Thursday, June 05, 2008

Gratuitous Hockey Post

This morning there are 29 coaches whose first item of business is placing a phone call to their tech crew and ordering a copy of every single game the Detroit Red Wings played this season. That will mean spending a lot of time in front of a bank of television screens even though the golf course beckons, but there is simply no alternative. At some point this season Detroit gelled into a team that was fated to win the Stanley Cup.

I composed fewer Gratuitous Hockey Posts this year than I have others, and I blame Detroit for that. The excitement factor, for this viewer, was limited entirely to the first game in each series. Did the Nashville Predators have any surprises for Detroit? Not really. The Avs were a talented, albeit injured, crew: could they rattle the Wings? Nope. Okay, Dallas: whattaya got? Um ... nothing?

If coach Mike Babcock looked unflappable, it was because he had no reason to look anything but. Detroit was a machine. They didn't just play a deep, offensive game: they routinely left their opponents skating behind them as they pummeled their goalie with shots. The way Babcock's team was playing, he could have watched the games from home -- along with the bulk of Detroit's fans, who seemed to find the prospect of an 11th Stanley Cup win about as exciting as the rest of us.

This was the team that deserved to win the cup, no doubt about it. I just hope the rest of the league does its homework, because if someone doesn't throw a cog into that machine, the Wings will be gearing up for a long, predictable, extended Stanley Cup legacy.


DarkoV said...

How quickly (thankfully) a year goes by. The pathunking, snarly, nastidious Ducks and their style of meatgrinding scrape-the-paint-off-the-boards has been forgotten to be replaced by the turn-the-other-cheek turn-on-the-jets style of the Red Wings.

I wish I could say I'm not happy about the style change, but I admit to reluctantly saying I am. Though the Phlyers were a huge surprise this playoff season, I wish they had lost to the Habs in 6 games, showing a gallant effort but thus allowing the Canadians to get past the Pens and then arrive at the finals with Detroit. I think Montreal's the only team that could have kept up with the pretty plays and could have solved that throat-tightening defense that the Red Wings execute so well.

..and I hope Mr. Babcock gets his due props for persuading his players to adapt to his defense-creates-offense style. You're right about the dynasty thing. Considering the talent of the players, Detroit has a fairly low payroll with no major players due for some major bling-bling.

But..I do thnk the Canadians have a chance next year. Well, at least to make it to the finals.

As far as last night's game is least Malkin scored which was impressive since the Wings always seemed to have 8-10 guys on the ice. Well, at least it seemed that way.

Whisky Prajer said...

Babcock is the man, right now. Coaching is its own art-form, and he figured it out with this crew. No mean feat when most of your team speaks English as a second (or third) language.