Tonight, October 9, the Detroit Red Wing commences the start of defending their Stanley Cup with a game against fellow "Original Six" team Toronto Maple Leafs. The game starts at 8:00pm EDT and will feature raising the banner celebrating the winning of their 18th Stanley Cup last June. Much of the team returns for the 2008-09 season with Forward Dallas Drake retiring (after winning his first Stanley Cup in June) and Goalie Dominik Hasek retiring for the second time in his career after a less than spectacular 2008 post-season. Yahoo Sports put together a nice write-up on Red Wings, noting that the team did not make any splashy free agent moves over the free agent period this summer with the exception of signing former Penguin Marian Hossa. This speaks a lot to the depth of the Red Wings with two dominant lines and a host of talented players as Yahoo Sports notes. Goalie Chris Osgood solidified his role as starting goalie after solid regular season in 2007-08 sharing duties with Dominik Hasek and then took over permanently after Hasek floundered in the first round of the playoffs against the Nashville Predators.
The future looks good for the Wings and I'm excited about the news season. I agree with Yahoo Sports that the biggest challenge for the Wings will be complacency…a"been there, done that" approach that could cause an upset with a hungrier team. The Wings have the pieces in place to repeat, which they did in 1998 after winning the Stanley Cup in 1997, so it has been accomplished in recent history. I think complacency has actually been a big problem for the team in recent history…we saw it at the end of several seasons, especially in 2002, 2003 and 2006 when they had a great regular season and then chocked in the playoffs. If they can keep their focus and avoid the complacency issues, plus remain health, I don't see why they can't repeat and win it all again in June 2009.