Yeah, I’m scared

May 8, 2008

I’m pretty nervous about this upcoming series against Dallas and I’m trying to figure out why.

  • Marty Turco:  Sure, it’s easy to look at his career lack of victories at Joe Louis and his overall terrible record against the Wings as a plus. But there’s always a time to break trends, and all signs point to this year being the year Turco does it. If he doesn’t do it this year he never will, and he’s such a great goalie I have a hard time saying “never” with him. What I saw in the bit of Game 5 vs. the Sharks that I watched was pure brilliance. The guy is hot, undeniably. Let’s hope we’re still in his head, but I’m not putting any money on it.
     
  • Dallas’ forwards are underrated: I hear everyone praising the Wings’ offensive depth, but they’ve got some serious firepower on the Stars. Throughout their 12 playoff games, the Stars have 4 players with at least double digits in points: Mike Ribiero (3G, 11A, 14P), Brenden Morrow (7G, 4A, 11P), Brad Richards (2G, 9A, 11P), and Mike Modano (4G, 6A, 10P). Granted, the rest of their forwards don’t seem to have the balance and versatility that the Wings have, but this is a scary offense to face.
  • Dallas has a good defensive corps: The Wings absolutely shredded the Avs due to injuries first and foremost but also due to the fact that the Avs’ defense (which was 100% healthy) was just incredibly lackluster. Nashville, in comparison, had a much better, younger, faster defense — and you saw what happened there. The Stars defense is probably second to the Wings among all 16 playoff teams. Sergei Zubov could’ve been a Norris candidate had he not gotten injured. While the bottom 3 defenders are young and less than terrifying (so far), they’ve also gotten got forwards that play a two-way game, such as previous Selke winner Jere Lehtinen. Don’t expect the razzle dazzle you saw in the Avs series, and don’t even begin to think the Wings are going to go in and dominate.
     
  • Intangibles — the layoff, and expectations: I think the Wings are a veteran team that is savvy enough to get over “intangibles,” but both of these are question marks heading into the series, no doubt. The Wings haven’t played since last Thursday, which is a bit scary. However, Dallas hasn’t played since Sunday, so it’s not like they’re rolling either. Dallas is the clear, media-crowned underdog, which is a bit ridiculous, but whatever. I think the expectations are definitely on the Wings to take care of business here, but I don’t think anybody is truly appreciating just how good the Stars are. I don’t think the Wings read the papers, and I’d be surprised if Lidstrom and Babcock really gave a rat’s ass about any of this, but as a fan you get nervous.
It’s tough to read. Everyone is picking the Wings for the most part and it freaks me out. This is by far the toughest challenge yet. 
Is it better to have swept in such a convincing fashion as the Wings did, or to have stumbled but closed off the last series in an emotional fashion? Dallas had San Jose on the ropes 3 games to 0 (a prospect in and of itself that says a lot), but then needed to get the fourth overtime of Game 6 to finish them off. Sure, the victory was huge for them, but what can we say about it taking so long for them to get it? 
The Wings knocked off Nashville and an injury-riddled Colorado team; the Stars knocked off the defending Champs and the team everyone picked as this year’s champs (the Sharks). The Wings exposed the hottest goalie in the first round in Theodore; Brenden Morrow emerged for the Stars as one of the scariest players in the playoffs (I mean, what Franzen did was a walk in the park in some ways given just how bad the Avs were… lets be honest).
This is just a booby trap series for the Wings. All of the historical stats, all of the expectations, and all of the signs from this year — the Wings’ health, the Wings’ momentum, the re-emergence of Osgood, yada yada yada — point to this being a victory for the Wings. But that freaks me out. A lot. I have nightmares of Turco kick saves and clutch goals from Brenden Morrow. I see lasers from the point by Zubov. I see Brad Richards sniping from the circle. 
If you want to win the Cup you’ve got to be challenged, and this is it for the Wings. Don’t read the papers. The “experts” don’t know what they’re talking about. 
Prediction: Wings in six.
Pittsburgh v. Philly: PENS IN FIVE.
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