Hockey Heaven

The holidays have arrived early!  Watching Joe Louis Arena for Game 1 of the latest revival of the Wings-Avalanche rivalry, it was hard to believe that this was the year which empty seats were a common occurrence at Detroit’s most famous (standing) hockey arena.  While some of the names and faces have changed, Game 1 provided all the excitement that a hockey fan could want. 

I honestly did not expect a Wings-Avs series before the playoffs, but I cannot and will not complain because of what this rivalry can bring. 

When the Avs brought Adam Foote and Peter Forsberg back into the mix a few months ago, two different scenarios started to play their way out.  First, excitement was returned to the Pepsi Center as fans of Colorado’s second NHL team (see Rockies) became nostalgic in watching previous top-liners back in the now-slimmed down sweaters.  The team held off the charging Blackhawks, Canucks and Oilers down the stretch and earned their way to compete against their division counterparts in round one.

The second scenario was the fact their team got considerably older and less reliable. I don’t see McCarty or Maltby as considerable parts to the Detroit effort, a much different situation than the one in the Rockies. The Avalanche are too old. If they are fortunate to get by the Wings, they won’t win more than one game in the Conference Finals.

I like the Red Wings in this series. This team gains more confidence as they play on.  Much like in the Predators series, the goaltending will be the x-factor.  For countless years, the Wings have had the ability of making average goalies look like Ken Dryden (Kiprusoff, Roloson, Fiset, Cloutier, etc.).  Theodore and Budaj are not exactly the most frightening duo as seen during Game 1.

It is hard to imagine that the Wings will not score in bunches and be half way to the Cup by next week.