Three Questions: Wings-Canadiens
DRW.com's Michael Caples analyzes the Wings' fifth preseason game
A slapshot to the lower leg has veteran defenseman Chris Chelios joining an injured list that the Red Wings are not feeling too good about. Captain Nick Lidstrom is still out of the line-up from the broken nose he suffered in the first preseason game. Top line center Pavel Datsyuk is still tending to a sore groin, which means he isn’t getting any practice time with his new linemate Marian Hossa. Forward Darren Helm crashed into the boards, cutting open his face, but fortunately he returned shortly.
I’m not sure how hurt Chelios is yet, but needless to say, the Red Wings need to get healthy quick, or their depth will be tested sooner than anybody hoped.
Could this game be a preview of the 2009 Stanley Cup Final?
I won’t say anything to jinx Detroit’s chances, but I will say that Montreal is one of the heavy favorites coming out of the Eastern Conference this season. Judging from what we’ve seen from two shootout thrillers this preseason, I don’t blame the experts who think the Canadiens might have a little icing on the cake while they celebrate the franchise’s century mark.
Montreal will continue their ascent to the top of the Eastern Conference (they topped the regular season standings last year) provided that their superstar sophomore goaltender Carey Price plays the way he is capable of. He cracked the line-up last year and the Canadiens had no choice but to keep putting him in the crease. He had the play of the game Tuesday night, when a Brian Rafalski slapshot deflected up and floated over the young goalkeeper. Price spun and reached backwards with his stick, swatting the puck, which was higher than the crossbar, away from a gaping net and an anxiously-awaiting Tomas Holmstrom – just one of his 28 saves in the 2-1 shootout win for Montreal.
How strong is Marian Hossa?
I’d love to throw the guy onto the squat machines and see how much weight he can handle. He’s listed at 210 pounds, which is pretty sturdy, but doesn’t do him justice. I’ve heard people label him as ‘soft’, and they’re dead wrong. In the first two minutes of the game, Hossa cut across from the wing to center, just inside the blue line, and big Montreal defenseman Mike Komisarek decided to catch the speedy winger unprepared. The end result? Komisarek picking himself up off the ice. A few minutes later, it was Ryan O’Bryne taking his chance on Hossa. Same result. Soft? I don’t think so.