Amongst all of the banners hanging from the rafters inside Joe Louis Arena are 10 white and red banners representing the 10 times the Red Wings have raised the Stanley Cup. Could 2008 be the year number 11 goes up?
By now you would think I would be used to it but every year it amazes me how many of the hockey analysts write off the Detroit Red Wings. First before each season they are saying Detroit will finish middle of the play-off pack at best. So after 6 Presidents Trophies of the 21 awarded ( the trophy began in 1986 and was not given out one year due to the lock out ), 17 consecutive years in the play-offs, 4 seasons out of the last 6 finishing first overall ( Presidents Trophy ), why did teh talking heads pick them to be mediocre yet again? This year if it wasn't for all the injuries in the month we would all like to forget Detroit could have decimated the standings. Even with that bad month the Wings still finished 7 points ahead of second place.
Now it is play-off time again and again the Wings are the favorite of very few of the "experts", they point to the early round exits that have happened in some of the recent years, they say the Presidents Trophy is a jinx. Well haven't the Wings won 3 of the last 10 Stanley Cups ( 97, 98, 02 : From 97 through 07 only 10 cups have been awarded again due to the lock out ). What other team has done that? In fact is there another team with as many series wins in the same time frame as the Wings? I don't know and while I could look it up, it is not really that important to the out come this year. Also, haven't the winners of the Presidents Trophy won more of the 21 cups from those years than any of the other places. 6 1st seeds have won it all with no more than I think 3 for any of the other seeds. Yes regular season success does not mean play-off success will follow. Playoff hockey is a different game and any team can get hot and win it all. What I am saying is that the Presidents Trophy is neither a curse or a lock. Whoever wins the cup will have to dig down and play hard every game to come out on top. With the team that Detroit has assembled and getting healthy, they have led the league almost since day one. So why do so many discount them now, just because other teams have been playing well too?
I found another ironic thing today. Odds makers have Detroit as the favorite, the edge over San Jose is small but they are still the favorite. Gee I guess it is easier for those whose income is not based on their predictions to be a little more biased in their picks than those who stand to lose if they are wrong.