Blog Entry

Veteran Red Wings close to another round

Posted on: April 19, 2011 1:35 am
Edited on: April 19, 2011 1:43 am

Twenty consecutive seasons in the playoffs is amazing enough. Factor in that the Detroit Red Wings have advanced past the first round in all but six occasions during that stretch is arguably even more impressive. 

The first year they advanced during this long stretch (1992), the Wings had this rookie named Nicklas Lidstrom on defense. He was on the ice for 18 minutes, three seconds for Monday’s 4-2 victory over the Phoenix Coyotes in Game 3 of the first-round series as Detroit moved closer to a sweep. 

Was this the same team that dropped five of seven to finish off the regular season? In Hockey Town where Tomas Holmstrom is virtually immovable in front of the opponent’s net, Pavel Datsyuk remains one of the best two-way forwards in hockey and Lidstrom provides stability on the blue line, this kind of postseason surge shouldn’t be a surprise anymore. 

But the early part of the Wings’ playoff streak wasn’t always pretty. The Red Wings were knocked off in the first round in three of the first seasons of their current run, including in 1994. The Red Wings won the Western Conference -- the first season since the switch from the Wales and Campbell conference alignment -- only to lose to the San Jose Sharks in the expansion team’s third season of existence in seven games.


The Red Wings broke through with their first Stanley Cup of this streak in 1997 and added Cups in 1998, 2002 and 2008. They’re the last club to repeat as champs, and, with the Chicago Blackhawks down 3-0 to the Vancouver Canucks, that feat will likely remain intact for at least another year. 

Ken Holland has been the team’s GM for the last three titles and Ilitch family has provided a stable ownership for nearly three decades now. It’s the kind of stability that is rare these days and stands in stark contrast to the team they faced in the first round of the postseason for two seasons: the Phoenix Coyotes. A Red Wings victory in Game 4 on Wednesday could be the last in Glendale, Ariz, for the rudderless club as a move back to Canada appears could be on the horizon.

Along with Lidstrom, Chris Osgood (out for the season after hernia surgery) and Kris Draper are among the other Wings veterans from those Cup-winning years. Detroit News columnist Bob Wojnowski writes that they are pretty far into their careers, but may not quite be done:
Some might call the Wings old. It's probably wiser to call them wise, not that they really mind the labels. The Wings are big on creating attachments, composed veterans mentoring youngsters, and it's why people wait their turn. It's also why few players ever want to leave, and why Draper, 39, and Osgood, 38, would love to stay.

I think there's great value in good teammates like this, measured in places you can't see. Both of their contracts are up, and no one is looking that far ahead yet, not when there's so much to see right now.

"When I'm on the ice in practice, I got a smile on my face, and I try to be one of the last guys out there," Draper said. "I feel great. I'm loving what I'm doing, and I just want to keep doing it as long as I can."

-- A.J. Perez

Photo: Getty Images
Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 16, 2011 5:40 pm
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Since: Apr 22, 2008
Posted on: April 20, 2011 1:07 pm

Veteran Red Wings close to another round

I completely agree with why the fan base fell off in Chicago.
You are exactly right. Ownership did everything they could to kill hockey in Chicago.
Chicago used to have a huge hockey following back in the day, then the dark years came.
No hockey on TV. Trading away talent for junk. Poor moves and so on.
That doesn't change the fact that Chicago fans jumped on the Bandwagon.
The united center was empty all those years. Then they Win the cup and the celebration parade was so ridiculous I almost had to abandond going to work that day because I couldn't get to my office. Everyone loves a party but it was way over the top.
Friends of mine that couldn't name a player on the blackhawks were acting like they were life long fans.
I spent so many years at Chicago / Detroit games at the United Center and I could get center ice seats after paying for nose bleeds.
The Untied Center was full of more Detroit fans then blackhawk fans.

I truely hate Chicago sports fans. When I moved here 10 years ago I thought how great it was going to be to go to Chicago Detroit sports games and enjoy the rivalry from the other City. Wow was I wrong. The fans are just flat out ridiculous in Chicago. If things are not going their teams way they resort to starting fights or throwing things at opposing fans. It is pretty similar to your post. You don't like what I was saying about your sports team so you want to throw down and fight. You call me 8 years old but you are the one that actually wants to fight because I don't 'like your hockey team. Do you know how ridiculous that is? Do you think you sound tough with your comments? You sound like a child.

