Sunday, January 13, 2013

Holy Smokes, Folks, We Have Hockey this Year!

We're finally here, Wingnuts...!  It's been a long grind since September 15th, but the lockout has officially ended, and Cold War 2012-2013 is over!!

It's going to be a ridiculous sprint-to-the-finish kind of season with the condensed schedule.  Every game means twice as much because points are going to be so precious and important for playoff positioning.  Play is going to be terrible all over the place for the first few weeks due to players on every team not being in game-shape yet.

But you know what? None of that matters, because there is hockey to be played, and a Cup to be won.

Detroit starts this mini-season with more concerns than they've ever had to deal with at once in a long, long time.  Compounding the list above is the fact that the Red Wings' blueline is extremely thin.  The departure of Nick Lidstrom to retirement and Brad Stuart to relocation is impossible to fix in a single offseason--if ever.  Defenders like Kyle Quincey, Carlo Colaiacovo and youngster Brendan Smith are going to have to step up their play to help out the few stalwarts left, such as Niklas Kronwall and Ian White.

Up front, the Wings are certainly better off.  Many of Detroit's forwards made a big splash overseas playing in the KHL and numerous Euro Elite Leagues.  Henrik Zetterberg and his new teammate Damien Brunner were monstrous together on a line, Brunner having led the Swiss League in scoring to this point.  Everyone's favorite magician-with-skates, Pavel Datsyuk, was busy in the K doing what he does best: making sensational plays while providing offensive punch.  Just look around Youtube for recent videos to take in some of that magic.  There are still those forwards who you have to wonder about, such as Johan Franzen.  This will be a year bereft of any mercy towards inconsistency, and guys like Mule cannot afford to be streaky, as scoring droughts could be disastrous.

The Wings are back in Hockeytown, though.  It's time for Detroit to get ready to make another run for the Stanley Cup, and the journey there could be very interesting--and nerve-wracking--indeed.

But what do you think the Wings can do to make the most of this season? Should they focus solely on strengthening the blueline?  Are there any players you feel would be a fit for Detroit at any position that Kenny Holland should make a move for?  Please let me know in the comment section.

Also, be sure to drop by my Twitter and Facebook, @DatsyukianGeek and and say hi!

That's all for now, Wingnuts.

Let's Go Red Wings!!