The 2007-2008 Detroit Red Wings were not just the best team in the Western Conference last year—they were the best team in the NHL, by far.
You don't always see the best team win the Cup, because sometimes they lose in a playoff series on the way, or come up short in the Finals. That was not the case at all last year, as the best team in the NHL went with little trouble to the Stanley Cup Finals.
In six games—led by Chris Osgood, not Dominik Hasek; with Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk and not Steve Yzerman—the Red Wings won their eleventh Stanley Cup over the Pittsburgh Penguins.
To add to the bad news for the rest of the NHL, this team has not gotten any worse. In fact, they actually signed Marian Hossa to a one-year, $7.4 million deal. Hossa was a member of the Penguins team that lost in the Finals to Detroit.
There are only about six teams that have a legitimate chance of winning the Stanley Cup. Detroit is clearly the front-runner of them all. Nobody is saying they cannot be beaten, because as we all know, surprises happen all the time in sports. The point is that no team in the NHL, at least not right now, is good enough to beat Detroit in a seven-game series.
It will be very interesting to watch this team play and see if the same urgency is there, even with a ring from last spring. With the new NHL schedule and everybody playing each other at least once, every team will get see the Red Wings, and on the road I'm sure they will be a good draw.
This is przetty much the same team that owned the NHL last year and my prediction is a repeat. Go ahead and try to beat this team four times in about a week—it probably won't happen.