Detroit Red Wings: Class Coming Out Their Ass

Justin O'NeillCorrespondent IJune 24, 2009

DETROIT - JUNE 12:  Nicklas Lidstrom #5 of the Detroit Red Wings waits to shake hands with captain Sidney Crosby #87 of the Pittsburgh Penguins after Game Seven of the 2009 NHL Stanley Cup Finals at Joe Louis Arena on June 12, 2009 in Detroit, Michigan. The Penguins defeated the Red Wings 2-1 in the seventh game to win the Stanley Cup Finals series 4 games to 3. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The Detroit Red Wings are the classiest team in the NHL. Just ask them. They are so overflowing with class, in fact, that they have some to spare. And they want to share it with the Pittsburgh Penguins! How classy of them!

When Sidney Crosby and his fellow Stanley Cup Champions were busy committing the unimaginable act of celebrating their first Stanley Cup win since 1992, the veteran Red Wings were quick to point out just how un-classy the Penguins were behaving.

As Kris Draper pointed out, “Nick (Lidstrom) was waiting and waiting and (Sidney) Crosby didn’t come over to shake his hand. That’s ridiculous, especially as their captain, and make sure you write that I said that.”

Now, as we all understand, Draper is a four time Cup winner, so he knows all about the ins and outs of proper celebration etiquette. He was probably just recalling back to last year’s victory when the Red Wings shook the hands of their vanquished opponents before they even dared to touch Lord Stanley’s Mug. If we took a stop-watch to each team’s celebration, we would surely see that the Detroit players respected their opponent so much that they hurried over to the hand-shake line before starting their celebration. If only I had a stop watch.

What’s this? A STOP-WATCH! How convenient. Now, so as to not be unreasonable, we’ll give them some time to enjoy their victory before they grace the loser Penguins at centre ice with their collective winning presence. Ready? Set? CELEBRATE!

From the final whistle to the first handshake, the ever considerate Red Wings celebrated for a mere two minutes and 10 seconds.

Now, let’s see how long the rude and provincial Penguins celebrated for. Judging by Draper’s comments, I could probably use a sundial to measure this celebration, but for accuracy’s sake, I’ll stick with the stop-watch.

Hmmm. I must have blacked out during at least 75% of their celebration, because by my measurements, the Penguins celebrated for two minutes and 15 seconds, a mere five seconds longer than Detroit did a year earlier.

Well, either way, those were the five unclassiest seconds in the history of time.

As Henrik Zetterberg points out, it’s important for the captain to lead his team into the handshakes, as a symbolic gesture of respect. "I think that's one thing you should do. I don't know why he didn't do it, it's disrespectful."

Absolutely. This is why 21-year-olds lack the leadership to be a captain in this league. They certainly don’t follow the example of veteran captains like Lidstrom.

Let’s rewind to last year’s handshakes. Of course he will be the first Red Wing to congratulate the Penguins on their being the most recent team to fall to Detroit in the finals; what a privilege!

Uh oh. It seems my argument about how classy the Red Wings are is falling apart. Lidstrom did not lead the Wings into the handshake following their Cup-clinching victory in 2008.

Certainly Pavel Datsuyk, the reigning four time Lady Byng winner - the trophy awarded to none other than the classiest player in the league - has some tips on how the Penguins could be better winners next time: no comment. It's strange for a player as gentlemanly as Datsuyk to not admonish the Penguins on their faux pas.

What about the snubbed Lidstrom? He can help Crosby out with some correcting words, no doubt!

“Sidney was probably caught up in the emotions and everything," said Lidstrom. He also speculated that Crosby would learn from his mistake. Not nearly stern enough for such a slight as the one Crosby granted him after this year’s game seven.

It seems that, after all these etiquette lessons, the Penguins WERE following in the Red Wings’ ultra-classy footsteps, rather than being the snot-nosed poor sports that Draper and Zetterberg accused them of being.

The Red Wings have shown that they know all about being classy winners, but maybe it's time they learn something about being gracious losers.