We’re fortunate to live in a hockey-crazed state.
People grow up on the sport – on ponds and lakes and rinks.
Hockey fans here boast some of the best travel teams in the country. We brag about the USNTDP program that attracts the best under 18 talent in the nation. We embrace historically strong college programs. We appreciate the consistency of the Grand Rapids Giffins and we cherish the original six legacy that is the Detroit Red Wings.
HOCKEY FANS CHERISH THE RED WINGS
We don’t make excuses when our teams struggle and most of us understand the current rebuild the Wings are experiencing. For the most part, it has been a painful watch the last four years and, considering the tradition and expectations, it has been a frustrating last seven hockey seasons.
But let’s make one thing very clear: The Red Wings DIDN’T tank.
After 25 straight years of qualifying for post season play, the Wings have failed to reach the tournament by limping to below five hundred seasons each year since 2016-17.
They had to transition.
They had to regroup and rebuild.
Friday night, the Wings were kicked in the solar plexes when the “lottery” rewarded a team that made this years playoffs (maybe a team that earned 35 points more than Detroit) with the top choice and the chance at drafting a franchise player in Alexis Lafreniere.
The Wings had just 17 wins and 39 points on the year -that’s eight wins and 23 points fewer than the next worst team – yet they will select fourth.
I don’t mind the lottery system because teams have been strongly accused of tanking in the past, but how does the NHL reward a team making the playoffs while punishing a team trying to rebuild the right way?
TSN analyst Brian Burke said Friday the league looks “Mickey Mouse.”
NHL MAKES LOTTERY MISTAKE
The only teams that should be getting that chance at the top choice were the seven who failed to qualify (Buffalo, New Jersey, Anaheim, Los Angeles, San Jose, Ottawa and Detroit). It may not have changed the Red Wings fate, but it would have made the NHL look more respectable.
Hockey is great and the players are great to deal with, but the league makes so many mistakes that it convinces many it is a second-rate league.
The latest lottery fiasco is another example.
Steve Yzerman photo: clickondetroit.com
Pond hockey photo: detroitnews.com
Red Wings photo https://puckprose.com/2019/12/11/detroit-red-wings-historically-bad-season/.