Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Preview: Detroit Looking for Snowball Effect, Host Avs

Lots to talk about today in Red Wings world, and surprisingly the Wings/Avs game is nowhere near the top of the list! Let's get a few things out of the way before pre-game:

First, word has been confirmed that longtime Red Wings forward Kirk Maltby will be announcing his retirement today. It has also come to light that he will be taking on a job as a scout for Detroit, some sources claiming he will be taking over Pat Verbeek's position.

Second, the news has gotten out that Kris Draper has been placed on injured reserve, and that Doug Janik will be filling in for a scratched Brian Rafalski. The word is that Raf needs a knee scope performed, which means we now have two top 6 defensemen on the mend.

And finally, as most everyone has heard, head coach Mike Babcock has signed a 4-year extension with the Wings, meaning that Babs isn't going anywhere for a good long time.

Now, onto the pre-game:

It's kind of sad that this former rivalry has died out so pathetically that the mentioning of the matchup barely makes anyone bat an eye anymore. I get that most of the players from the 97 brawl era have moved on, but these two teams were also the cream of the crop in that same time period: 5 of the 7 Stanley Cups between 1996 and 2002 went to Detroit or Colorado, the Wings taking 3 of those 5.

While the Wings have remained a dominant force, the Avs have seen some decline in the last few years, but are looking to make it back with the rest of the front-runners with prospects like Matt Duchene leading the way.

Detroit will be looking to help derail that notion tonight when the Avalanche come into the Joe. The Wings have a chance to go 3-0 to start the season, which would be leaps and bounds better than their start last year. How can they do it? Let's check The Geek's Winning Formula to find out:

1.) Minimize Time Defending - With both Kindl and Janik suiting up tonight, I really do not want to see a lot of Avs puck possession in our end. Even moreso than in Chicago, Colorado will be looking to overwork our defense, and the Wings need to keep the puck out of the defensive zone. Get the puck out fast, try to keep icings to a minimum, and trust Babs to make sure we don't get caught with third-tier D-Men against Colorado's first-tier forwards.

2.) Nothing Fancy - To help the defense, it'll be critical for the Wings forwards to stop trying to make cute plays with a high risk/reward factor. The talent on this team is good enough to make magic out of basic fundamental plays. I didn't like how often we started turning the puck over in Chicago, and Flip's GWG was a fluke, no matter how you slice it.

3.) Play on the Fatigue Factor - We were able to pull off consecutive games for two wins, but Colorado lost their game last night and are likely tired and frustrated at their early season misfortunes. Detroit should try to press that to their advantage--agitate the Avs and run them hard, try to force some bad penalties and get some quality time on the PP. We need to work our man-up units anyway, as they've been less than stellar so far this year.

Unfortunately I won't be getting home for this game before work, so I expect everyone to cheer twice as hard in my absence!

Go get 'em, Wingnuts! Let's Go Red Wings!!