Jan 14, 2012; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Red Wings center Henrik Zetterberg (40) battles with Chicago Blackhawks right wing Marian Hossa (81) for the puck during the first period at Joe Louis Arena. Mandatory Credit: Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports
While getting ready for the upcoming shortened season, I caught up with Peter Fish of the Fansided Detroit Red Wings site Octopus Thrower for a question and answer session about the Chicago Blackhawks biggest rival and biggest divisional challenge. Granted his answers are full of Detroit propaganda but I thought it would be good to see what Red Wings fans thought about their team and their chances for the upcoming season so here goes.
1.Q. There is no way to fully replace future hall of famer Nicklas Lindstrom, but how do the Red Wings plan to replace his leadership and ice time?
A. Henrik Zetterberg will become the next captain of the Detroit Red Wings. This is a position he was groomed for when he first joined the team. His locker was situated right next to Steve Yzerman’s and he was able to learn from one of the best leaders of all time. When Yzerman retired in 2006 there was talk about making Zetterberg the captain, but that honor went to Nick Lidstrom. Zetterberg will lead the Red Wings the same way Lidstrom and Yzerman did before him.
Nick Lidstrom’s ice time has gone down the last few seasons and has not averaged more than 25 minutes per game since 2009-10. But he will leave a huge gap in our defense and his minutes will have to be replaced by committee. Brendan Smith, a highly regarded prospect, will be a mainstay with the Red Wings this season and could eat up a lot of minutes. Jonathon Ericsson, Kyle Quincey, Ian White and Niklas Kronwall will all see their minutes increase, as well, because of the loss.
2.Q. The Red Wings missed out on Shea Weber and Ryan Suter, but what was their biggest offseason move.
A. While the Red Wings never really had a shot at bringing in Shea Weber, the Predators Front Office was never going to send him to Detroit, but losing out on Ryan Suter was a big blow to the team. The biggest offseason move could be Damien Brunner. He became a hot player during the offseason and when the lockout occurred Zetterberg decided to play for EV Zug with Brunner. The result of Zetterberg and Brunner on the same line in Switzerland has been extremely impressive, Brunner 57 points in 33 games and Zetterberg 29 points in 20 games. They will be paired back up with the Red Wings and should continue to produce in the NHL.
3. Q. Can Jimmy Howard be good enough to win the Cup?
A. I believe he is good enough to win the Cup. He has been a menace to teams in the Playoffs and was only slightly out duelled by Pekka Rinne last season. He can push himself out of position at times, but he has a quick recovery. He is a fiery player and shows it on the ice with his patented blocker fist pump after a big win. The big thing is, though, he doesn’t sweat the small stuff. If he lets in a bad goal, he gets up forgets about it and get back into the play.
4. Q.Everyone slogan will be getting off to a fast start. What will be the sign, besides wins, that the Red Wings are off to a fast start?
a. Consistency, consistency, consistency. The Red Wings are a veteran team and the rest has done players like Todd Bertuzzi a lot of good. The Wings have, also, had a lot of players play overseas during the lockout, which should mean that they are already in hockey shape and raring to go when the season begins. This should lead to consistent play for the Red Wings which will transfer over to wins.
5.Q. How do you think the Red Wings matchup with the Blackhawks this upcoming shortened season?
A.The Blackhawks are always a tough team to play, especially in Chicago. The Wings are not as good defensively as they were last season, but they are stronger offensively; whereas Chicago has not undergone much to change from last season. Jimmy Howard is a better goalie than Crawford and should be able to make up for defensive mistakes. I suspect the series to end even if it is 4 games and if it is 5 games the Wings win the tiebreaker in a close one.
6.Q.Finally, what is your prediction for the Red Wings and the rest of the Central division?
A. I feel that the Red Wings are still a top-notch team even without Lidstrom on the blueline and will regain the top seed in the Central, third in the Western Conference. Behind the Red Wings would be the Blackhawks, then the Blues, the Predators, and the Blue Jackets.
I would like to thank Peter and the Octopus Thrower for taking time out for the Q/A, also feel free to visit their site The Octopus Thrower to see how Blackhawk Up answered their questions about the upcoming season.
Let’s Go Hawks!
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