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Hockeytown is Back!

2019-07-18

You’re Detroit Red Wings are this year’s Stanley Cup Champions!!!

#GoWingsGo ;)

The Red Wings made this year’s playoffs marking only the 2nd time in their team history to make the big dance. Their previous trip being in 2017 when they would bow out in 6 games to the eventual Stanley Cup Champs the Ottawa Senators.

Going into this season the Red Wings knew they would have a top-ranked offense with their loaded top two lines and a #1 goalie but question marks lingered on their blue line.

Their 1st line consisted of Hart Trophy Winner Nikita Kucherov who in the previous season put up a monstrous season with 117-points (47 goals and 70 assists) and breaking the EHE record for points in a season. His fellow Russian bud Vladimir Tarasenko would continue to be a lock to be his other winger and no doubt their #1 center would continue to be Leon Draisaitl both players coming off huge point totals in their previous season. Though about 13 games into the season as the Wings weren’t living up to standards and being a .500 team Coach Yeo decided to break up the famous line and promote Boeser to the top line and move Tarasenko down to see if this added a spark, which it did. The Wings took off and never looked back.

Their 2nd line consisted of fan-favorite Brock Boeser on a line with Evgenii Dadonov and centered by Vincent Trocheck. They knew with all that firepower on their top 2 lines it would hopefully make it easier for guys like Dvorak, Tuch, Drouin to put up pretty good numbers. Their 4th line consisted of role players like Sheahan, Karlsson, and Rodrigues.

There were no question marks after so many years in net as Connor Hellebuyck had taken the reigns as the Wings starting goaltender of the present and of the future and while also establishing himself as this year’s best goalie in the EHE posting a 46-14-8 record along with 5 shutouts. He lead the league in wins beating out Vasilevskiy by 1 win but also doing it playing 3 few games and 4 more shutouts than his rival.

Their defensive unit was going to have to keep up with their top firing offense and just do a normal job and nothing fancy. Their offensive unit and their #1 goalie would take care of the rest and that is exactly what they did. This unit consisted of no top defenders, no defender that was going to put fear in their opponents during the power-play but just good hard-working 2way defenders, the unit I'm speaking of was the group of Mehtot/Stetcher/Santini/Benning/Hagg and Fleury. Throughout the season GM Valle was told by a few different GM’s that he needed a top defender or two or three in order to make the playoffs but some of these GMs were offering a year rental player for so much youth and futures in return and as you know GM Valle isn’t about that life. Throughout the season time and time again the same stuff here’s this bum for your top prospect, aw no thank you! Guess what his trust in his little group of misfits paid off and their unit worked their assess off and proved to their GM and Coach that they could get it done and they did.

Santini 33 points and a +15/Stetcher 31 and a +12 points

Benning 31 points and a +26/Hagg 26 points and a +31

Sure they had the help of their offense and goalie but they were told just to do a normal hard-working job and they could get it done and that is exactly what they did.

The Red Wings scouting unit has been given a lot of praise for winning this year's Stanley Cup and for being able to draft so well and make trades for youngsters that have panned out especially after being ranked #1 in this year's 2018/19 edition of the EHE Future Watch and now 2years in a row. Their scouting staff have all been extended after their playoffs success as GM Valle said, "It was a huge priority to keep them all together."

Head scout Jack Mehoff and Holden Makok and assistants Stu Padaso, Semore Butz, Harry Bush, and Hugh Johnson will look to continue to build on their success and bring so much more talent to their organization.


Their top 10 as voted by the EHE Future Watch are as follows:

#1 Erik Brannstrom

#2 Lias Andersson

#3 Kristian Vesalainen

#4 Joel Farabee

#5 Timothy Liljegren

#6 Jesse Puljujarvi

#7 Jake Bean

#8 Adam Fox

#9 Sam Steel

#10 Jonathan Dahlen

 

Road to Lord Stanley

Little Caesars Arena will be jumping to get these playoffs underway.

 


1st Round vs. Boston Bruins (4-0 Series)

This round was surprising as the Wings ended up sweeping the Bruins. The Wings entering this series knew they would have their hands full with Patrick Kane/Jack Eichel/Ryan O’Reilly/Victor Hedman and Matthew Tkachuk but the Bruins were only able to get 5 goals passed Hellebuyck in 4 games. Tarasenko was able to put up a hat trick in one of the games but leading the way was Kucherov with 1 goal and 6 assists and both Draisaitl and Trocheck with 2 goals and 4 assists.

