Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Get to Know Your Enemy: Detroit Red Wings

Tonight the Buffalo Sabres will drop the puck on their 2013-2014 NHL season against none other than the Detroit Red Wings. This offseason saw the NHL realign, sending the Red Wings into the Sabres division thus giving them a new divisional foe and even less of a chance to make the postseason. Thanks Gary Betteman! Since the Red Wings are now in the East and the Sabres will be seeing lots of this deadly team from out West, it’s time to give you a breakdown on the Red Wings.

Top 3 offencive threats

Pavel Datsyuk- Datsyuk could easily deke his way out of a paper bag while blindfolded, he is amazing. When you see him leading a

Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

rush you know just know something spectacular is going to happen. It’s seems that even his deke’s have their own deke’s, when he gets moving it’s near impossible to stop him. Datsyuk is just one of those players that can make something happen every time he steps foot on the ice. With the Sabres young, rookie defence, Datsyuk may pick them apart in their 4 meetings this season.

Henrik Zetterberg- The captain of the Red Wings is another player who can make something out of nothing. He puts up big points and leads by example. Zetterberg is a workhorse on the ice, he’s arguably one of the most underrated players in the league for what he does every night. He goes head to head against the opposition’s best and outsmart’s them night after night.

Johan Franzen- Will be called upon to play more of a secondary scoring role for the Wings, but don’t underestimate the skill of the mule. he shows flashes of brilliance and can compete against the best of the best. He’s a big body capable of scoring 30 goals.

Defencive threats

Niklas Kronwall- Krnowall is one of the best defenceman in the modern day NHL. He loves to play aggressive, hard-hitting hockey but has also shown flashes of great offence. He’s like a double threat from the blueline, you need to keep an eye on him or he’ll be contributing on the offence.

In addition to Kronwall, the Wings get help from their two-way forwards. The Red Wings philosophy has always seemed to be a two-way game; If you’re going to produce on offence you can help on defence. Their like a shutdown team and the Sabres will see just how tough it is to play against the beasts of the West.

Goaltending

Between the pipes the Red Wings have Jimmy Howard. Do I really need to say anything more? The last two season’s Howard has

burst onto the NHL goaltending scene and ranks amongst the top 5 of all NHL netminders. He’s battling with Jonathan Quick for the right to be the man in the crease for team USA at the Olympics and is a lights out goaltender. When Howard is on his game, very little get’s by him.

The Wings backup is former Leaf Jonas Gustavsson but he can’t seem to stay healthy. Expect the Wings to ride Howard again this season and expect him to step up to the plate once again.

Fan Favourite

The Red Wing fans love some Pavel Datsyuk. His electrifying deke’s, exciting rushes and great personality/sense of humour, has taken over the hearts of Red Wing fans. Daytsyuk is definitely one of the most beloved Red Wings and seems to embrace the love pretty well.

Unsung hero

Patrick Eaves is a solid player for the Wings- the catch is he’s rarely healthy. If he can stay healthy, he’ll use his penalty killing skills to help the Wings this season.

Best offseason move

Aquiring Daniel Alfredsson- Alfredsson left the Ottawa Senators because he believed the Red Wings gave him a better chance at winning the Stanley Cup. Adding a player of Alfredsson’s skill level only bolsters the Red Wings offence and he wont be counted on to lead the team, he’ll play a secondary scoring role with the Wings.

Dud move

Letting Damien Brunner leave- Sure he had an up and down season last year but to let a kid with that much potential just leave is a tough pill to swallow. Brunner signed on with the New Jersey Devils and hopefully the move doesn’t come back to bite the Wings.

X-Factor 

Stephen Weiss- Weiss had a rocky start to training camp before being paired with Alfredsson and Franzen, but the trio looked solid as training camp ended. If Weiss can contribute on the score board the Wings offence will only hit the next level. They won’t be expecting a lot of Weiss but at the same time they’ll need him to hold his own by contributing.

The Buffalo Sabres will square off against the Detroit Red Wings four times this upcoming season and right now the early nod goes to the Wings. The Wings are a team that always finds a way to succeed and make the postseason. They find a way to win even when they don’t necessarily have all the tools to do so.

Tags: Buffalo Sabres Detroit Red Wings

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