No this isn't me expecting a last game Wednesday.
I have been lucky enough to cheer for a team where every year was a competetive year. I arrived in Vancouver in 94 just after the riots and was very interested in this game called hockey. My cousin was watching the Canucks play the Wings and he was being all gooey about how this Canucks team was just one win away from winning the 'cup'. What 'cup'? The 'Stanley Cup'! The cup that caused the riots, he says. In the Philippines, we last took a stand and marched the streets, peacefully, for our rights. What is this cup that can cause a riot?
The wings won that day and my cousin was angry. I said to myself: 'I'm gonna cheer for those guys'. I don't want a team that caused riots!.
I go to school and I play hockey for the first time. I passed the puck to my goalie and i scored on my own net. My whole team was dejected but they said 'it's ok, we'll score back'. Although I scored another goal on my own net I remembered what it was like to play the game. I watched highlights on tsn and followed the wings religiously. NHL 91 was my very first video game. NHL 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98 all followed.
I put my faith in the wings. I prayed for them. I cried for them and I trusted in them. Every success they had, I felt, was also my success. I had something to believe in.
96 was a major year for me and all wings fans because this was the Yzerman goal. I remember me sitting down in front of the TV then jumping uncontrollably. It was 'our year'. Finally after losing last year. Then we face the avs and draper gets hit. We lose the series.
I was still in grade school and had been bullied so I just went home, waited for wings highlights and got my taste of success. Then March arrives and mccarty pummels lemieux, scores the winning goal and exacts the full revenge. I felt a sense of euphoria knowing that there's always a next time. We win the cup despite being underdogs to the flyers. I watch vlad's crash video. I was dejected. Next year we play our hearts out after losing a key player and sweep washington. I see Stevie put the cup on vlad's lap and wheel him around while the whole team was behind him. I cried. I get teary eyed even now. They did something more than for themselves. I applied that in my life.
Mediocre years came but I still got to watch hall of fame players wear a wings jersey. Fedorov, larionov, coffey, ciccarelli, vernon, shanny, hull, robitaille, murphy, clark, cujo.
Then 02. Hasek takes us to the finals and during the year I watched Zata and Datsyuk play alongside Hull...i knew they'd be superstars. 08 and 09 come and last year.
I reflect back and realized that I've been very lucky. I watched hall of famers, loved the game and applied everything the wings did, to my life. I go through hard times and know there will be a next time. I go through good times and enjoy it cuz there might never be that chance again. I never regretted anything. Last year was when the last of my childhood heroes left. Lids and homer. I loved them both. Then I look back at this team that they built. They're young and inexperienced still. But, like I did, believed.
In a year that 29 teams would have used to tank and get first pick, we go to second round and take the best team to 7. I never once doubted. I prepared for the worst and always expected the best. It has been a joy to watch the new era carry that torch. In retrospect, we should have been all playing golf after the season. But this team made it possible for more palpatations and for wings fans everywhere to still believe.
Right from 5 min into the first, i could tell nobody on the bench except for datsyuk, zetterberg and cleary wanted to win tonight. It's like they just turned off.
Babcock is gna give em hell....'Are you soft?' Comes to mind.
I friggin love our 3rd line. When they reach their potential (hopefully sooner rather than later), this team is gonna be top again.
If Helm and Dekeyser was playing, the Hawks would be going to Hockeytown down 2 games.
Not at all disappointed. The young guys will bounce back and the veterans will keep em calm. They had the jitters and now that's out of the way.
Howard was fantastic. Imagine a healthy Helm and Dekeyser. I've said it before. Making the playoffs was a bonus to a team decimated not just by injuries but retirements and personnel changes. Every game this young core plays is every game they gain extremely valuable experience.
Babcock is the best and will find a way to rally. Chicago is tried and tested. That pressure was very evident at the 1-1 score for 1/3 of the game.
When dats and zata and mule goes beast mode, they'll win this series because the young guys will follow suit.
If this was the 97-2002 crew, i would be very disappointed today. These are still kids and they need to be spanked for them to learn what it takes to win. I was expecting this team to miss the playoffs. Am I a bamdwagon or am I just realistic? I was so happy they made it and every win and goal in the playoffs is a bonus for me.
Obviously, to the mass that's unacceptable yadda yadda yadda. This is parity folks and whether you like it or not we now have to build from within. What we currently have as a future is bright and will probably bring home another cup or two. These kids need to learn and that will only happen when they lose. Today was the young team showing up after getting off a high from a road win to steal home ice. They're over confident. Truth the matter is, when we semi overhauled this year we still made 7th and is showing flashes of maybe going farther. Other teams (edm, pitt, chi, tor haha, nyi, chi) all stunk up the place before becoming powerhouses (were we not the detroit dead wings?)
I'm proud of these guys no matter what happens this year, next and next and next and next and next.....no series loss can change that.