Sometimes all it takes is for an injured team to play their hearts out to show you that Goliath has a weakness. And after watching the Avs lose a tight game last night I will say this:
I am absolutely certain the Red Wings are not winning the Cup.
When an Avs team that is missing its top two players, including Ryan Smyth who is their go-to-the-net guy, manages to beat on a Wings team that admittedly is playing an incredible team game, that's not a good sign.
This occurred to me when Chelios was climbing all over the back of Cody McCormick after McCormick gave Lidstrom a soft cross check in front of Hasek. What wittle Sweedey got hurted about the showda bwades ann needed Daddy to jump in?
If the Wings defense is so good then why is Chris Chelios, Hall of Famer, resorting to hog tying an Avs 3rd liner in front of his own goalie? Answer me that!
Of course Chelios today is being lauded for coming to the aid of his teammate. That's nifty. Because it looked to me like Old Man River got cheap because a feisty, young team got into his kitchen.
How the hell did an Avs 3rd liner even get within 10 feet of the crease?
Granted the Wings are good. Very good. Zetterberg and Datsyuk have rounded into form and Lidstrom, Rafalski, Chelios and Kronwall keep the shots down. They also have strong looking up and comers like Fillipula and Hudler.
There are two looming criticisms of the Wings at this point that are being completely ignored because they are winning:
-They are old
-They are small
There is one simple way to defeat solid teams with that composition:
You play a team game with no flash and you hit them. Then when they get annoyed and start with the cheap crap (Chelios) you hit them again. And you keep it coming even after their grinders look lost along the boards and their ringers are throwing their shots from the blue line.
The Avs were the aggressor last night. They hit in the corners and in front of the net. Their "porous" defense grew thorns leaving only one trash pass that bounced directly to a standing Datsyuk. Beyond that I can't say that I saw many shots where Jose Theodore was actually challenged.
Jose Theodore ladies and gentlemen! I thought he was horrible?
Everywhere Zetterberg, Fillipula, Datsyuk and the rest went they got a stick to the shins and an elbow to the throat.
Admittedly the Avs too are young and have their share of small players. But when it boils down to Man Time in the playoffs, the Wings can throw out all the trapping, positional, sticks-in-passing lanes hockey they want, yet when they run into a team with tough 3rd and 4th lines that can bang all of a sudden the old guys will get sore and the small guys will get washed out.
Oh for the days of that Grind Line...or not...
This is why the Red Wings lost last year to a grinding, hitting team like the Ducks, and the year before to a hungry blue collar team like Edmonton.
And it is why they will lose this season.
They haven't been choking in the playoffs like the "experts" have preached. They just aren't truly built to win a Cup. They ain't got the grit!
Only nobody sees this because they win in the regular season.
That is all.