Fact: You'd rather be playing your best hockey at the end of the season, rather than at the beginning of the season (even in a short 48 gm season). We're struggling at the beginning with signs of of better things to come. The only way to over come these things is thru hard work, and that is what we've lacked in the playoffs the last couple of years. So, that could be a good thing.
St Louis, Chicago, San Jose, are the elite teams of the West this year.
Vancouver is right behind, and certainly has the capability to get hot, especially with Zach Kassian showing signs of becoming a top level power forward. If Schneider can step into the #1 role and stay comfortable, and they actually get something in return for Luongo, it could put them right back into the elite level in the West.
The next nine teams is a mosh pit of parity. At this early point in the season, when you look at Nashville, Detroit, Minnesota, Edmonton, Colorado, Dallas, Pheonix, L.A., and Anaheim, it's anybody's guess as to what order they'll all finish in, but I gotta think we can make it into the top half of those nine teams.
I still believe in our top 6, and still believe that our bottom 6 can do whats asked of it.
The Wings will need to stay healthy; to get the most out of everyone; will need the no name defense to make a name for itself; will need Howard at his best; and will need a helluva lot of puck luck to make the playoffs.
It really depends on which teams come together and get hot, and which teams don't. Ya just gotta play the games and see.