Pop’s Power Play

 

Wings try for 23rd playoff run

Chris Popovich ‘14

Reporter/Columnist

 

Fans of the Detroit Red Wings have been accustomed to seeing their team in the post-season for 22 years straight. Many changes were made during the off-season which has many asking, ‘’Can they make it 23?”

The team lost long-time player Valtteri Filppula to free agency. The second line playmaker spent seven years with the Red Wings and has now signed with the Tampa Bay Lightning. Filppula scored clutch goals for Detroit.

The move left many fans in doubt of Detroit’s second line center position. But Wings General Manager Ken Holland made a nice move of his own, acquiring 30-year old Stephen Weiss from free agency. The gritty center averaged 15 goals a year in Florida. Weiss was dropped from the Florida Panthers due to a contract request they could not meet. Weiss played 12 years for Florida and ended up a leader on the struggling team.

In addition to losing Filppula, Detroit lost 27-year old Damien Brunner. The Wings signed Brunner last year and the sniper chipped in 12 goals and 14 assists in 44 games. Brunner was not as big a loss as Filppula, but was still a step backwards for the team. Holland would make one of the biggest moves of the summer, acquiring 40-year old Daniel Alfredsson. The Swedish player spent 17 years in Ottawa. Alfredsson scored big goals for the Senators but also added great veteran leadership. He is a special player that should bond very easily with the Swedish players on Detroit.

Of course, a team cannot be a playoff team every year without strong goaltending. Jimmy Howard has been the man in net for the past few years and deserves a lot of credit for Detroit’s recent success. During the 2011-2012 season, ’’Howie” earned a spot on the Western Conference All-Star Team. Howard signed a huge six-year $31.8 million dollar contract, said NHL.com. Fans had mixed emotions and thoughts about the signing. Some are happy to see him back, but some think Detroit offered too much. Nonetheless, Detroit has the league’s best goaltending.

The players Detroit lost were evenly replaced by the players they acquired. The biggest change will be the team’s move to the Eastern Conference. The Eastern Conference is a physical conference, unlike the fast paced play of the Western Conference. Detroit will benefit from the move because there will be less travel, and the fans will benefit because most games will be in the Eastern Time Zone.

Detroit has some hurdles to climb this year but I believe the 22-year playoff streak will continue for the Detroit Red Wings!