It feels like ages ago now that a team named the Detroit Red Wings was a force to be reckoned with in the Western Conference. And then they got old. And then they moved to the Eastern Conference. Or maybe it was the other way around...
Either way, we don't get to see much of our old friends and rivals these days. Which means we don't keep as close tabs on them now as we once did. Or maybe you do, but all I know about them is the names of a couple players who could be in the Hall of Fame by now if they would just retire. So how've things been over in Motown lately? Do they miss us as much as we miss them? And what are these Red Wings really like? A season ago they fled the Western Conference in order to keep their playoff streak alive. This season though they're sitting pretty. I mean, who's gonna overtake them? Florida? Toronto? Not bloody likely.
DBD: First things first. What exactly are you guys winging in Motown?
It, of course. It being awesome hockey stuff. Actually, I have no idea. I been here for about a year, so. It can be whatever you want! [Ed. note: Hmm... what rhymes with 'It'?]
DBD: I checked the standings this morning, and was surprised to see the Red Wings 3rd in the Atlantic and 5th in the Eastern Conference. That can't last now, can it? I mean, surely you all know this is the year that famous playoff streak is going to end? Or is the Eastern Conference just that bad, again?
Sure it can. Why wouldn't it? Team is still good, and has a good coach. Sure, the defense is troubling.. But they have emerging stars in Tomas Tatar, Tomas Jurco, and Gustav Nyquist. The talent is there.. And when you put that behind a core like Henrik Zetterberg, Pavel Datsyuk, and Niklas Kronwall, good things will come. The East sucks a truckload of [wood shavings], yes.. But it still has a lot of good teams who are going through some trouble currently. I expect them to make the playoffs, but I could give two [penny farthings] less about the "streak." It's of no relevance to me anymore. Just a footnote.
OA: And speaking of Eastern Conference struggles, how relieved were you to escape to the weaker conference just as the Wings began to decline?
Decline, huh? Well I suppose being great for so long will mean something will catch up sooner or later. It was nice, because now I don't have to stay up late to watch games as often.
DBD: The Stars ran their losing streak to three games, and their 'playing poorly this season streak' to 24 1/3 games, with a loss in Toronto on Tuesday. The Red Wings started a losing streak of their own with a loss at home to the... Panthers? Explain.
Yeah, that game sucked for Detroit. The glaring issue is a lot like with Dallas.. Defense. Outside of the top pair (which is still questionable at times) the bottom four were eating [crumpets] all night. Hoping it was an eye opener. The team has been doing a lot of scoring lately, so they were due I suppose. Doesn't help that Jimmy Howard had an off night. Don't feel bad, our worst game of the season was against Toronto. Sometimes they play decent hockey. But who cares. Everyone hates them. Even their own fans!!
OA: How are Datsyuk, Zetterberg, Franzen, Weiss, and Cleary feeling lately?
Cleary is... Who cares! Zetterberg has looked a bit off, I think there's something going on there, honestly. Datsyuk is still amazing, but age is catching up. He looks like he's starting to lose his legs and speed. Weiss is... Nice! He's done a good job at bouncing back and we are all pulling for the guy. Franzen is his streaky self. Love him, but he makes me drink the alcohols sometime.
DBD: Enough about the veterans on the team. Tell us about the youth movement in Detroit. Tomas Tatar had an unfortunately memorable moment against the Stars last season. Which other young guys should we be paying more attention to, and how are they setting up the Red Wings for the future?
Tomas Jurco. The kid is money. 8 points in his last 8 games, highest possession numbers on the team (yes, he is sheltered), physical, big body, and elite puck senses. He's vastly underrated and goes unseen by a lot of teams. He saw some time with Datsyuk against Florida, but has been spending time on the 3rd and 4th line mostly. The kid can do it all.
DBD: Alright. All joking aside, the Red Wings appear to be a fairly strong possession team this season and aren't really where they are in the standings by chance. Talk to me about this year's version of the Red Wings and what we should expect in tonight's game.
Expect a team who can suppress shots well, but has an issue moving the puck quickly out of their zone. That is the hill they seem to always die on. They basically welcome the forecheck and then end up in over their heads. You can expect a lot of chances, so if your goalie isn't on his game, they will find a way into the net.
OA: And lastly, how uncomfortable is it to walk into an arena whilst smuggling a dead octopus in your pants?
Well, I have never done it.. But my buddy did once. To be honest? You don't need to smuggle it from what I hear. Big no-no in the eyes of the league, but who the [Joe Louis Arena] cares. It's fun!