MOTOR CITY MADMEN
The Detroit Red Wings have joined Buffalo in the new Atlantic Division
This season, the Detroit Red Wings join the brand new Atlantic Division. Let’s take a look at what they’ve been up to this offseason in the Motor City.
Last Season: 25-17-6, 56 points (7th in Western Conference)
Stanley Cup Playoffs: Defeated by Chicago 4-3 in Western Conference Semi-Finals
Buffalo's All-Time Record vs. Detroit: 52-50-13
Last Meeting: Jan. 16, 2012: Red Wings 5 – Sabres 0 at DET
2013-14 Matchups: Oct. 2 at DET, Nov. 24 at BUF, April 4 at DET, April 8 at BUF
Major Acquisitions: Daniel Alfredsson, Stephen Weiss
Major Subtractions: Carlo Colaiacovo, Valtteri Filppula
Unsigned UFAs: Damien Brunner, Daniel Cleary, Ian White
Unsigned RFAs: None
Detroit’s last season in the Western Conference ended pretty much as dramatically as possibly could have. After sneaking into the playoffs as the seventh seed and then defeating the Anaheim Ducks in seven games, they held a 3-2 series lead over the Chicago Blackhawks in the Conference Semifinals. But the Blackhawks rallied back, won Game Seven in overtime and went on to become the Stanley Cup champions.
The Red Wings say goodbye to that Original Six rivalry with Chicago and the Western Conference this season. Now they’ll try to make the playoffs for a 23rd consecutive season, but now as one of the two new members of the Eastern Conference along with Columbus.
They haven’t missed the postseason since 1990. How long ago was that? In 1990, Milli Vanilli won the Grammy for Best New Artist, and Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings” took home Record of the Year honors.
In their NHL-best 22-year playoff run, the Red Wings have reached the Stanley Cup Final six times and have won hockey’s Holy Grail on four separate occasions (1997, 1998, 2002 and 2008).
The Sabres will waste no time in getting to know their new divisional opponent as Buffalo opens the 2013-14 regular season at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday, Oct. 2 on NBCSN. In case you’re wondering, The Joe currently holds the distinction of being the fourth-oldest arena in the NHL.
Daniel Alfredsson may have caused some drama when he decided to leave Ottawa and stay within the division by signing a one-year deal with Detroit. It’s not something Sabres fans were particularly happy to hear. Alfredsson’s scored 84 point in 89 games against the Sabres.
Detroit also added Stephen Weiss, formerly of the Florida Panthers, in free agency. The Red Wings hope bringing them into a stable of forwards that includes Pavel Datsyuk, Henrik Zetterberg, Johan Franzen and Gustav Nyquist will improve an offense that finished tied for 19th in goals for last season.
On defense, they return Niklas Kronwall, Jonathan Ericsson, Jakub Kindl, Brendan Smith, Kyle Quincey, Danny Dekeyser and Brian Lashoff.
Goaltender Jimmy Howard seeks to build on his 2012-13 campaign in which he finished with 21 wins, a .923 save percentage and 2.13 goals against average. Jonas Gustavsson is set to back him up for another season.
How will the Sabres and the other members of the Eastern Conference fare against this perennial contender? We’ll find out soon enough.