Hedman and O’Reilly were held to just 1 point each and Barrie who’s their power play specialist was held to 0 points.


Boston (Next Season) 

I think Boston will be back especially with its core of players still coming back for another push. They are coming back with that top 4 unit on defense, a top line of Tkachuk O'Reilly and Kane will be scary. They also have a few youngsters that will be pushing for ice time this coming season. 


(Player to watch for next season) 

Chychrun, expect him to get some big minutes next season. Could be a breakout year for him in the EHE.

 

2nd Round vs. Tampa Bay Lightning (4-3 Series)

The Lighting was the team that took the eventual Champs all the way to a game 7, as this was a hard-fought series. After taking a commanding 2-0 series lead and eventually a 3-1 series lead the Lighting fought back forcing a game 7. This Tampa team was built with 5 really good defenders in Pietrangelo, Brodie, McDonagh, Ellis, and Pesce. Their forward lines had a good mix of young good players with some experienced Vets. With youngsters like Point, DeBrusk, and Teravainen to go along with Radulov, Kadri, Williams, and Ferland the Lighting gave the Wings a lot of problems after they thought they had this series wrapped up early. The Wings were again lead by Kucherov who had 9 points in this series followed by Boeser who had 7. The Lighting had 3 players tied with 4 points in Radulov, Point and Huberdeau.


Justin Hill (Lighting GM)

What was the toughest thing about-facing the Wings in round 2?

- I would say facing a red hot Hellebuyck and the Wings potent offense.


Something you feel you wish you could have done differently?

   - I felt that I had built a defensive unit that could stop your offensive stars but now I know I didn’t. I realized that even though my defense is good, I don’t have enough “skill” players to beat a team like Detroit. Needed that one offensive guy to step up and take over a series. Point will be that guy next year ;) 


Tampa (Next Season)

This team could be a team to watch out for as they return with pretty much everyone and let's not forget Point is going to take next season by storm in the EHE. They are returning with about 5 defenders who could be a #1 or a #2 defender on most teams.


(Player to watch for next season)

Dunn, I think he is going to put up some good numbers next season which could force Justin to move one of his top 4 guys for more depth on the forward lines.

 

3rd Round vs. Carolina Hurricanes (4-1 Series) Conference Finals


Standing in the way of the Wings first trip to the Stanley Cup was last year’s Conference final team the Carolina Hurricanes. The Hurricanes were loaded with some good players on their team. Clutch players like Pavelski, Panarin as well as one of the top defenders in the league in Giordano to along with vets like Keith, Simmonds, Koivu and let's not forget one of the top goalies in the league in Gibson. First 2 games were a 3-1 score and none of these games were blowouts and were pretty close games. A huge reason the Canes perhaps exited early in the series was Joe Pavelski who only contributed 1 assist in 5 games and a -3 in the series. Their leading scorer was their All-Star defender Giordano with 3 goals and 1 assist who tied Panarin in goals in that series. The Wings were lead by Boeser and Kucherov who both had 5 points in this series. Gibson kept the Canes in this series too with limited help but kept this high-powered offense to only 13 goals in 5 games while the Canes were able to put up 9. A four-goal difference in a series isn’t a whole lot, which is why someone like Pavelski disappearing in the playoffs hurt their chances.

 

Kevin Lacy (Hurricanes GM)


What was the hardest thing about facing the Wings?

- The hardest thing was trying to get the puck away from them. Their forwards are so dynamic that it wears you down. That made their bottom-6 become that more effective. They took advantage of the hard work their top-6 put in that it feels like you’re always under pressure just to get the puck. I felt that we had one of the best goalies and defensive units in the world this year. We still couldn’t stop them. Our defense was better than theirs. Their scoring was more abundant than ours. Really it’s a wash but when you can’t get the puck away from them, possession overrides everything.


Something you wish you could have done differently at the deadline to your team or in the playoffs?

