HF-NYR Fantasy Keeper League - Around The League Thread
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06-20-2012, 10:30 PM
Heart and Soul
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: Brooklyn, NY
DETROIT - It has been two full decades since the Detroit Red Wings have finished a National Hockey League season failing to qualify for the playoffs. Over the last number of years, doubts about how much longer the aging Wings could remain a force in the sport have become increasingly more common among puck pundits. Those dissenting voices appeared amplified several weeks ago when the Wings embarked on the 2011-12 campaign in a most unceremonious fashion, losing two of their first four games.
Only silence, however, seems to be emanating from those once-contentious critics these days.
Since splitting their opening quartet of contests, the denizens of Hockeytown have lost just once - in a shootout - while claiming victory on 11 different occasions. The Winged Wheel, with the second-highest points percentage in the NHL (84.4%), sits just two points behind the defending Stanley Cup champs, the Boston Bruins, for first place overall.
"Serves you right for doubting senior citizens," said the Wings' new general manager, NYR Sting. "I hope the next time any of you bigmouthed buffoons step outside, you get attacked by a wild, rabid Don Cherry."
The hot start can be attributed to balanced and efficient play at both ends of the ice. Detroit's 3.63 goals per game average is the highest in the league, due in part to their power play converting at the second-best rate in the league (27.4%). They've been just as impressive at keeping the puck out of the net, tied with Boston and the Nashville Predators for the best goals against average in the NHL. The Wings are giving up just 2.00 goals per game, despite killing off only a very pedestrian 75.0% of opponent's power play opportunities.
Not surprisingly, the surge has been led by Pavel "Ph.D" Datsyuk. The defensive master and offensive virtuoso is tied with the Bruins' Jarome Iginla for the third-highest point total in the league (21), just two points behind the Pittsburgh Penguins' Evgeni Malkin for the league lead. Henrik Zetterberg's 17 points are good for second on the team, and off-season acquisition Kristian Huselius has notched 14 points of his own playing on Datsyuk's left wing. The top defense pairing of Nicklas Lidstrom and Ian White has been stellar, with each blueliner notching 11 assists to go along with one lamplighter a piece. Another newcomer, 4th line center Manny Malhotra, has 10 points, even with the noticeably declining Tomas Holmstrom lining up to his left.
"Anyone watching Ph.D play can see what the power of intelligence means," explained Sting. "Dats is destroying these simpletons on a nightly basis. It's really just a commentary on the sad state of education in today's society."
As unstoppable as the Wings have been so far, they are, incredibly, just second in their own Central Division. The Nashville Predators, having played one more game than the Red Wings, hold a slim one point advantage in the standings. Appropriately enough, the two rivals are scheduled to meet for the first time this season in just over a week, the sixth game of an important eight game stretch to end the month of November for the Wings. Though the game will be played at Joe Louis Arena, it will unfortunately be on the tailend of a back-to-back scenario that begins in Boston. The Wings will also play several other teams off to strong starts before month's end, including the Anaheim Ducks, the Buffalo Sabres, and the Los Angeles Kings, as well as the struggling San Jose Sharks.
Sting, though, does not seem concerned.
"A bunch of stupid animals and a symbol of an archaic form of government. Why worry?"
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