By Dan Groob, TiqIQ
The Detroit Red Wings define “perennial contender” better than perhaps any franchise in the history of the NHL. Led by the best coach in hockey, Mike Babcock, the Wings extended their streak of consecutive playoff appearances to 21 in a row last season.
This year, things figure to be a little different in Hockeytown. The retirement of longtime Wings captain Nicklas Lidstrom has left a significant void on the blue line. A multiple Norris Trophy winner as the league’s best defenseman, Lidstrom had quarterbacked the Wings’ top-notch power play for years. Now, that duty now falls upon another Swedish defenseman, Niklas Kronwall. While he will not be mistaken for Lidstrom anytime soon (or ever), Kronwall has done a sufficient enough impersonation that most pundits believe the Wings should slide into the playoffs yet again this season. Having a healthy Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg for Kronwall to feed certainly aids the cause.
Fans in Detroit are as excited for Red Wings hockey as ever this year, as 2013 Detroit Red Wings tickets at home are averaging $97, which is actually up from last year’s average price of $90, according to TiqIQ. Naturally, some of the biggest draws carry a significant premium to Detroit’s average. For instance the two most expensive Wings home games this year are both against the Original Six rival Chicago Blackhawks.
The Blackhawks enter Joe Louis Arena on March 3rd and March 31st. These games currently carry average prices of $156 and $159 respectively. Just to get into The Joe for either of these games will cost fans no less than $55 bucks. With the Blackhawks off to a 6-0 start and playing some tremendous hockey, the Red Wings should consider themselves lucky to leave Chicago this past Sunday with a point for an overtime loss. A few wins against the ‘Hawks at home for the Wings could go a long way towards deciding the Central Division.
After the two Blackhawks games, there is a steep drop off to the third most expensive Wings home game of the year which is the February 23rd divisional tilt against Nashville. This game is a rematch of last season’s first round playoff matchup, which Nashville took 4 games to 1. Currently, it will cost fans about $129 dollars for an average seat to this game, and $40 just to get in the door. Much like the Blackhawks games, the division is potentially on the line in any game against Nashville as well.
Rounding out the top five most expensive Wings game of the year will be the April 7th matchup against the defensive-minded St. Louis Blues, and the February 9th tilt against young and exciting Edmonton. These games are priced very similarly, with the average seat at either of these games setting back fans about $120 bucks. The Blues game represents yet another divisional matchup that has fans on the edge of their seat and paying up to enter the Joe. In what figures to be an extremely tight four team race for the Central Division, the huge home ice advantage provided by The Joe could continue to be a major difference for the Red Wings as the four-way battle with Chicago, Nashville, and St. Louis could very well come down to the final few games of the season.