- We spent the whole season trying to obtain a top-line scoring winger and it didn’t happen. So we decided to shore up in every other area we could while staying consistently up against the salary cap. We even changed our coach to try and to improve. The only thing disappointing about our Trade Deadline is that all three players that we acquired got hurt at some point after being acquired and that was out of our control. Overall, I am pleased with how our Deadline turned out.


Something you want to change going into next season?

- Our goal remains the same: What can we improve for next season? We still feel that our scoring needs to be upgraded. If we’re going to need to meet that need, we have a lot of good young assets and need to decide which ones we believe are ready to take a step forward for us and which ones we could possibly part with that we have the ability to recover from parting with.


Carolina (Next Season)

You can never count out Kevin from any season as he isn't one to rebuild much but more so to retool his team. His goal every season is to win and that's it. Kevin has great players on offense and defense and a #1 netminder in Gibson. Look for him to try to add 1-2 big names on offense to compliment Pavelski and Panarin and help balance out the offense.


(Player to watch for next season)

Manson, with Keith and Giordano getting up there in age expect Manson to get even bigger minutes and a jump in stats. Already put up 30 points this past season expect that number to climb.

 

 

Stanley Cup vs. Dallas Stars (Series 4-1) 

At first glance, this team looked to cause severe damage to this Wings team. Dallas had 2 stacked offensive lines coming in, a 3rd line that could shut you down. Not to mention on top of that they had 3 of the best defenders in the EHE in Josi, Burns, and Subban oh and did I mention they had Carey Price in net!

Though coming into this series the Wings had no reason to make any kind of changes to their lineup as things had been going their way so far in these playoffs. Game 1 the Wings outshot the Stars 40 to 36 but could only find a way to beat Price once with a goal coming from Kucherov. The Stars power play went 2 for 5 in game 1 with goals coming from Backstrom, Atkinson, and McNabb.

Coach Yeo after the game sat down with his coaching staff and said okay it’s just game 1 do we make any changes or sit as is? The Wings 3rd line lead by Drouin hadn’t really done a whole lot in the regular season and had been quite so far in these playoffs minus Drouin who put up a 40 point season playing limited minutes and seeing some power-play time. They decided to demote Dvorak to the 4th line before game 2 and move up Sheahan for his faceoff attributes as well as his defensive game. Sliding him into the middle of Drouin and Tuch would let them concentrate on offense while they had the safety blanket of Sheahan to cover them.

Did this minor change make a whole difference in the finals? Well, the Wings did go on to win the next 4 games to lift Lord Stanley, so who knows? Though the stats don't lie.

These were the stats of that 3rd line in those final 4 games they won in a row:


Player           Goals               Assists            +/-

Drouin             2                     2                      4

Tuch                0                     2                      4

Sheahan         1                      3                      4


In the final game that they lifted the cup that line each chipped in 1 goal and Sheahan also had 1 assist. They combined for 11 shots in that final game. Also moving Sheahan to center the line in game 2 and on shored up the faceoff circle.


Sheahan Face-offs:

Game 2: 12/15

Game 3: 6/13

Game 4: 7/10

Game 5: 12/22

 

Captain Tarasenko did tell Commissioner Lacy that he thinks the most important thing in the Finals was his teammate Sheahan for doing the dirty work that flies under the radar.

 

 

Dan Bacon (Dallas GM)


What was the hardest thing about-facing the Wings?

- I think our series was extremely fairly matched. We won Game 1 in a blowout, Detroit won Game 3 in a blowout and even though we lost the series 4-1, the other 3 games were all decided in OT. We just happened to be on the wrong side of the coin flip in those games. If you look at PP and PK percentages throughout the series they were very similar. I think it was just a pure heavyweight battle among two of the powerhouses of the EHE and we just came up a little short.


Something you wish you could have done differently in the playoffs or at the Trade Deadline?

-As far as our approach to the playoffs in general, we are very pleased on the season as a whole. Our managerial approach to this season was just to acquire as much talent as we could, and try to rebuild what was once the premier franchise in the EHE and had begun to fall apart. We feel we made plenty of moves to show that the contention window is still wide open for the Dallas Stars.


Going into next season, is there anything that you’re looking to change?

