Central Division in Review: Part 4 of 4, The Rival

The Dead-wings, the scum of the Central Division, the nursing home of the NHL, the hated rival. Call the team what you want, they are going to be our toughest test this season. Last year the Hawks had their number, going 4-2 in the season series against Detroit. The Wings have lost some power though this off-season. Retirement is catching up to Detroit.

One player that won’t be returning this season will be 38-year-old Chris Osgood. He was the backup last season, only making 11 appearances. He went 5-3-2 as the starter with a save percentage of .903, and was nothing short of average.

Goaltenders Ty Conklin and Jimmy Howard will be in net for the Wings this season. After beating the Hawks in the Winter Classic, Conklin left Detroit for St. Louis where he played for two seasons. He has now rejoined the Wings for this year. The starter will most likely be Jimmy Howard. Last season, he went 37-17-5 with a save percentage of .908.  He was third in the league last year in wins.

Brian Rafalski will not be with the Detroit club this year. The 37-year-old defenseman is a Team USA Olympian, holding the blue line for the stars and stripes three consecutive times. He will most likely be replaced by newly acquired defenseman Ian White, a former San Jose Shark.

Detroit also signed defenseman Mike Commodore to a one-year deal. After three seasons with the Blue Jackets, he will join the rest of the aging defenseman for the Wings. With Commodore’s help, the average age of the defensive unit is 30.  Though the outlier Nicholas Lindstrom may be throwing the numbers off (he’s 41).

If you look around Detroit, you probably won’t find Mike Modano. He is pending retirement and telling reporters he’s not yet ready to announce he is calling it a career. He is so old, he played on Minnesota’s last team, the North Stars. He has a Stanley Cup under his belt, winning it with the Dallas Stars in 1999 (his foot WAS in the crease). The 41-year-old has a big decision in front of him now- TaylorMade or Callaway?

The Detroit Red Wings aren’t getting any younger, but they are just as good. With a healthy Datsyuk and some consistent talent, the Wings should prove to be the toughest test in the Central Division, if not in the Western Conference.

Marty Hobe

 

 

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