The Detroit Red Wings hardly make opponents tremble in fear these days, at least when it comes to dropping the gloves. While toughness isn't just measured by one's ability to engage in the fisticuffs, it's often the yardstick used to measure a team's fortitude. Detroit has come a long way from the days of the "Dead Things." Hockeytown has replaced the "Bruise Brothers" with the "Euro-twins." Doesn't quite sound as intimidating, but most of us will take the wins over the brawls.
The skill level has obviously improved, the trophy case has gotten a little fuller and there are a dozen or so more banners hanging in the Joe Louis Arena. Over the course of the last three decades, the Red Wings have filled the roster with more talent than brawn.
While there have been the notable exceptions that can bring both talent and grit to the ice, this year's Red Wings were glaringly soft. While none of the players on my list are available via free agency this summer, the Red Wings would be well served to revisit their past a little bit.
Toughness and heart usually go hand in hand. It's certainly not a coincidence that the Red Wings were able to get to the Stanley Cup after finally standing up to the school yard bully in Colorado. Once Detroit punched them in the mouth (literally), they realized they were good enough, strong enough, and gosh darn it, people liked them.