Red Wings-Penguins: Despite Disappointment, Detroit Will Not Disappear

Benjita The SaneContributor IJune 15, 2009

DETROIT - JUNE 12: Marc-Andre Fleury #29 of the Pittsburgh Penguins shakes hands with Pavel Datsyuk #13 of the Detroit Red Wings after Game Seven of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Joe Louis Arena on June 12, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

First off, congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins.  It was a hard-fought series and you played hockey the way it was meant to be played. 

However, the Wings will be back.  They have proven time and again that they will never ride off into the sunset. 

The Wings have been in the playoffs since 1991, 18 straight seasons (19 years), winning the President's Trophy six times in that span.  They've won four Stanley Cups in 12 years. 

Twelve years ago, it seemed like the Red Wings would never win the Cup, after they won two straight President's Trophies but did not win the ultimate prize.

In 2002, they were "too old."  Future Hall of Famers such as Yzerman, Hull and Shanahan were all (supposedly) nearing the end of their respective careers, but won the Stanley Cup anyway. 

Many critics believed that the Red Wings dynasty would end after that.  Henrik Zetterberg entered the league the following year and joined sophomore sensation Pavel Datsyuk.  Over the next few years, we consistently picked up young players that fit our system. 

Many critics are saying that this was the last chance for the Red Wings, but Wings fans know better.  When Stevie Y left us, Lidstrom was a veteran of nearly 15 years.  While Yzerman was a youngster when he was named Captain, that was when the Red Wings were still an average to bad team. 

Now with the teams we've seen, we need veteran leadership to guide young players to succeed the veterans in the years to come.  We have that in Lidstrom, Chelios, and Holmstrom.

They're nearing the end of their career, but the Wings will survive and thrive because of their influence.  The next captain will be Datsyuk or Zetterberg, probably Pavel.  They're not young like Crosby, but their leadership will keep the Red Wings in the playoffs for years to come.

And when they retire, I hope they taught their successor the way Yzerman and Lidstrom taught them.  It's a system that has served us for 20 years and will serve us for years to come.

Don't count the Red Wings out next year and don't say they're too old.  Congratulations to the Pittsburgh Penguins, you really took it to us.  I think the Wings weren't playing to their potential, and you made them pay for their mistakes. 

I don't think you will need to worry about losing this franchise, and I think you'll be back many times in the years to come.  We'll be waiting.