Regner: Predators better not overlook Wings

April 11, 2012

DETROIT-- In a few short hours the Red Wings will be on a collision course with destiny.

If the talking heads of the hockey world are correct, tonight in Nashville will be the beginning of the end for the NHL's model franchise.

After years of dominance, Detroit is about to fall prey to the Predators. A banged up, long-in-the-tooth Wings team will be devoured by a Nashville team that's deeper, healthier and hungrier than Detroit.

Forget about experience and the fact that the Wings were the NHL's top team on Feb. 20; there is ample evidence to guarantee that the Predators will finally beat their nemesis.

Exhibit A: The Wings limped to the finish line while Nashville “loaded up” at the trade deadline, which should translate into a scenario in which the Predators advance and Detroit is done.

Playoff hockey is hard to predict, and while Nashville is a solid team and a legitimate contender, the Wings remind me of wounded animal.

You're not sure if they're near the end or if they're playing possum, ready to pounce and destroy any obstacle on their path to the cup.

For years pundits have been trying to become the first to correctly predict the demise of Detroit. Being too old, too soft, too small, not physical enough and suspect goaltending have always been among the chief reasons that the Wings were on the verge of tumbling from the NHL's elites.

We've heard them all before, but somehow Detroit has maintained its status as the NHL's premiere team.

Eventually the Wings will take a step back and a team such as Nashville will pass them by, but to completely write off Detroit is wishful thinking.

The Wings are a balanced team. They are talented throughout their roster, but just as important is that their mental toughness is unrivaled.

While they might come off as boring and robotic, the Wings are all about winning. They are committed to one another and they're never too high or too low regardless of the situation.

It's a quality that is easily ignored because it's not tangible. Ignoring all things Red Wings seems to be en vouge in today's NHL.

That's why I choose to give the Wings the benefit of the doubt. The Predators are a formidable foe, but if Detroit wins one of the first two games in Nashville, the Wings will easily win the series.

And if they can't get it done on the road? Well, then maybe I'm related to one of the musicians on the Titanic, because I'm going down with the ship.

Until they're eliminated, the band shall continue to play on.