One win short. Just one.
I think there’s only one of you reading this anyway, and as that person (and now you, should you find yourself here now) already knows, I’ve avoided hitting up any message board I usually frequent the last few days to a.) avoid getting pissed off at any ‘fan’ actually rooting for the Penguins/anyone just looking to poke fun at the Wings’ loss, and 2.) avoid seeing anything that would influence what I thought happened in this series. Seeing your favorite team lose a Game 7 in their own damn building hurts quite a bit, and not just something you can forget about straight away. I’ve thought about this for the last few days, and I’m pretty sure my mourning period has passed. So here it is…
The Wings let this series get away from them, it’s as simple as that. There’s no way anyone can tell me that the Penguins were the better team–they aren’t. What I saw in the last two games of the Cup Finals was what I grew familiar with the Pistons from 2005-2008: the Red Wings didn’t play a full game like everyone had grown accustomed to seeing (and no, I don’t think this team was simply gassed). Had the Wings done what they usually do from Game 1 of these finals, this series is over in 5 games tops. But all too often they sat back (something they also did with alarming regularity throughout the regular season and the earlier rounds of the playoffs, as well). Instead of shooting the puck continuously against rebound machine Marc-Andre Fleury (kid is overrated), they tried to wait for the perfect shot and that allowed the Pens to either block the shot or Fleury to get into position. Things didn’t start happening for the Wings until the last period of games 6 & 7, and you could tell the difference. Yeah, I know this sounds exactly like I’m saying the Pens didn’t win it, the Wings lost it–and that’s exactly what I mean it to say. There’s no way that team is better than the Red Wings.
As for Brad Stuart, yes, he had a horrible Game 7–but up to that point in the playoffs he’d been absolutely stellar for the Wings, and I really can’t find fault with him overall. Marian Hossa, OTOH–maybe he was pressing too much and he drew a shit draw having to face his former team in the Finals, but the bottom line is he was rather pedestrian throughout the playoffs anyhow. I wouldn’t mind seeing him back in a Red Wings uniform again, but while a couple of months ago I’d say the Wings should do whatever they can to make that happen now I think he can come back for the right price. As for Chris Osgood–wow is pretty much all I can say about his playoff performance. I’m one of Ozzie’s biggest fans but what I saw this postseason was above and beyond anything I could’ve hoped for. The guy was the MVP for the Wings in the playoffs this year.
The future? Still bright in Detroit. A lot of young guys stepped up, and the Wings have a great core. Hopefully this loss reminds them that games are 60 minutes and not 20, and I think they got the message. This is going to be one pissed off Red Wings team next season, and I have no doubt in my mind that this team will get what should’ve been theirs this year: a 12th Stanley Cup Trophy.
Okay, other stuff: I’m now living in Chicago, but for the next two weeks will be working 4-5 day stretches at my old employer back in Detroit (I must’ve been either very understanding of the situation or totally lost my mind when I agreed to this). Crazy I know, but it at least allows me to bank some extra $ on the side–and for some reason I felt I owed them that much even if this situation is largely of their doing. I don’t like leaving any place in a lurch.
I absolutely love it here in this town; I’ve always wanted to get a feel for what it’s like to live in a big city with a pulse. But it would be nice to get a little cooperation from Mother Nature–it seems like every day I’ve been here it’s been overcast and/or rainy. It’s a great, great town (even if I am DEFINITELY NOT a fan of their sports teams–Detroiter ’til I die!). There’s so much to do and see here, and even after all this time visiting my brother and sister over the last three years I know I’ve only scratched the surface. This won’t be a long-term move, but it’s definitely a good stepping stone.
Until next time…