NHL Playoffs: Experience vs. Youth? I'll Take the Old Guys

The Captain -Brian KatesSenior Analyst IApril 1, 2008

The old dog vs. the young lion, youth and strength vs. age and experience, David vs. Goliath. It doesn't matter how you say it, it is the age old question of which one will come out on top. This reporter tends to lean to the experienced side more (maybe it's because I'm an old person now), which is why I think the Detroit Red Wings have an edge on any other team to bring the Stanley Cup back to Hockeytown.

Detroit, with an average age of over 31, is probably one of the oldest teams in the NHL and look at where they are sitting. On their way to another President's Trophy, all their lines clicking and scoring and (as I've stated before) an almost unending bench full of depth and talent.

Now, I'm a hockey fan, especially of the Wings, but I am not fanatical enough to go through each teams roster to find out the average age of each team in the NHL. And I'm not going to; too many things on my plate to do that. What I have seen, during games that I am able to watch here in Okieland, is that most of the teams have much younger players on their top lines, on defense and in goal.

Detroit's top line of Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg and Tomas Holmstrom have about the same average age as the rest of the league. Nicklas Lidstrom and Brian Rafalski on defense are 37 and 34, respectively. Chris Osgood and Dominik Hasek, in goal, are 35 and 43, respectively. And then there's granddad, Chris Chelios on defense at the ripe old age of 46. I believe he is trying to beat Gordie Howe in being the oldest player to play on ice.

With all this in mind, look at how the Red Wings have done. They had a bad month in February losing eight games. But one month out of eight is not anything for Detroit to worry about. I was a little concerned but they had such a lead by that time that it didn't matter how they did.

In a nutshell, they kind of remind me of the New York Yankees during their heyday.  They would throw their gloves onto the field and say, "Go ahead, try and beat us." I'm waiting for the Wings to do that at Joe Louis Arena some day.