A slice of life from the last time the Detroit Red Wings lost at home: The second season of HBO "24/7" was over a month away from premiering; Herman Cain was still a viable candidate for the presidency; and "Tebowing" still had that new car smell.
It was Nov. 3, 2011, against the Calgary Flames. Since then, the Detroit Red Wings have won 20 straight games at Joe Louis Arena, tying an NHL record established by the 1929-30 Boston Bruins and matched by the 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers; both of whom went on to play in the Stanley Cup Final.
During the Wings' streak, which reached 20 with a 4-3 win over the Philadelphia Flyers on Sunday, they've outscored their opponents 84-30. Starting goalie Jimmy Howard missed the last three home games, and yet the streak's alive — with a chance at making history at home on Tuesday night against the Dallas Stars.
"Ooooooh, but is it reeeallly history?" proclaim the "consider the circumstances" crowd, like our boy Brian Stubits on CBS Eye on Hockey. After all, three of the Red Wings' wins came in the shootout. The Flyers and Bruins had no such opportunity for hollow, counterfeit victories!
The asterisk police are really one of sports' most deplorable factions.
I dedicated a chapter to them in my book "Glow Pucks and 10-Cent Beer," because every sports record ever set can be given an "*" of some kind because the conditions under which they were established are unquestionably different than those in other eras.
The Red Wings had the benefit of a shootout; the '29 Bruins had the benefit of not having to travel West of Chicago in a 44-game season. And so on. We're either going to be a society that accepts these superficial accomplishments at face value, or a society that's in a constant state of Debby Downerism; the type that inspires someone to, oh I don't know, debunk an 8-point night.
If you're someone giving this record even a second of doubt as to its place in NHL history, check 'yo self. Detroit's winning under the established, accepted rules of their era, and beating the ever-loving crap out of the majority of road teams along the way.
This is an awe-striking record in a parity-infected league, should they break it.