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Detroit Red Wings: 5 Preseason Questions

The NHL season is just around the corner and all the teams have opened their training camps to get ready. The Red Wings, like all teams, have a few questions that need to be answered before the season begins and so I am dedicating this addition to answering those questions with a few preseason Red Wings predictions.

1. Can Nick Lidstrom still compete at the age of 41?
Of course he can. Lidstrom can easily be called the best defenceman of the past generation and though he is getting older, he has shown the past few years that he is still one of the best. He won the Norris Trophy as best defenceman last year, scoring 16 goals and 62 points. Those are some pretty good numbers and proof Lidstrom can still play at this level.

2. Can Jimmy Howard break out as a starter?
I think he can. This is the biggest opportunity Howard has gotten yet now that Chris Osgood has retired from being his backup. He has played 63 games the last two and provided some decent numbers with 37 wins last year. But I think this year he will have to be even better. Though Detroit's defence still isn't thin, it is getting younger which could lead to more shots against. I believe Jimmy can adapt and have a great year.

3. Will the retirements of Kris Draper, Brian Rafalski and Chris Osgood hurt the team?
On most teams the answer could be yes, but with Detroit, these retirements won't hurt the team at all. That is simply because the people haven't left, they are simply no longer playing. Draper has been brought in to be a conditioning coach, which is basically the role he has played the last couple seasons. Osgood will be an assistant goaltender coach and will continue to provide guidance to young Jimmy Howard without the pressures of competing for the starting role. Though Rafalski doesn't have an official position, he still lives in the area and will certainly remain in communication with the players.

4. Are the Red Wings deep enough on forward?
I don't think so. Players like Valtteri Filppula and Jiri Hudler have had disappointing offensive seasons recently and need to step up. Older players like Tomas Holmstrom, Todd Bertuzzi and Dan Cleary are not scoring like they once did and the Wings need to make sure they have guys ti come up if the older players get injured. Young players like Tomas Tatar and Jan Mursak are ready to play but they are unproven talent that could either find success of failure in the big league.

5. Does the team still have drive to win?
Absolutely. Once a team wins a championship they always want to win again. Luckily for Red Wings fans, they won recently in 2008 and have been able to hold onto most of their roster since then. Which is why the question came up. Most of these players have won, but they want to win again. Winning the Stanley Cup is their whole life goal, so winning it as many times as they can is certainly important to the players. That motivation keeps them coming to the rink every day and provides fans with the exciting entertainment that is Red Wings hockey.

Josh Beneteau can be found on Twitter at @jbenny15.

Thanks for reading.

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