I know I’m taking advantage of an a-ha! type moment which I usually hate when fans do but I couldn’t help myself after all the denigration the Wings got this past season for a year in which they weren’t the best in the league.
Yes, I too would’ve loved for them to get a sniper or signed Ryan Suter and/or Zach Parise in the offseason. I would’ve loved for them to of gone out and get a top blue liner to replace the seemingly irreplaceable Nicklas Lidstrom who retired over the summer. I also would’ve loved Jimmy Howard to go out and shut out every single team he played against like a lot of fans for some reason have come to expect but fail to acknowledge him as an elite goaltender. I would also without a doubt love for the Wings to go out, beat the Hawks in the second round en route to a Stanley Cup Championship as their swan song in the Western Conference.
But lets take things one step at a time and look at some of those awkward Red Wing moments… just for the haters and detractors out there.
- Yeah it was before the playoffs began, but how about that awkward moment when the Minnesota Wild – the team that snatched Parise and Sutter from the Wings – finished 8th in the West behind those same Detroit Red Wings…
- Sticking with Parise and Suter, how about that awkward moment when that Minnesota team was eliminated from the playoffs before the Wings. Not to mention Parise and Suter combined for 1 point between the two of them and a negative 10 plus/minus rating.
- Ken Holland holding the cards close to his chest… keeping the young guys who have really stepped up in the playoffs thus far.
- The St. Louis Blues being eliminated by the Los Angeles Kings… another Central Division team that was better than that boring, pathetic Wings team during the regular season.
- How about that awkward moment with this Nicklas Lidstromless team moving onto the second round of the playoffs after last year’s team was ousted in the first round by a probably less talented Nashville Predators squad… in five games too!
- That awkward moment when Justin Abdelkader, a guy who many snooty Red Wings fans said didn’t belong on the same line with Datsyuk scores two goals in the first round all of which coming while sitting out two games because of a suspension. Not to mention that second goal coming shorthanded in Game 7 which very well may have taken most of the fight out of the Ducks on their home ice.
- Holding Corey Perry to ZERO goals in the playoffs… that has to say something for the defense right?
- How about Red Wings fans pretty much taking over the Honda Center? Pretty sweet…
- Ahhhh Jimmy Howard! Look I think the Ducks were the better team heading into this series. They had fewer questions marks and in many ways still probably played better than the Wings in the first round. That brings me to Jimmy Howard who many still want to lambast and say he’s average or just not good at all. Face it Howard Haters, Jimmy in some ways (not all but some) stole this series. He outplayed Jonas Hiller and you can make a sound argument that he’s the MVP of the round. He also further proved why he’s going to be worth every penny of the contract extension he signed prior to the start of the playoffs. Jimmy will be the stopper and last line of defense for a young blue line that will continue to grow together.
- How about Mike Babcock? Another guy that was just getting shelled by fans seemingly for stuff they’ve heard on the radio or material they’ve read on blogs. Like many of the same points made for Jimmy Howard you can make about Babcock. He out coached Bruce Boudreau and further proved why he’s probably the best coach in the NHL… yeah I said it.
Yeah I know I’m showboating a little bit. I also know the Wings have an upcoming series against the Chicago Blackhawks who I think will beat the Wings in the second round. But lets be real here, this Red Wings squad was a team that many fans didn’t give much a chance to and jumped the gun on in many, many ways.