Odds are the Detroit Red Wings are going to take the Western Conference finals series over the Chicago Blackhawks whether its tonight or Saturday night. Meaning that for the 5th time in 12 years the Wings are going to make a trip to the big dance.
On the previous four trips the Wings have won the Stanley Cup, but those of you who read my blog a couple days ago know that this time around I think things are going to be a bit different.
That being said there is something that Detroit has that has them consistently competing for Lord Stanleys mug. Since 2000-2001 the Red Wings have finished 1st in the Western Conference five times and 2nd three times.
Yes they’ve had their fair share of superstars over the years in Steve Yzerman, Pavel Datsyuk, Brett Hull, Henrik Zetterberg, Niklas Lidstrom and Sergei Fedorov just to name a few.
But there has been a piece of the puzzle beyond the superstars that I believe has given the Wings an extra push for the past two seasons and especially in this years playoffs: the unsung heroes.
In their last meeting with the Blackhawks the Red Wings were missing arguably their two best players in Pavel Datsyuk and Niklas Lidstrom, but the team still managed to demolish Chicago 6-1.
Marian Hossa and Henrik Zetterbeg each had a pair of goals but Valtteri Filppula chipped in with a goal and two assists, Niklas Kronwall had two assists, and in the absence of Lidstrom, Brad Stuart logged nearly 27 minutes of ice on the back end. These guys helped carry Detroit in a pivotal game four.
It was only last season when people asked the question “who is Johan Franzen?” when he notched 13 goals and 18 points helping Detroit to the Stanley Cup. In that same season Dan Clearly scored 20 goals, making a name for himself as a skilled grinder.
In 2006/2007 NHL goaltenders were introduced to Tomas Holmstrom’s rear end as he tallied 30 goals and is now famous for his work in front of the opposing teams net.
For years Kris Draper and Kirk Maltby were praised by fans and made a living in Detroit by killing penalties. Kris took that living internationally when he earned himself a spot on the 2006 Canadian Olympic team.
Finally, the guy who I truly thought would be Detroit’s Achilles heal in this years playoffs, Chris Osgood has been nothing short of stellar in this post season. Posting a 2.17 GAA and a .921 save percentage at times Osgood has been Sogood.
Although I think they are going to fall to the Penguins come the finals, over the last 10 plus years the Detroit Red Wings have made a case for why they should be considered a modern day dynasty and they couldn’t of done it without the play of many unsung heroes.
And Larry Murphy of course.