With the latest news on Paul MacLean leaving Detroit to take a head coaching job in Ottawa, it seems as if Detroit is being bombarded with constant blows to the team's staff. Another piece is jumping ship just in time from Detroit, or should we say, another piece is jumping ship just in time for Detroit.
In order to make today's story relevant, we have to go back a long time—nine years ago. It's 2002, and the Red Wings have just won the Cup. A lot is changing in Hockeytown, and people on the outside looking in are screaming that the Red Wings' window is closing. Their time in the spotlight is coming to an abrupt end.
To support those claims, the Red Wings' staff, whether it be coaches or players, is changing dramatically. Scotty Bowman announced his retirement, starting goalie Dominik Hasek was quick to follow and star players Steve Yzerman (37) and Brendan Shanahan (33) weren't getting any younger. The following year brought even more changes, with star player Sergei Fedorov departing for Anaheim and Luc Robitaille and veteran Igor Larionov leaving.
Those on the outside looking in were still talking about how the Red Wings' window was closing.
Nobody paid any attention to the kid from Russia who only averaged 13:39 in ice time in '01-02, and nobody cared about the guy drafted 210th overall who was dominating in Sweden.
Flash forward nine years, and things are eerily similar. No, Detroit didn't just win the Stanley Cup. No, a Scotty Bowman-caliber coach isn't leaving, though nobody is in the same league as Bowman anyway. Pavel Datsyuk, the kid who only averaged 13:39 in 2001, will turn 33 this summer, while Henrik Zetterberg, the kid who was dominating Swedish leagues in 2001, will turn 31 next season.
Assistant coaches Paul Maclean and Brad McCrimmon have left, veteran goaltender Chris Osgood's career is coming to a close and the same goes for veteran forward Kris Draper. Brian Rafalski unexpectedly retired. Nicklas Lidstrom may not retire, but he probably won't be around until he's 47 like Chris Chelios. Tomas Holmstrom and Todd Bertuzzi's days are both numbered.
Those on the outside looking in are still talking about how the Red Wings' window is closing.
Nobody's paying attention to the 19-year-old kid tearing up the Finnish league. Nobody's paying attention to the kid that's already being called Henrik Zetterberg's clone. Nobody's paying attention to the Swede who was drafted 210th overall (Hmm...that sounds familiar) who was described as a defenseman with hockey sense that's through the roof.
That all sounds a bit familiar, doesn't it? But nobody's paying attention to Teemu Pulkkinen. Nobody's paying attention to Calle Jarnkrok. And nobody's paying attention to Adam Almqvist.
Yes, the Red Wings are a sinking ship—and the ship is sinking just in time for a new ship to dock in Detroit.