How do you guys rate the playoff competition from the cup winning years to this season? I think the competition is way more difficult this year as their is not one team in the East whom I think the Wings are a lock to beat as all the playoff teams scare me to death.
Lets look at 1997 where the only teams in the West who I feared were the Stars & Avs and they avoided the Stars and upset the Avs. In the East I can't remember if any teams were worth fearing as Philly didn't scare me as maybe New Jersey was the only team who could be trouble.
In 1998 the same thing in the West as Avs & Stars but this time was the other way around as they avoided Avs and took down the Stars. In the East I still don't remember an elite team as maybe the Devils again were good but none capable of beating the Wings in the finals.
In 2002 the only team in the West who bothered me were the Avs and they got was long coming in a 7 game series. As for the East nothing was going to bother the Wings in the finals plain & simple!
In 2008 the only team who I feared in the West was the Sharks and they got upset and thus avoided them and took the Stars instead. In the East the only 2 elite teams were the Penguins & Canadians but the Habs really overachieved that year and were no threat. The Pens were a threat due to various factors stemming from Buttmans team, Cindy Crybaby etc.
The bottom line is that the competition has really caught up to the Wings as we are a far cry away from 2008 when we were the class of the NHL as the days of being the odds on cup winning favs are long gone.