Previewing The Red Wings-Stars

The Deadspin NHL Playoff Previews are brought to you by the five foppish gents at Melt Your Face Off. Please don't wear an ascot when a cravat is called for, or they will be right put out. LeNoceur breaks down the Western Conference Finals.

Forget kindergarten. Everything you need to know about life can be learned from old Westerns. You can't trust anyone like you trust your horse. Getting drunk and playing cards is really all the entertainment you need. Real men drink whiskey. People will kill you just to steal your boots. And if you need some iron to take down the local gang of rustlers, you go see the Swede.

The Red Wings have plenty of Scandinavian arms merchants, and they all seem to have scary nicknames. The Mule. Demolition Man. Permanent Owner of the Norris Trophy. Henrik Zetterberg is simply a stone killer. This is a Stockholm Syndrome of a very different sort, one that is so terrifying that fellow countryman Peter Forsberg politely stood aside and let them slangpolska right past his Avalanche.

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The Stars should watch carefully, lest Loui Eriksson and Mattias Norstrom pull the same deferential disappearing act in the face of the Rott Pyskander. To counter this gang of blue-eyed killers, the Stars have assembled what sounds like a perfectly deadly tennis team: Brenden. Marty. Brad. Stu. Trevor. Can their popped collars deflect bullets? Do they understand that the cold of the Lapland glaciers pales in comparison to the cold in the depths of Lidstrom's heart?

The Stars do have one true gunslinger on their side. Unfortunately, he no longer laces up skates, has acquired a healthy potbelly, and used up whatever hockey karma he might ever have had in the 1999 Cup Finals. More than the personnel moves, such as acquiring Brad Richards at the trade deadline, GM Brett Hull's greatest contribution to young Stars players like Matt Niskanen and Mike Ribeiro could be to help them learn what it's like to be, and to face, a killer.

Some analysts will tell you that the Stars are a more "complete" team than Detroit. I am here to tell you that there is nothing more complete than having the best defenseman, the two best all-around forwards and an thus-far-undefeated goaltender. The Wings have killed Predators and Avalanche. They've killed just about every thing there is. And now they're coming to kill you, Dallas Stars.

And, if you've got ten minutes or so, enjoy: