Everyone knows the Wings are not one of the better teams in the league. Consider:
They're too old.
They're too young.
They rely on Datsyuk and Zetterberg for all of their production and goaltending.
They don't have David Backes.
They don't have that Forsberg kid.
They're not the Islanders.
They won't make the playoffs.
For those reasons, especially that last one, the Wings will miss the playoffs this season and Mike Babcock will sign with the Maple Leafs, Canadiens, Penguins, Flyers, Coyotes, Blue Jackets, Oilers, Devils, Ducks, and Sharks.
But seriously now. The Wings are right there near the very top of the standings (e.g. three points behind the Lightning with a game in hand). This team is pretty good, and I think it's only going to get better as the season goes on. And it looks like maybe some people outside of Wings Land might feel the same way. Doug MacLean, for example, called the Wings a contender a couple days ago. (Granted, he's Doug MacLean. But you've gotta take what you can get.) Corey Masisak of NHL.com says: "If this team adds a high-level defenseman, Detroit could win the East." (Granted, it's NHL.com.) So I'm wondering: Are the Wings a contender?
As I've said a number of times before, I don't think this is a Cup-or-bust season for the Wings, I think this season is mainly about development. IMHO, we're setting up for a proper push in 2015-16 and 2016-17. But maybe we're genuinely ahead of schedule. Maybe this team is good enough to be counted among the real contenders. Personally, I wouldn't go that far just yet. I'd say we're looking like a dark horse, a ninja team you don't really give much thought to, until you're dead. (The dead can think. Don't question me, it's science.)