Hi Guys - I just wanted to get everyone's opinion on how our season, albeit with 2 games left to play, can be evaluated from a fans perspective. The 2012/2013 Wings have certainly seen a variety of ups and downs - I know there's going to be a lot of you who will look at fighting for 7th/8th seed nothing short of disappointing, but try to remember that in a compressed season the point totals are somewhat misleading. A quick example: If our 2-5 shootout record was anything close to our 9-3 record from last year, we would be fighting for home ice advantage right now - and I would certainly take 4th place in any transition year, let alone the year following Nick Lidstrom's retirement.
I have certainly enjoyed the emergence of players like Howard, Abdelkader, Dekeyser (FA Addition), Nyquist, Andersson, Emmerton, and Brunner. It seems pretty surreal, but after watching our team play in Vancouver, against Phoenix and against LA this week, I certainly feel we can still compete against anyone in the NHL and honestly, would not be surprised if we got out of the first round as a 7th or 8th seed to make a run. I use the word surreal, because it seems like all season people have been talking about the 21 year streak coming to an end, and how Detroit is finally going to face adversity as a team forced to rebuild. But after watching this team, this week, and thinking about what we have done without Darren Helm (who I believe is more valuable than anyone on this team not named Pavel or Jimmy) plus a very young group of Defenseman, and no true #1 (sorry guys, Kronwall is a good Defensemen, but not a #1) I have a renewed sense of excitement.
Datsyuk and Zetterberg still look great together, our second line is finally being anchored by the Mule - our third line was the best line on the ice last night against LA, and how many chances did Eaves get playing on the 4th line - not to mention, TooToo's GWG. I understand this was one game, and LA played the night before... but what I look at is how we have played this week when it matters, which is all that really does.
Going forward, after all the negative attention surrounding this team this year, I take comfort in the fact that we can still beat anyone (when we want too) and our farm system is the best its been in years. I truly hope that this thread can finally put an end to the Fire Kenny Holland notion, as he is still one of the best GM's in the NHL. The fact he has been to the playoffs 21 straight years is great, but like Suter said last night, the fact he has done it every year since the inception of the salary cap, is unbelievable.
Next year with a real off-season, a real training camp, a real trade market for us (being a western conference team moving to the east...at some point... crippled our ability to make the big trade. ex. Rick Nash) and further development from a suddenly young core of players will allow us to once again be at the top of the NHL.
Let me know what you guys think.