Definitely Howard. I was so, so, SO wrong about him!
I'm really happy with this young group of grinders, too. Eaves, Helm, and Miller proved to be something exciting. They all had strong seasons. Abdelkader is a total energy guy, and I really hope we see him full time next year.
And... Bertuzzi. I was expecting him to be kind of useless like he was in his first go-round with Detroit, but there were more than a few games through December and January where he provided pretty much all the offense. Since they were struggling so hard to just stay in the playoff picture at that point, he was a big part of the reason they were able to climb back in after the injured guys started to recover. No, he's not what he was in his prime, but he filled an important role and I give him a lot of credit for being able to swallow his pride enough to learn how to play a crash the net, Holmstrom-esque game instead of trying desperately to be the sniper he was ten years ago.
2002 Western Conference Quarterfinals against Vancouver. Detroit lost the first two at home, Dom looked like a sieve, then they went out to Vancouver and Lidstrom scored on Dan Cloutier from center ice. Cloutier was never the same and the Wings never looked back.
They say that every year. I'm pretty sure it's just reflexive at this point.
"Okay, Pierre, I'm going to check your reflexes by tapping your knee with this little hammer."
"The Red Wings are old and tired! They've played too much in the last three years!"
"Umm, okay, Pierre, now turn your head and cough..."