Will the Red Wings Repeat As NHL Champs?
The Detroit Red Wings are your 2008 Stanley Cup champions and have now won that honour four times in the last 11 seasons. With the way things went down last year and bearing an extreme injury, don’t be surprised if you think you’re having déjà vu next June.
The Wings snagged the best free agent on the market in Marian Hossa and way below market value at 7.45 million dollars for one season. Hossa signed with the Wings in hopes of winning a cup for the first time in his career but he has noticed the hangover that has affected all Stanley Cup camps before, over his past 10 seasons. “I feel the team in Detroit is something special” he said in a recent interview, “I know I made the right decision.”
Since Hossa is still looking for his first Stanley Cup, we should all be ensured that he will keep motivating his teammates as much as he can.
Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsuyk matured tremendously down the stretch last season with it ending in Zetterberg winning the Conn Smythe Trophy. With this in mind, it is certainly possible that one could lead the league in scoring, though it’s a long shot seeing as they are both up against Alexander Ovechkin and Sidney Crosby.
Another question mark is which Johan Franzen will show up; the playoff scoring sensation or the one that played the first half of the year. We can’t forget about the concussion he received during the Stanley Cup finals last year but hopefully he has recovered to be back in his old form. If he returns in great form, he could demand 5+ million when he becomes a free agent at the same time as Zetterberg. Keeping both Franzen and Zetterberg is not an easy task which means Hossa will find himself on the outside looking in next off-season, but we have a full season to play before we need to worry about that scenario.
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The Red Wings will also be welcoming back veteran defenseman Chris Chelios for his 74th season (just kidding). It’s actually his 25th season in the league and his 9th with the Michigan club. The 46-year-old fitness freak is planning on playing till he’s 50 and that’s certainly possible if keeps in shape. It remains to be seen how well he will fare since he should still be a 5th or 6th defenseman on any given NHL team.
The club also brought in seasoned backup goaltender Ty Conklin to replace Dominik Hasek who retired at the end of last season. He should be expected to shoulder a load of about 20-30 games in order to keep Chris Osgood fresh for the playoffs. He was relied heavily upon during the first half of last season with Pittsburgh when Marc-Andre Fleury went down with an ankle injury last season. Conklin held his own and kept the Penguins way above water level in preparations for the Stanley Cup playoffs.
For these reasons alone, do not be surprised to see the Wings holding the Cup for the second consecutive season.
ProHockey-fans.com Staff Writer