This week the Instigators Crew debated whether or not the Red Wings would be able to stay afloat in a very competitive Western Conference playoff race after another rash of injuries. We enjoyed Ketih Jones being thrown into the mix for this episode. Nice to hear a different viewpoint.
With high end talent (Datsyuk, Holmstrom, Modano) and veteran leaders (Filppula, Stuart, Osgood, Cleary) on the disabled list for lengthy stays, one would expect the Wings’ play to suffer. That has not been the case as Detroit still sits second in the conference, several points ahead of pesky Nashville.
There are many reasons that the Red Wings will continue to succeed. First, the coach (Mike Babcock) is one of the best in the business. Love when he digs into the referees or the opposition for a bad call or a dirty hit in his post game comments. Second, when you’ve got Lidstrom and Rafalski patrolling the blue line, you’re in great hands. Third, they’ve had younger guys and roll players step up to make timely contributions. Bertuzzi might not be filling up the goal, but he has definitely had a bounce back season. Guys like Helm, Hudler, Eaves, and Abdelkader are great depth players.
In an effort to boost their goaltending situation, the Wings attempted to ink Evgeni Nabokov. For some reason the Islanders spoiled that deal, claiming Nabokov off re-entry waivers. While the Islanders are a young team perpetually on the rise, Nabokov came back to win the cup. Understandably, Nabokov has not reported to the Island, and of course the Islanders have suspended him for failing to report. Why would you want a player that doesn’t want to be there? Wake up Garth Snow, you’re blowing it.
But lookout when Detroit’s disabled players start returning to the line-up. These guys will be fresh and ready for another deep playoff run. It is going to be tough for anyone out West (including Vancouver) to beat the Wings in the playoffs.