Wednesday, May 23, 2007

The Red Wings might be down, but they are far from out

The Red Wings season is over, and I'm not all that upset. Once you get past the disappointment of a tough loss, you have to admit that the Red Wings had a very good season.

The Red Wings exceeded my expectations all season. If you had told me in October that the 2006-07 Red Wings would end up winning their division, earn the 2nd highest points total in the league, have the number 1 playoff seed, and advance through 2 playoff rounds despite several injuries to vital players, I would have been damn happy with that result.

Losing in the conference finals to a very good Ducks team is nothing to be ashamed of.

If this was the pre lockout era, I think I'd be more torn up about the loss. When your team has one of the highest, if not the highest, payroll, your expectations are that much higher. But in the Gary Bettman-ized NHL, where teams all have the same salary restrictions, we should get used to seeing different teams in the Stanley Cup finals most every season.

In the “New and improved” NHL, it only takes a playoff berth and a hot goalie to make a long playoff run.

A cup finals appearance is not a Red Wings fans unalienable right. They should no longer be considered the Yankees of the NHL. I always thought the “Red Wings = Yankees” comparison was a mistaken assumption made by jealous small market hockey fans. Detroit just used their available funds much better than most teams. And for the most part, they still do. The Red Wings of the past 15 or so years have been a smartly run team.

The Red Wings brain trust is why I have the utmost confidence that in the future, early playoff KO's that were the bane of a Red Wings fan existence, are going to be the exception, rather than the rule.

I'm not saying that the Red Wings will be in the cup finals every other year. That's being delusional. But they will be a threat to go that far every season. The team is too well run to think otherwise.

Next season, the road to the Stanley Cup will still run through Detroit.


  1. the shanny and stevie y era ends and you still make the conference finals. success is an understatement.

  2. All in all, it was a very good season, especially considering they were down 2 top defensemen at the end. (If not for the injuries, I doubt Lilja would have had the chance to commit that ghastly turnover in Game 5.) But still... when you get to the conference finals, and the series turns on a lazy penalty in the final minute of regulation and the Lilja gaffe... it's hard to be disappointed that the Wings fell short.

    Looking into the future: they have just about completed the rebuilding process without ever falling out of contention. The biggest unknown: who replaces Hasek and when? And can the Wings find the next Cam Ward/Ray Emery/Roberto Luongo? Teams have flourished in the postseason with young goalies; if the Wings pick the right guy, they can continue to go deep in the playoffs.