you think it would be possible to sit them all down in one room, tell them how much of a pile of cash is available, and let them determine how to divvy it all up?   

If only sports could work that way.

Current Articles

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Congratulations Allison Schmitt!

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Past Articles

Community Poll:
Which statement best describes your opinion of the Lions recent draft?
Great - The Lions needed a star QB
OK - We'll have to see how it pans out
Not too good - They needed more help on defense
Awful! Same old Lions
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