Growing up the only team I hated more than the Dallas Stars was the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings were successful, their fans were everywhere and the Sharks had limited success against them. Well, two of the three are still in play but the Sharks have had the Red Wings' number as of late, winning the last two postseason series the teams will likely ever play (unless they meet in the Stanley Cup Finals, of course).
With the Wings' move to the eastern conference comes the notion that these two teams just won't be rivals anymore. They only play each another twice a year and the odds of them playing a meaningful game against one another in the new future is, well, low. Still -- these franchises are intertwined because Doug Wilson loves them and Todd McLellan used to be one of 'em. It's hard to say McLellan "gets up" for any one game in particular; but if he does, it has to be the games against the Wings.
Brent Burns is out tonight with sore gums, probably because of all that raw meat he consumes after every game. In his place will be Freddie Hamilton -- his first ever NHL start. That means we'll see Joe Thornton center a line with two rookies in Tomas Hertl and Hamilton.
It's starting to feel like the walking wounded for San Jose with Burns, Boyle, Havlat, Torres and Burish all out tonight. The Joe Louis arena is (supposedly) one of the toughest builds in the NHL, so this could be a real test for the Sharks as they start a six-game eastern conference road trip.
|7-0-1, 15 points
||6-3-0, 12 points|
|1st in Pacific
||Tied-1st in Atlantic
Projected Sharks Lineup
Patrick Marleau - Logan Couture - Tyler Kennedy
Tomas Hertl - Joe Thornton - Freddie Hamilton
Matthew Nieto - Joe Pavelski - Tommy Wingels
James Sheppard - Andrew Desjardins - Bracken Kearns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic - Justin Braun
Matt Irwin - Brad Stuart
Scott Hannan - Jason Demers
Projected Red Wings Lineup
Henrik Zetterberg - Pavel Datsyuk - Daniel Alfredsson
Johan Franzen - Stephen Weiss - Justin Abdelkader
Todd Bertuzzi - Joakim Andersson - Daniel Cleary
Drew Miller - Luke Glendening - Mikael Samuelsson
Danny DeKeyser - Jonathan Ericsson
Brian Lashoff - Jakub Kindl
Brendan Smith - Kyle Quincey