Thank You

First off, thanks to the Wings for a heck of a season. A disappointing finish, but given the adversity this team faced, from the Stanley Cup hangover to the post-season injuries, I couldn’t be prouder of these guys. This hurts like crazy, but thinking about Nick Lidstrom having surgery in the third round and coming back to play has me in awe of this group’s will to win. That they fell short should in no way take away from that.

To the Pittsburgh Penguins, congratulations. You did something I didn’t think any team could do: win a Stanley Cup Final Game 7 in the Wings’ building. You took the championship on our home ice, in front of thousands my fellow fans who paid for those tickets out of shrinking paychecks, in the heart of a state needing something positive to happen like you wouldn’t believe and from a team that knew all that and for whom that knowledge was a driving force. I’ll never forgive you for it, but I have to respect that you did it.

I can already the praise songs and see the love letters sung and written to and about Sydney Crosby, and while I don’t want to go to far down the “sour grapes” route, I will say that the knowledge that Sid will now be marketed even more than before (didn’t think it was possible, did you?) has me feeling sick already. I’m already expecting to see him ranked with the all-time great leaders by those with little or no perspective.

One last thing along that line of thought. This warms my heart: “Mr. Ilitch … kept walking when NHL commissioner Gary Bettman approached him under the stands and tried to shake his hand after Friday night’s game.” No more words need to be said, eh Wings fans?

Back to the Wings a moment: of all the guys on the team, I’m especially disappointed for Chris Osgood. The guy did everything possible to earn this team the Cup, and falling short by one goal is killer. I hope that this run has opened a lot of folk’s eyes and that he can get some of that crowd off his back. Not too much, though! I like “chip-on-the-shoulder” Ozzie. If he’s up against the media and fans again next year, I guess it wouldn’t be the end of the world.

Now, I want to thank all of you who took the time to stop by the blog this season and take part in the discussion. Doing this is infinitely more fun when the community is lively, so I can’t overstate how much I appreciate your input. You guys are great, and helped make this season even more memorable than it might have been.

There’s a lot more to say about this team, their run and the players. With the end of the season, however, I’ll probably take a lighter posting load, though I won’t drop away for an official break until after the first few days of free agency.

We saw how the team turned the disappointment of losing to Anaheim in 2007 into a championship a year later. It’s hard to be too positive after a loss like this, but I will say that if any team can do it again, this one can. As IwoCPO said, “98 to 12.”

Filed under: 2008-2009, Playoffs

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Comments

  1. Baroque says:

    It was a lot of fun – and a heck of a ride from the Red Wings.  They gave it everything they had, but just ran out of gas at the end.  Disappointment, but no regrets.

     

    Thanks for all the posting this year and the great discussion and insight.  It was a fun community to be a part of.

  2. Kyle says:

    Thanks to you too Matt, I know you put a lot of time into this place.

     

    Can't come much closer than we did. It stings. Love that bit about Ilitch — I hadn't heard anything about it. It's nice to have some confirmation that we're not just biased fans when we say that the NHL has an agenda.

  3. John W. says:

    Big thanks to you Matt. By far my favorite place to discuss hockey. I really learned a lot reading your analysis of games over the last few months. This is definately a place I will be a part of for as long as it is around, which I hope is a long, long time.

    Thanks again for letting me be a small part of this great blog.

  4. Hippy Dave says:

    Here here Matt, great article, great outlook.

    I do really feel for Ozzie.  Had we won that game, he'd be the Conn Smythe winner.  He's mentally tough enough to take it. 

    Personally, I'm just happy I get to air out my liver for a few weeks…

  5. hockeychic says:

    Thank you so much Matt.  You do a wonderful job on this blog and I appreciate your time and effort. 

     

    It still stings, somehow worse today than yesterday.    What a heck of a ride this season was though.  The fact that this team went as far as it did with the serious injuries that it had says a lot to me.  They may not have won the Cup but they sure came darn close.

  6. Bye Bye RedWings says:

    It warms my heart that your stupid-octopus-throwing team who consider themselves "classy" lost.  You deserve your fate. You are not a team of winners but a bunch of washed up old men.  I am not even a Penguins fan, but after your Draper sour grapes comments and your "respectful" gamesmanship from your fans during the Pens celebration, I have zero respect for your organization.  Maybe your organization can continue to improve on the one skill that got them this far- Blatant obstruction.

