We now return you to your regularly scheduled Detroit Red Wings programming.

The salad days, after a one-year hiatus, are back.

This is what we’re used to in Hockeytown, and missed so badly last season.

The Red Wings are making mincemeat of the rest of the NHL in the regular season, sealing up a playoff spot by Thanksgiving.

It’s a return to the days of being on pace for 110-plus points, 50-plus wins, and putting on the cloak of being “the team to beat,” that arcane phrase.

All that talk of the Red Wings being well-rested after their second-round playoff exit last spring is being backed up with on-ice actions.

They lost center Mike Modano for several months with a nasty wrist injury, but don’t think that will slow them down. The Red Wings are deeper than the salt mines that run beneath the city.

This is a team with a purpose, on a mission. They were cranky coming into training camp, but channeled that angst into positive energy. This is a group of players that isn’t used to putting the skates away until mid-June.

Last season’s playoff run ended for the Red Wings on the garishly early date of May 8. Imagine the racing folks putting on the 10 Hours of Daytona, or the Indianapolis 200. The Masters shutting down after 36 holes.

The Red Wings said the rest would do them well, and they weren’t kidding; they weren’t just floating gratuitous quotes out there for our consumption.

The Red Wings invaded the HP Pavilion in San Jose Tuesday night, the scene of their inglorious playoff elimination last May.

This isn’t last May.

The Red Wings skated around, through, and past the Sharks, swatting them away 5-3 and lengthening their lead in the Western Conference standings.

The Sharks only have themselves to blame; they were the ones responsible for giving a giant a good summer’s sleep.

Now the Red Wings are awake and as fresh as a daisy, thanks to the Sharks.

The rest of the NHL has my permission to flood the Sharks’ mailbox with angry cards and letters.

We might have seen this coming. The Red Wings finished last year’s regular season on a 13-1-2 tear, before struggling past the Phoenix Coyotes in the first round and being bumped out in the second round by the Sharks in five games.

This year’s squad sits at 16-4-2, making them 29-5-4 in their last 38 regular season contests.

This is more like what we’re used to in Detroit when it comes to hockey season.

The Red Wings have 60 games left to tune up for the playoffs.

See ya next June.

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