In the last two decades of the NHL, there has been no team more successful than the Detroit Red Wings. The Wings have turned a city predicated on football and basketball into Hockeytown. With 6 Stanley Cup Finals appearances and numerous runs deep into the NHL postseason, spring just isn't the same in the "D" without hockey. So, as the winged wheelers teeter close to missing out on the playoffs for the first time in 19 years, I am comforted by the fact that even if Detroit doesn't make the playoffs, their presence will still be felt.
Why? You ask. Two Words.
The Blackhawks have turned into the modern day Red Wings. They have turned Detroit hockey trademarks into their very own.
Chicago ranks second in scoring, a mark that the high-powered Wings of yesteryear would set comfortably. The teams with the likes of Brett hull, Steve Yzerman, the Russian 5, Pavel Datsyuk, and Marian Hossa would consistently be among the league leaders in scoring. Something that with the help of Johnathan Toews, Patrick Kane, and Marian Hossa, the Blackhawks are beginning to master.
O.K., so they can score, big whoop. Detroit always were among the tops with defense. Guess what? Ditto, for Chicago, they actually lead the league in goals against average. A solid nucleus of defensemen and a top-flight goalie keep pucks out of the net, while a trapping style of defense echoes back to the left-wing lock that Scotty Bowman made essential during the early to mid 90's.
Not only do the stats between the two teams match up, but also the players on each respective bench.
Try and guess who the player is by the description.
A young, humble captain who is the unquestioned leader of a Western Conference power. Can score in bunches, has true grit and determination. Wears number 19.
If you guessed Toews you would be right. But, if you thought it could have been a young Yzerman.....I'm just saying.
So, as Detroit's playoff hopes are diminishing , they can at least take solace in the fact that their little brother has moved to the head of the table.
Go Chicago Red Hawks.