Any Challengers? Any of You Feeling Up to This?

I don't have to tell any of you to go look at a calendar, nor do  I needed to be reminded that myself.  But, if you're getting ready to eat the chocolates out of your advent calendar or swearing off sweets altogether, it's important to know that you're not alone with that little thought in the back of your head, gnawing at the base of your spine and feeding happy thoughts to your naughty parts.  Yeah, it's November, but this Wings team is absolutely for real.  Take a quick look through the Western conference and tell me who's going to stop this Red Wings team from parading their twelfth Stanley Cup through the Motor City next June.  Don't even bother with the East; you and I both know the JV conference needs serious help to even be a contender and the gap is getting bigger.

So, back to the West; who ya got?  The Vancouver Canucks?  You want to put your money on Roberto Luongo over seven games when the pressure is Olympic-sized?  You go ahead and forget everything from that gold medal game in February about how the insanely stacked Canadian squad nearly handed away the glory in Vancouver thanks to Roberto's shaky hands in front of the crowd that loves him most.  They're probably the biggest danger in the conference, but they haven't learned how to win.  Alain Vigneault has proven over and over again that he cannot keep his team in it.  The Hawks own them and the best I can say about Chicago is that they're Detroit-lite.

Speaking of little brother and of knowing how to win, how do you like them?  Are you worried that they finally figured it out, put it together, and will remember how to win a series when the pressure is on?  If so, then slap yourself, hard.  Give yourself the ol' open-handed wake up call because Joel Quenneville is Detroit's whipping boy.  If Pete Laviolette nearly made him fetal with a team too stacked to lose, imagine what the perennial Jack Adams oversight Mike Babcock will do to the Q-stache.  even if they hit all of their ifs - If Duncan Keith can survive playing those minutes and if the kids plugging the holes in their bottom lines can play like NHLers and if Marty Turco can go back in time and... oh yeah... Marty Turco.  Please.  If you're frightened of the Blackhawks then there's nothing I can do for you.  I can do lots of things, but if my lawyer is correct, I can't write you a prescription for anything strong enough to cure what ails you.

San Jose?  Do I have to write a paragraph about this team?  Rob Blake retired this summer and took what little heart his organization had with him.  There's only so far diving can get you without defense.  This team is headed in the wrong direction.

So anybody else? LA?  Yeah, they could get scary, but they've got a bit to go if they're going to impress me.  Hey, I hear the Stars are hot lately and they beat us earlier in the season.  Yeah, they're another group asking for ifs to come true.  St. Louis, Nashville, Columbus, Colorado, Phoenix, just... no.  There's not a single team in this league that frightens me.  Every single team out there has to rely on a bunch of hopes coming true while all the Wings have to do is avoid that dice roll that trips up every team regardless of whether they have talent pouring out of their ears or a payroll lower than MC Hammer's in his prime.  You want to worry, then worry about luck.  Worry about more freak injuries, because that's all that's going to trip up Detroit this season.

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