Detroit Red Wings preview

Overview: The days of the Detroit Red Wings being a top team is almost over.

Not quite, as they have a couple of more seasons to go, but they’re close to it.

Their superstars are getting older, their scoring is down, and Nicklas Lidstrom is a year or two away from retirement. There needs to be a youth movement, and fast.

And sorry, Mike Modano and Ruslan Salei is not exactly a youth movement.

Best offseason move: Signing Tomas Holmstrom. Not sure how Holmstrom — who scores more, gets more points and draws more penalties — gets paid less than Todd Bertuzzi over the same length of a contract. Regardless, Holmstrom is now locked up for two years, guaranteeing opponents’ goalies two years of seeing his butt parked half a foot in front of them.

Worst offseason move: Not getting more scoring help. Look, it’s hard to find a flaw with Detroit’s system of waiting until rookies mature in the AHL before calling them up, but Detroit needs to start getting scoring help, and fast. Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg led this team last year with 70 points. No one else cracked 50.

Dark horse trophy candidate: Brian Rafalski for the Norris.

Pool pick: Johan Franzen. Remember him? Man of the 11 years contract? He missed a bunch of time last year due to injury, but ended up with 21 points in 27 games. He’s never cracked 60 points, so don’t draft him too high, but he’s a pretty good mid-round pick. Who to stay away from: Todd Bertuzzi. After three straight 40 to 45 point years, it’s time to face the facts. He’s no longer a good hockey pool player. Stay away from him.

Sporcle quiz: Can you name the Detroit Red Wings Top Scorers 1980-2010?

Best hall of fame choice: Nicklas Lidstrom. The second easiest choice in the league (the first being Martin Brodeur). The best defenceman since Ray Bourque, and top five all time. More than 1,000 points. Four Stanley Cups. One Conn Smythe. Eleven all-star games. Six Norris trophies. Olympic gold medal. One world championship gold. Etc etc.

Blog to follow: Winging it in Motown

My Prediction: First in the Central, third in the West

Famous celebrity from that city: Kristen Bell


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