After my little love-in with myself over my superior taste in hockey teams, I thought I was done for a while. I'm actually surprised to discover that I still have the desire to write about it. I guess it shouldn't be that much of a shock considering how hard it's been to get me to shut up about hockey since I was about nine.
After writing my last post, I went upstairs and buried myself in the TV for a couple of hours. And then all of a sudden, I heard some pleasantly familiar sounds. I looked out my window, and there, in the middle of the street, were four kids playing street hockey. It made me smile. A couple of hours later, I took my dog for a walk, and two blocks away in the back of my subdivision, was another group of kids just setting up a net in the street. The thought that at this time next year I'm going to be searching for a job in a place where this wouldn't be completely normal makes me sad. There's just no place like Hockeytown.
There's been a lot written over the last couple of days implying that this is the end of the Wings' dominance. I disagree. Just like I've disagreed with every article that's been written at the end of every year for as long as I can remember. Between the core of talent they have locked up long-term, the flood of rookie talent they've got lined up, and the enduring brilliance of Ken Holland, there's absolutely no reason that we can't expect this team to make deep playoff runs for years to come. Do you honestly imagine Henrik Zetterberg, heir apparent to the C, retiring in 12 years with only one Stanley Cup ring to his name? Yeah, I don't either. Even now, I firmly believe that the Wings would've come out on top but for their injuries. I know people will say that that's petulant and sore-loserish, but it's true, and I'll stand by it no matter what. I also believe that the Wings would've run right through any other team in the Eastern Conference this year if they were at 100% (or even 80% for that matter). The Anaheim series was by far the toughest battle that any team faced in the playoffs, and there's no way you can convince me that scratching and clawing their way through that mess didn't take its toll on the boys. It might not be next season, or even the one after that, but the Wings will be back. Mark my words. The boys aren't going anywhere.
There's also been some disappointment expressed that they blew their chance to secure their dynasty. I don't buy that crap. I was sold on the whole dynasty thing after 2002. The fact of the matter is that, with the exception of maybe the Lakers, the Wings have been the most dominant professional sports franchise in the country for the better part of my lifetime. And if people aren't willing to recognize that now, then one more championship wouldn't have made a bit of difference anyway.