The Winged Wheel Is Starting To Roll

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The Winged Wheel Is Starting To Roll
Justin K. Aller/Getty Images

 

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My first memory of hockey is of the 1997 Stanley Cup and from that day on I was hooked. I fell in love with the team and with the sport as a whole in that moment, so imagine my delight when the following year we were back in the finals and won again. In my eight year old mind the Wings were unbeatable the best team in the world so it was only natural when the boys in red made the playoffs once again. The wings swept Anaheim and took the first two games against the Avs, it was going just how it was supposed to and then the Wings lost.

I think that was the first time in my young life that I realized that sometimes your team doesn’t get the photo finish. I remember looking to my dad, who had all the answers, and asking him what happened. He said to me "Drew, sometimes you just don't make it", and I learned and waited for the next season.

Fast forward ten years later, my dad and I are in Detroit ready to watch game seven of the Stanley Cup Finals and hopefully another cup win. The Wings skated out and we watched the first couple of minutes of the game and my father and I looked at each other. My sisters were with us so we were quiet but we said silently to each other "It's over". Sure enough the Wings just were too tired and too injured to compete and the cup went to the Pens.

Now here we are for the new season and the Wings are performing like I have never seen, they keep on losing. I know I have been lucky to never see a season like this and that there are many sports fans that would kill for their team to have a run like the Wings have had. I know that all good things must come to an end and I know that the Wings can’t keep making playoff runs, but I think everyone is going to need to wait for another season for the Wings to take a long summer break.

Let’s review; the Red Wings have been plagued with bad injuries from key players and frankly some un-inspiring play from the guys who are still on the ice, just look at Pavel Datsyuk. At 51 points Pavs just hasn't been wowing like he did in the past two seasons with his 97 points a season, over all he seems mortal. It's not just him though it’s the team as a whole sloppy passes, lackluster play in the neutral zone and an inability to win shootouts have also contributed to a team wide slump in the standings. It seems like the mantra has been let’s get to the Olympics let the team heal and see what happens.

Well we are post Olympics and if yesterday is any indication the Wings are back in action. Everything seems to be firing on all cylinders Lidstrom netted a game winning goal Datsyuk played like his old self with two assists. Oh and in case I forgot to mention this wasn’t against some scrub team this was against Colorado a team that has been in playoff position consistently for quite a while. So what’s coming down the line then, this win was great but what can we expect from the next 20 games?

Of those 20 games twelve are home games where the Wings are 16-8-5; in addition to that most of teams that are being played are not in the running for the playoffs. All in all I think that this is a recipe for success, the guys are playing better, the team is fully healed and the schedule should be winnable. If the Wings play the kind of hockey for the rest of the season that they played last night we will make the playoffs and as anyone can tell you playoff hockey is a whole new animal where anything can happen.

For me this is not a sentimental decision, although I am sentimental about the team. Just like a year ago when I saw the Wings as tired and beaten in the finals I see them now as a determined group. Again I know that someday the streak will have to end, but I am a realist and I think that the facts support a playoff appearance. Besides, this would be 19 straight seasons its Yzerman's season.

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