Jeff Riger: Sweet Revenge?
Detroit Red Wings
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As the Wings board a plane for San Jose to do battle with the Sharks, they probably can’t help but to think of last year as those very same Sharks ended Detroit’s season in 5 games in the Western Conference Semi Finals. So what’s to say that the same thing won’t happen this year? Well I think I have the answer, or answers!
-Last year Detroit had essentially 2 lines that could score and if they were shut down then the Wings would be out of luck. Well this year, a hockey fan could argue that the Wings are the deepest team of the remaining clubs in the postseason. If you don’t believe me, just consider that a fourth line for the Wings in their upcoming series that could consist of Jiri Hudler, Valteri Filpula and Thomas Holmstrom and then maybe you will see things my way.
-Detroit played a game 7 in Phoenix last season and then flew right to San Jose where they played games 1 and 2 before coming home for game 3 a full 9 days later. Well this year, the Wings swept those same Coyotes and have had 8 full days of rest.
-Henrik Zetterberg and Johan Franzen are both available to play in this series and they are healthy! Do you need any more reasons?
-Jimmy Howard is coming off a very successful series against the Coyotes while last year at this time he was a rookie that was figuring out what playoff hockey was all about.
-Last year Darren Helm and Justin Abdelkader were not even close to the players they are right now. Abdelkader is has the ability to play on any line and can throw his body around while Helm could be the team’s best penalty killer and could also be called the Wings MVP for the season. Did I also mention that Mike Babcock trusts him so much that he played in overtime during the course of the season?
-Todd Bertuzzi seems like he is the equivalent to what Dallas Drake was to that 2008 team that won the cup. Bertuzzi, like Drake does not have a cup (Drake has one now) and is getting up there in his career and has proven that he will do whatever it takes to win one this season. He fights, he checks, he scores and he has changed the way he has played to suit the Wings style of play.
-The last reason this Wings team is so different then last years at this one sweet, awesome word…REVENGE! This Detroit team has proven over the course of the season that they have the ability to answer the call when they have been disrespected or beat soundly. Well that is exactly what happened in round two last year, and this year Detroit has the chance to make it right! I know where my money is at, what about you?
Watch the videos of Mike Babcock, Nick Lidstrom and Henrik Zetterberg below for the entire story of what Detroit thinks about San Jose!