Here we go

January 6, 2006

The Avalanche are no more.  Sure, they may make the playoffs.  And, as Mick pointed out last night; if they do, they’ll be our first-round opponent.  But no longer are they the Wings’ primary rival. 

That title now belongs to Nashville. 

Essentially, an eight-game playoff series for the division starts tonite.  Not only that, it’s a series that will most likely decide the 1 and 4 seeds in the West because whoever wins our pansy division is going to take the top seed. 

The Northwest and Pacific divisions are so tight top to bottom that no team is going to pull away and challenge Detroit or Nashville in points.

From this morning’s Detroit News:

Everyone realizes the importance of these games in the tight divisional race as well as the Western Conference.

“We have an eight-game playoff series,” coach Mike Babcock said. “We’re excited about it. They have a real good team. Let’s get there and get going.”

Two points separate Detroit and Nashville, with the Wings having played one more game…a tighter number than the four or five that seemed to be the Preds’ rallying cry up to this point.  In fact, if Nashville hadn’t pulled a mini-choke job the last ten days–losing 3 of their previous 5, they’d probably be at least tied.

Statistically, the Wings hold the upper hand in most categories.  They lead the Preds, but only slightly, in PP, PK, GAA.  Later today, we’ll look deeper into the stats.

But, it’s a little deeper than the numbers.  Predator players feel their team is ready to take over the division, and keep it.

From the Daily Tennessean:

“Why not?” said Predators defenseman Mark Eaton, asked if he thought his team had a chance of knocking the Red Wings off their perch this season.

“We’re almost halfway through the season now, we’ve played a lot of the same teams they have and we’re not too far behind them. Maybe it’s time for a change on top of the division.”

Maybe it is, Mark.  Perhaps it’s not.  We’ll see tonite.

Who starts tonite for the Wings?  Well, apparently no words from Babcock last night.  I can’t believe the question wasn’t asked. Yes I can.  I firmly believe the question was NOT asked.  Pathetic.

Daily Tennessean: Wings still Kings

MLive: Wings/Preds preview

Detroit Free Press: Preds loom large

Detroit News: Road to title


4 Responses to “Here we go”

  1. Paul Says:

    You are right, the question wasn’t asked. But they did ask Babcock what he thought of Draper moving his locker!

  2. iwocpo Says:

    I fully expect a series on that very topic.

  3. Gump Worsley Says:

    You’re exactly right. I was just remarking to a fellow Michigander today that the Preds have taken the Avs spot as THE rival in the West. Maybe Vancouver, since the Wings seem snake bit by them too. But Vancouver does more damage to themselves than any team seems to be able to. The division race is a joke. Chicago? STL? CBJ? Hell, if the Preds had been in the lowly Southeastern division in the East, they woulda made the playoffs 3 seasons ago. Maybe THEY would’ve been TB last season?!?

    These teams don’t like each other. The big brewhaha in last seasons Halloween game (where 200+ PIMS were racked up and Yzerman ended up ejected) was the start. The Preds aren’t the scrawny little kid down the street that you loved to pick on and take his lunch money. Now they have muscles, and they’re tired of you hitting on the girlfriend. This first game is going to set the tempo for both teams for the rest of the season. Should be a barn burner!

    Game ON!

  4. iwocpo Says:

    And consider this, Gump: four of the games are broken up into two-game series’ on consecutive nights, one night right after the other. We can whine about the NHL depriving us of seeing the Wings and Leafs, but that is a genius move.

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