I love the Flyers, and no other team. I want us to win a Cup, and there is no other team that I accept as an alternative. There are 29 other fanbases that feel the same way about their own club. We all have one goal, and we all have an effect on one another. Since our Fansided Network is doing a 30 day preview to get ready for the 2011-12 season, I’ll be looking at how much of a threat each team is to our own Cup hopes. Today, we have the Detroit Red Wings.
Detroit gets older and older, and yet remains a top team every season. Not once in the last 15 years have they not been mentioned as a favorite, regardless of various concerns that popped up over the years (age, goaltending, age). Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg will lead the offense again, while Niklas Lidstrom tries to hold down the fort on D. Jimmy Howard will need to prove a lot of people wrong, and show that he isn’t the weak link in the chain. After that, they have plenty of depth at every position. They’ve still got Mule and Holmstrom chipping in more than a few goals, usually by way of more grit than finesse.
Yeah, the main cogs are all over 30, but until I see this team struggle, I won’t overlook them. It’s been quite some time since the 1997 finals, when the Red Wings swept the Flyers aside. Still, on the rare occasions that these teams play, there’s always someone bringing up that series. It’s because since then, both teams have remained among the elite, and almost every game is a possible Finals preview. Luckily, we’ll see them a couple times this season. First, we head there on February 12, before hosting them on March 6th.
There’s a lot to look forward to with these games. Because we play them twice, fairly close together, we can get a good read on how we match up with on of the deeper teams in the league. The second game should be a bit more important, since the teams will have some level of familiarity. Detroit always controls the pace, and holds the puck well. It’s a great way to see if the Flyers can somehow overcome a skilled team and take control of the game. If not, it’s a chance to see how our D holds up under pressure. More importantly, we get to see if our prized goaltender Ilya Bryzgalov can steal a game from top tier competition. Last time he faced Detroit was as a member of the Coyotes in the first round of last years playoffs. To say that he underperformed would be putting it lightly. It’s games against teams like Detroit where we get to see if he was worth all the wheeling and dealing.
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Tags: 1997 Stanley Cup Finals 2011 Playoffs 2011-12 Nhl Season 2011-12 Season Detroit Red Wings Henrik Zetterberg Ice Hockey Ilya Bryzgalov Jimmy Howard Johan Franzen NHL Niklas Lidstrom Pavel Datsyuk Philadelphia Flyers Preview Previews Tomas Holmstrom