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ESPN’s Custance posits a massive Red Wings season preview

The AP's Larry Lage posted a Red Wings 2013-2014 season preview yesterday, and the season of season previews kicks off in earnest with an incredibly detailed Red Wings preview from ESPN's Craig Custance, and it includes a video interview with Jimmy Howard...



And ESPN's summary (the "experts" are picking the Wings to finish second or third in the Atlantic, and Custance made his Stanley Cup-winning and Atlantic Division-winning pick during a chat yesterday--picking Ottawa winning the division and losing to LA in the Cup Final) of the preview is as good a place as any to start:

Before he signed with the Red Wings as a free agent, center Stephen Weiss had a conversation with coach Mike Babcock. Babcock went through the Red Wings lineup and explained to Weiss where he would fit in. The opportunity to play with and learn from Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg was appealing to Weiss. But it was the ultimate team goal that sold him.

"[Babcock] talked about winning the Stanley Cup, which was refreshing," Weiss told ESPN The Magazine. "To hear those type of things was great to hear. It was a pretty easy decision to come here."

The retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom along with unsuccessful attempts in free agency over the past couple of years moved the Red Wings out of their usual place in the Stanley Cup picture. This offseason changed that.

Following a season and playoffs in which the Red Wings were infused with young talent like Brendan Smith, Danny DeKeyser, Joakim Andersson and Gustav Nyquist, GM Ken Holland had his best offseason since landing Marian Hossa.

Detroit added Weiss and were surprisingly able to lure Daniel Alfredsson away from the Senators. On top of it all, they were able to retain heart-and-soul forward Dan Cleary despite late attempts from Florida and Philadelphia to sign him. It puts Detroit, now in the Eastern Conference, back in the Cup conversation.

ESPN's preview continues at significant length, and it's more than worth your time...

And as for Custance's chat...

Kenny (Chicago) Let's not waste any more time. What's your cup prediction?

Craig Custance: Haha. Cut right to the chase, eh Kenny? I don't know if I'm supposed to reveal them or not because we're running our picks online. But between us, I'm picking the Kings over the Senators.


Matt (Grand Rapids): With Alfredsson coming in and Weiss replacing Filppula, are the Wings a better team this year? How will they fare in the new Atlantic?

Craig Custance: Matt - I've got Detroit finishing second in the Atlantic. Weiss is an upgrade over Fil in my opinion, but there are people I really respect who aren't sold on Weiss. But Detroit has a history of taking players who underachieved and getting more out of them, which i think will happen with Weiss. Detroit is better because of Alfredsson and Weiss but even more so because of the experience their young players got last year. That playoff run was huge for them and then Grand Rapids won the Calder. They've got a great mix right now of young guys pushing older guys for playing time.

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DocF's avatar

These “experts” who are predicting good things for the Ottawa Senators must have a much higher opinion of Bobby Ryan than I do.  I think Ottawa will struggle to make the playoffs as they see the limitations of their very highly paid new acquisition.


Posted by DocF from Now: Lynn Haven, FL; was Reidsville, NC on 09/25/13 at 01:15 PM ET

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About The Malik Report

The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.