Detroit - it's ironic that this is the first NHL season with a salary cap in place and Detroit is still looking like one of the best teams in the league. But then again their main advantage in talent the past decade has had more to do with having an excellent GM in Ken Holland and not so much in having a big payroll (see the NY Rangers for example). But why are they still so damn good this year? That's not hard to explain. In net, they've got Manny Legace. He is consistently one of the better goalies in the league. Never spectacular, but always steady. He will keep them in every game. Then look at their group of blueliners that is still one of the finest in the NHL with guys like Nick Lidstrom and Mathieu Schneider and Jiri Fischer and Chris Chelios and Jason Wooley. Up front they don't have the most talent in the league, but they've got a lot. Datsyuk and Zetterberg are both dynamic playmakers. Robert Lang and Brendan Shanahan can rack up points. And guys like Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby can still get it done. Throw in a phenomenal FA signing like Mikael Samuelsson (6 goals in 8 games) and their lineup is deadly. Oh yeah, did I forget to mention that Mike Babcock was a great find as coach. I love Dave Lewis, but his players-best-friend schtick from the Scotty Bowman days just didn't put enough fear in the players to get the most out of them.
Michigan - what can I say, all Red does is reload every year. We lost Montoya and Nystrom and Tambellini and Gajic and on and on and on... But what does it all mean? Just that we bring in guys like Jack Johnson, Andrew Cogliano, and Billy Sauer. Johnson is a flat out stud. I don't care what anybody says, but that kid might be first team All American this year as a true freshman. He's that good and he can dominate play on both ends of the ice. I don't even know who the hell to compare him to. Perhaps Rob Blake in his prime. But anyways, the win over Boston College was nice. But we really don't deserve the #1 ranking right now. Then again, neither does anybody else. The important thing is coming out flying tonight against the Spartans at Yost. It will be a very tough game. Hopefully the home ice advantage can carry us to victory.