The NHL playoffs continue tonight with the Conference Semifinals. The five degenerates over at Melt Your Face Off will preview each matchup.
Put away the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. I hate to break it to those who lost interest in hockey in the late 90's and early 00's, but these are not your childhood's Wings and Avs. Yes, most of the major players have returned; Lidstrom, Maltby, Draper, Osgood, McCarty, Sakic, Forsberg, Hejduk, and Foote are all older and wiser. But this is not a bloodbath at the McNichols Sports Arena; this is attrition at the Pepsi Center.
Claude Lemieux's skates have dulled, Darren McCarty is clean, and Patrick Roy lets his son do the dirty work. This Wings/Avs series and the 90's version of the same teams have as much in common as Sorry Ma! Forgot to Take Out the Trash! and Pleased to Meet Me. Do not dismiss this statement as disinterest and obliviousness between these two teams. Just do not expect a gang fight to break out. Complete and utter chaos will only take place if Dominik Hasek's ego inflates while he sits on top of a heating vent.
Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and any other forward are the top line on the ice. Sorry Super Joe, but they inspire fear in onlookers and defensive pairs like Ovechkin racing down the left wing. That's not to say that Colorado is without hope. Jose Theodore's concentration and technique are reaching 2002 levels. If he sequesters himself in his hotel room away from skanks and finasteride, Detroit will have problems hitting the back of the net.
On the other end, Detroit must not give Forsberg time along the halfboards. Only Joe Thornton is more dangerous in that position. Foppa will snipe the top corner or find a streaking Hejduk or Stastny to tap the puck past whatever old man that Detroit plays. Expect Rafalski and Lidstrom, the latter being the best defenseman of the last 25 years, to appear on the ice whenever Forsberg's line is called. Sakic's line will attack the second and third Detroit defensive pairings, giving Niklas Kronwall and Brett Lebda a chance to identify themselves to the masses.
Detroit's superior offense will bombard Colorado. Theodore will hold as long as he is able, but will fold eventually. Red Wings in 6.