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Are the record-seeking Red Wings the Stanley Cup favorites?

Feb 14, 2012, 12:29 PM EDT

Red Wings win their 20th straight at home

Tonight at Joe Louis Arena, the Red Wings will attempt to break an NHL record with their 21st straight home victory. But even if they don’t beat Dallas and make history, has Detroit already established itself as the Stanley Cup favorite?

The Wings have everything a team needs to win a championship. They’re talented, deep and big up front; they’ve got one of the best defenseman in NHL history; their goaltender is an all-star; and their coach is one of the most respected in the business.

Speaking of the man behind the bench, Mike Babcock has coached a lot of good Detroit teams, giving his comments about the current group even more significance.

“I think this has been one of the most consistent teams I’ve ever coached as far as bringing an effort each and every day,” Babcock said. “When we’ve lost it hasn’t been as bad.

“This group has surpassed what I thought we were. We’re a better team than I thought we were and so we reset your bar and you keep pushing to be better.”

However, like every elite team in the NHL, there are weaknesses:

—- The Wings may be dominant at home, but their 15-15-1 road record is second-rate. In fact, only four teams – Tampa Bay, Columbus, Winnipeg and Edmonton – have more regulation losses.

—- Like their road record, Detroit’s special teams are ordinary. The power play is ranked 14th and the penalty kill is 20th.

Let’s also consider the other Cup contenders:

—- Boston may be in a rut now, but the Bruins are built for the brutal postseason.

—- Just imagine if Sidney Crosby returns to the Penguins in time for the playoffs.

—- The Rangers are only one point back of Detroit and have three games in hand.

—- With the addition of David Booth and the emergence of Cody Hodgson, the Canucks are better on paper than last season.

—- No team is stingier defensively than St. Louis, and the Wings are only slightly better at home.

So to answer the question, no, the Wings aren’t the Cup favorites. Only because there isn’t an outright Cup favorite.

Still, that shouldn’t take anything away from them. It’s more of a nod to the league’s parity that a team could be on the verge of winning its 21st straight at home and not be the runaway team to beat.

  1. lostpuppysyndrome - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    Hey, hey guys, ‘member back in 1995-96 when the Wings took the record for most wins in a season and went on to win the Cup??? Wait…what? They didn’t win the Cup? Whoops. My bad. 😉

    • bensawesomeness - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:48 PM

      your comment would really only hurt if the Wings hadn’t won 4 Cups since then.

      Im sure im going to get hated on for that

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:02 PM

        Hey, hey, hey, whoa, whoa, whoa. All I’m pointing out is that regular season records mean nothing when it comes to winning Cups. Let me do my Wing-hatin’ in peace. Normally I’d troll Leafs fans, but, well, we all know that’s become much too easy. I go after bigger fish.

      • mianfr - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:14 PM

        Yeah, seriously.

        It’d be like making fun of a Patriots fan for when the Drew Bledsoe-led team lost the Super Bowl…

      • polegojim - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:54 PM

        @ben… Now that’s funny!!!

        Frankly, most teams have not even APPEARED in the Stanley Cup equal to the time that the Wings have lost in the series….

        We’re all pretty comfortable in our Red Winged skin around the 313 & beyond!

    • yettyskills - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:07 PM

      Hey Hey remember when whoever your favorite team is was never as good as the Wings?

      • lostpuppysyndrome - Feb 14, 2012 at 5:01 PM

        Hey, this isn’t about the Jets, this is about the Wings.

    • hibackhand - Feb 14, 2012 at 6:12 PM

      Don’t put winky-winkys in a hockey comment board. I down-thumbed and didn’t even read it.

  2. hgfrombc2 - Feb 14, 2012 at 12:56 PM

    What a great job:
    You get to write an article with little substance, asking a question in the headline, and then answer the question for all of us non-journalist to read and realize, WOW – thanks for pointing out the obvious.
    You should try ghost-writing for Florio over at PFT – maybe there’s another non-story Manning story no one has covered.

    • Jason Brough - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:05 PM

      Thanks for clicking!

    • whatswellydoing - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:30 PM

      What kind of article could you have possibly expected from the headline? Did you just want a yes or no and then comments?

  3. scoops1 - Feb 14, 2012 at 1:05 PM

    Considering the patriots lost the super bowl…sure the wings are favs. The last 2 times they lost the sb, the wings won the cup

    • cheliostwin - Feb 14, 2012 at 3:10 PM

      And the last three times the Wings lost 6 or more consecutive games in a season they won the Stanley Cup, so we’re covered there, too.

  4. yettyskills - Feb 14, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    Yet despite all those things going for the other teams, they still have to play the 1st two in Detroit at this rate, where we get last change and obviously know what to do with it.

  5. polegojim - Feb 14, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Brief – YES, they are.

  6. govtminion - Feb 14, 2012 at 5:01 PM

    Favorite to WIN it? Tough to say.

    Favorite to be in the Finals from the West? No question. No other team in the West even comes close to being the total package the Wings have this year.

    …which is weird, because I’ve been predicting that this is the year the Wings finally fade into the pack… just like I’ve predicted every years for the past 15 years or so. Ilitch made some deal with the devil or something.

    (And that comes from a grudgingly respectful Avs fan!)

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