Since: Apr 19, 2011
Posted on: April 19, 2011 4:34 pm

Veteran Red Wings close to another round

AES - Like other Wings fans posting below, nothing boils my blood faster than losing to the Hawks but I respect the game, the rivalry, and an original six brother more than anything people like DTCHI will post.  He posts simply to get people fired up and respond in anger because he knows there's no way you're ever going to see each other face to face where he would never dare make those comments.  My guess is that he spends the vast majority of his time sitting at home alone posting on whatever will get a response.  Quite sad actually.  The best way to get them to stop is to simply not dignify it with a response.  It's unfortunate that Chicago is on the ropes as I was hoping for a playoff matchup with the dreaded Blackhawks.  Like the Habs and B's, who I was surprised to hear have played each other more than any other two teams in the playoffs, Wings - Hawks is a phenomenal tradition between two great rivals.  I live in Colorado and you wouldn't believe how the fans got on the bandwagon in '96.  The Colorado rivalry is over and will probably never return.  Wings-Hawks, however, will ALWAYS be there.  Way too much history to think that rivalry will end.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: April 19, 2011 3:08 pm

Veteran Red Wings close to another round

DTCHI - let me explain a few things to you. First, every other Wings fan had been very classy with their comments until you showed up. But since you did show up, I will deal with you. Yes, attendance had fallen off for a few years. That's going to happen when every good player you have is traded away for garbage or leaves on his own account after the owner lowballs him. It's going to happen when home games are not put on television for us to watch. It's going to happen when ownership literally does not care about anything but a profit. The same thing happened in Boston with the Bruins and Jeremy Jacobs. If you knew what you're talking about (and you don't), you would know that attendance spiked in the 2007 - 2008 season, not in 2010. And what happened in 2008, other than the Hawks missing the playoffs (there goes your bandwagon theory)? Rocky Wirtz took over. Pat Foley was hired back to work the booth like only he can. Games were televised. Yes, they won some new fans. It happens. They also won back some old ones. You can go ahead and say what you want to say, but at least base it on something factual. And come stronger than "Suckhawks" in the future. Are you eight years old or do you just have the mind of a silly child? Your post states that you live in Chicago. So do I, kid. I'll gladly give you my address and you come see me. We can figure this out without using a computer. You need your ass whipped and I offer my services. Now what do you have to say to that? See what your mouth got you into now?

Since: Apr 22, 2008
Posted on: April 19, 2011 2:43 pm

Veteran Red Wings close to another round

I hate the suckhawks and it is not born out of respect.
It is simply because three years ago no a soul would show up to suckhawk games but when they won last year the entire Ciy somehow had suckhawk gear on. What a joke.

Since: Sep 25, 2008
Posted on: April 19, 2011 2:26 pm

Veteran Red Wings close to another round

As much as I hate them, it's a hatred born out of respect.

Thanks for that, AES. To me, a compliment like that is worth far more than the support of a thousand fairweather fans.

Since: Sep 6, 2007
Posted on: April 19, 2011 2:20 pm

Veteran Red Wings close to another round

I like when the Blackhawks are good too, it's great for a good geographical rivalry.  The Detroit - Coloradao rivalry was great, but since they faded to irrelevance there hasn't been much of a rivalry for the Red Wings.  If the Wings played the Eastern conference more I could see Pittsburgh and Philadelphia and Boston becoming more heated. 

Since: Nov 27, 2006
Posted on: April 19, 2011 2:01 pm

Veteran Red Wings close to another round

Very well said AES, and here's hoping the Hawks can turn the corner in their series against the Canucks and take 4 in a row.  There is no better playoff atmosphere than when the Wings and Hawks play each other, both in Detroit and in Chicago.

Since: Sep 5, 2006
Posted on: April 19, 2011 1:36 pm

Veteran Red Wings close to another round

Hockeytown USA, baby. And I'm a Hawks fan so you have no idea how much I hate that team and that stupid moniker for Detroit, but facts are facts. Detroit is the model now in the NHL. The standard is still Montreal, but Detroit is the model you want to follow if winning year after year after year is something you care about. As much as I hate them, it's a hatred born out of respect.

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