Apr 30, 2013, 11:24 AM EST
1. How much will the Wings miss Nicklas Lidstrom?
The question they’ve been asking all season. In the past, the Red Wings have been able to find ways to overcome the retirement or departure of a superstar player, but the salary cap era is making that increasingly difficult. Granted, there is no replacement for Lidstrom, but that doesn’t change the fact that Detroit’s defense remains one of its big question marks heading into this series. Coach Mike Babcock has liked what he’s seen lately from his blue-liners, but playoff pressure can produce a different story.
2. Are the Ducks for real?
It was never a question of top-end talent for Anaheim; it was one of depth. Forwards Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry, and Bobby Ryan largely lived up to expectations this season, but they were complimented by forwards like Andrew Cogliano, Kyle Palmieri, and Saku Koivu. In 2011-12, the Ducks’ top three goal-scorers (Perry, Ryan, and Teemu Selanne) accounted for nearly half of the team’s total goals. This season, the offense has been spread around more. But is Anaheim’s success sustainable? Early on, they were getting great goaltending and scoring on a high percentage of their shots. Lately, they haven’t been so lucky, finishing the season with an 8-9-2 record in their last 19 games.
3. Can Johan Franzen stay hot?
After Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg, the Red Wings’ biggest offensive weapon is the 33-year-old Franzen. When Detroit needed him most this season, he stepped up, scoring seven goals and 13 points in his last 13 games. If Franzen can carry that hot streak into the postseason, the Ducks’ Cinderella story might come to an abrupt end. To an extent, history is on Detroit’s side in this regard. Franzen first made a name for himself thanks to his breakout performance during the Red Wings’ 2008 Stanley Cup-winning run. He then averaged more than a point-per-game over the 2009 and 2010 playoffs. However, Franzen was largely a non-factor in 2011 and 2012 and, due in part to that, Detroit didn’t last long either of those years.
4. Hiller or Fasth?
Ducks coach Bruce Boudreau has been dancing around the question of who will start in Game 1. Goaltenders Jonas Hiller and Viktor Fasth both had superb seasons. While Fasth has the marginally superior numbers, Hiller has far more NHL experience. How much Hiller’s experience counts for is perhaps a tad debatable, especially seeing as he hasn’t played in a postseason game since 2009; but still, it was just a year ago that Fasth was playing in the Swedish Elite League. Regardless of who Boudreau picks, that netminder will likely be on a tight leash. If either one falters, his counterpart will likely be given an opportunity.
5. Can Babcock pull it off again?
In 2003, the Detroit Red Wings were a superpower, fresh off of a dominant regular season, as well as a Stanley Cup title in 2002. Then they ran into the seventh-seed Anaheim Ducks in the first round and lost. In four games. Now recall that Mike Babcock was the rookie bench boss leading the Ducks past their mighty foe. We’re not sure if the Wings are quite the underdogs the Ducks were back then, but Babcock’s certainly faced his share of challenges this season. If he can get his team to the second round, it will be another job well done for one of the league’s best head coaches.
Jan 26, 2015, 10:25 PM EST
He’s missed 13 games recovering from surgery on his fractured left wrist.
Jan 26, 2015, 9:30 PM EST
Several players had to make alternate arrangements leaving the All-Star Game.
Jan 26, 2015, 8:35 PM EST
Expected to play Wednesday against the Leafs
Jan 26, 2015, 7:30 PM EST
He’s a repeat offender.
Jan 26, 2015, 7:10 PM EST
Teams have till noon eastern time Tuesday to place a claim on the forward.
Jan 26, 2015, 6:16 PM EST
The Avalanche are trying to claw their way into the playoffs.
Jan 26, 2015, 5:52 PM EST
Minnesota had three healthy goaltenders on its roster.
Jan 26, 2015, 4:59 PM EST
Who will play this week?
Jan 26, 2015, 4:22 PM EST
This might be the result of fighting in back-to-back games.
Jan 26, 2015, 3:31 PM EST
Will Mikhail Grabovski step up?
Jan 26, 2015, 3:12 PM EST
The post-All-Star Game portion of the season isn’t starting any better for Buffalo.
Jan 26, 2015, 2:21 PM EST
He’s been overseeing co-coaches Adam Oates and Scott Stevens.
Jan 26, 2015, 1:30 PM EST
He didn’t end up playing in the All-Star Game.
Jan 26, 2015, 12:31 PM EST
Remember, the club opted not to amnesty his contract last June.
Jan 26, 2015, 12:23 PM EST
Canucks will give Frank Corrado a chance to show what he can do.
Jan 26, 2015, 12:12 PM EST
Columbus’ star center is having a nice little run at the moment.
Jan 26, 2015, 12:05 PM EST
They also summoned Josh Anderson.
Jan 26, 2015, 11:23 AM EST
“Everybody felt like I just want a car to drive it.”
Jan 26, 2015, 10:55 AM EST
Ilya Kovalchuk deemed it a “worthy tournament,” though.
Jan 26, 2015, 9:51 AM EST
Including an intriguing game between the Islanders and Rangers.
- Flyers’ Rinaldo suspended eight games for his hit on Letang 33
- Isles’ rise to be tested as they lose Okposo for 6-8 weeks 16
- L.A. Sorry? Kings waive Mike Richards 113
- Bobrovsky out 4-6 weeks, Jackets recall goalie Forsberg 3
- Blue Jackets proud as Columbus shows it’s a hockey town 23
- From contract dispute to All-Star MVP, Johansen’s had quite the year 17
- Marc-Andre Fleury would like to remind the Columbus crowd that the Penguins beat the Blue Jackets in the playoffs 32
- Cannonball Run…and gun: Team Toews wins highest-scoring game in ASG history 27
- Supercut: Every goal from the highest-scoring period in All-Star Game history 7
- Video: Team Foligno survives shootout, wins Skills Competition 4
- Columnist: Flyers ‘orchestrated’ fight night versus Pens during meal at ‘a local steakhouse’ (130)
- L.A. Sorry? Kings waive Mike Richards (115)
- Flyers’ Rinaldo: ‘I changed the whole game, man’ (112)
- Video: Rinaldo tossed for boarding Letang (79)
- Report: Flyers’ Rinaldo waives right to an in-person hearing (61)