- Our goal for next season is again to accumulate talent. We are way ahead of schedule for what the initial plans were, so now we just need to build on that and get the roster into a place where the next wave of talent is ready to jump in and keep this team competitive as we obviously currently have one of the most talented, but oldest teams in the league.


On a side note, the Dallas Stars organization would again like to congratulate Cisco and the Detroit Red Wings for a tremendous season from start to finish and a well-deserved championship.


Dallas (Next Season)

With Carey Price in net, you can expect to be in the playoff hunt every season. Dallas returns with 2 deadly lines on offense and 2 studs on defense with Burns and Josi eating up big-time minutes in the back end. Expect GM Dan to be very busy this off-season adding to his team.


(Player to watch for next season)

Backstrom, getting him towards the end of the season expect a full season with the Stars to be a breakout one especially playing with linemate Ovechkin and possibly Pastrnak.

 

 

Conn Smythe Winner: Nikita Kucherov

Nikita Kucherov coming off a Hart Trophy the season before just added to his trophy case a Stanley Cup and a Conn Smythe Trophy. This guy is just taking the EHE by storm within the last year. We also can’t forget his EHE record-shattering point total of 117 points.

"I'm still in shock that we won the cup!! It feels soooo good to be able to do this for my teammates and for the city of Detroit who has been waiting so long to be able to see this one day."


Nikita Kucherov

"I am so proud of my teammates for working so hard and leaving it all on the ice."


Captain Vladimir Tarasenko

"I am so blessed to be able to play with such amazing wingers day in and day out that makes my job so easy, I did nothing but showed up and they did the rest."


-Leon Draisaitl

"My teammates played so hard in front of me to make my job so easy, this defensive unit laid it all on the line for each other and so proud of this group for coming together."


-Connor Hellebuyck

"I can't believe after all these seasons and never thinking I’d be lucky enough to hoist the cup, I can finally walk away from the game with what every kid sets their goal on, and that's lifting the Cup! This was for this city who gave me one last chance to play the game I love so much and were excited to bring me on to help bring along this young group of guys. I want to thank this city, I want to thank this staff and I want to thank my family, love you all."


-Marc Methot

Reporter: Wait, are you walking away from the game?

"No comment, but it would be the perfect time to if I did right?"

 




Doug Waite

Really great article. That banner really makes the article pop.... :)

Hockeytown is Back!
The Once-Prestigious Franchise Returns After Hoisting Lord Stanley

• 1 teams Like this  3 months
Cisco Valle The banner is awesome thanks again!! Also Kyle for the completed playoff bracket.
3 months  0 teams Like this
Kyle Phillips

The Stanley Cup champs always deserve a good deep dive article to wrap things up. Nicely done!

Hockeytown is Back!
The Once-Prestigious Franchise Returns After Hoisting Lord Stanley

• 1 teams Like this  3 months
Cisco Valle Thanks Kyle I appreciate the kind words lol. Thanks yea it came to me as i was finishing up my rough draft.
3 months  0 teams Like this
Thomas Gidlow

Man, those scouts have some funny names. What are the odds? Excellent work sir, and congrats again for a dominant season.

Hockeytown is Back!
The Once-Prestigious Franchise Returns After Hoisting Lord Stanley

• 1 teams Like this  3 months
Cisco Valle I know, they have been in a few articles in the past lol
3 months  1 teams Like this
Brandyn Errickson

Outstanding write up and what we all hope to have the opportunity to write one day.

Hockeytown is Back!
The Once-Prestigious Franchise Returns After Hoisting Lord Stanley

• 1 teams Like this  3 months
Cisco Valle Hey bud, thank you thank you. I appreciate it as always. I tried, hopefully it wasn't to much rambling and boring lol.
3 months  1 teams Like this
Tommy Barr

Awesome article

Hockeytown is Back!
The Once-Prestigious Franchise Returns After Hoisting Lord Stanley

• 1 teams Like this  3 months
Cisco Valle Thanks Tommy I suck at writing articles but tried hard on this one lol
3 months  0 teams Like this
Martins Auzins

Great read. Loved it. Spectacular season!

Hockeytown is Back!
The Once-Prestigious Franchise Returns After Hoisting Lord Stanley

• 1 teams Like this  3 months
Cisco Valle Thanks Martins greatly appreciated as always bud
3 months  0 teams Like this