(2)DET vs. (7) CLB Despite having seen them choke up a 3-goal lead live, my main impression of the Red Wings is just the obvious one: that they're scary, scary good. Lidstrom -- who I think might be the best defenseman of my hockey-watching lifetime, including Bourque -- has barely lost a step, he's well backed-up, and the forwards remain superb. Hossa was a terrific signing. I generally don't like to pick teams in their first playoff run. And yet -- partly to send a message that I don't think the Wings will get out of the strong conference again -- I'm going to pick the upset. Hithcock's superb defensive coaching will, I think, mitigate the first-year jitters effect, and the general profile of the team seems similar to the ones that have pulled similar upsets (especially the Ducks). I also think Mason is the real deal, which brings us to the one thing about the Red Wings' slight playoff underachievement Michael didn't mention: Holland has, for reasons I can't fathom, repeatedly taken his Bentley of a team and outfitted it with Lada goaltending. The rest of the team is so good that he's gotten away with it more than he should, but I don't think they can win with by far the first goaltending in the playoffs again. It may not catch up to them in Round 1, but it will. BLUE JACKETS IN 7. |Scott Lemieux|
There are some truths which must not be spoken.