    Good Riddance!!!

     

  7. Garby says:

    Bye Bye RedWings: Your an idiot, your probably some stupid fan of the Avs or Ducks by the way you talk…and talk about obstruction??!! Take a look at game 6 in this series and tell me that the Pens didnt get away with at least 10 BLATANT calls when our players werent even near the puck. Your a complete moron…Anyway, congrats Pens you deserved it

  8. John W. says:

    *sigh* another jealous fan of a team that wishes his team was half as good as the Wings. It warms my heart that our great organization still makes others act like complete fools in fits of envious rage. Enjoy the next few months before the Wings start beating the living daylights out of whatever team you root for AGAIN.

  9. Sparky says:

    It amazing that so many clueless "hockey fans" didn't realize that the Wings fans booed Bettman …not the Pens. It was only when that little weasel grabbed the mic did the Detroit Fans let him know that the lack of respect he has for the Red Wings is mutual. 

  10. Baroque says:

    It amazing that so many clueless “hockey fans” didn’t realize that the Wings fans booed Bettman …not the Pens. It was only when that little weasel grabbed the mic did the Detroit Fans let him know that the lack of respect he has for the Red Wings is mutual. 

     

    I know.  The ignorance is amazing.  I had the same argument with someone last year who rambled about the Pens fans booing the Wings, and I told them that no true fan boos the Stanley Cup – they were booing Bettman, and as soon as he got out of the way the fans left cheered. 

  11. Brian says:

    "I know.  The ignorance is amazing.  I had the same argument with someone last year who rambled about the Pens fans booing the Wings, and I told them that no true fan boos the Stanley Cup – they were booing Bettman, and as soon as he got out of the way the fans left cheered. "

    I think some Pens fans may have had their attitude colored a bit by a prior crowd reaction…when Wings fans had emphatically cheered as Crosby hobbled to the bench. And no, it wasn't because of it being a big hit. It took Sid like 20 seconds to get to the bench, and the crowd got louder with cheers as he looked worse and hunched over.

  12. John W. says:

    …because we all assumed he was faking it just like he did in whichever game in Pittsburgh when Maltby returned the tap that Crosby gave him after game 1, and Crosby collapsed to the ice like he'd been shot, only to return on the next shift. Seriously, Crosby doesn't do himself any favors.

  13. Garth says:

    I am not even a Penguins fan, but after your Draper sour grapes comments and your “respectful” gamesmanship from your fans during the Pens celebration

    Hey, so you're really smart.  What I'm wondering is, why are you using the phrase "sour grapes" when it has absolutely nothing to do with your reference?  I wonder if you know what sour grapes even means…

     

     

  14. Garth says:

    when Wings fans had emphatically cheered as Crosby hobbled to the bench.

     

    Yeah, because it's never an exciting thing to see a player on the team you're cheering for absolutely destroy a player on the other team.  Especially when he's a player like Crosby, who you either love or despise.

     

    What should everyone have done?  Booed Franzen for hitting the Pens' star player?

  15. Keith says:

    I'll admit it, I cheered at Crosby being hurt. He is one of the few players along with Pronger, Lemieux, Malkin, Avery, etc. who real fans should boo.

     

    With that being said, Matt amazing job. I just found this site this year and I've been blown away here by the coverage and insight.

     

    Lets hope next year we'll continue just as long into Summer! I can already see us beating Pittsburgh in 5 (when we are healthy). Anyone else with me?

  16. Keith says:

    Claude Lemieux not Mario. I love Mario. Just in case anyone thought I only hated Pittsburgh players.

    P.S. Tootoo makes the list as well.

  17. Seriously? says:

    @Keith – you seriously cheered at someone being hurt?  That's about as classless as Detroit fans… oh wait, that's you.  Stay classy, Keith. 

  18. Seriously? says:

    @Garth – you cheer the hit.  plain and simple.  you don't cheer the injury.

  19. Drikfan says:

    Great work Matt – Love the balanced view of the games/wings I find here.

  20. Jimmy says:

    I am jacked for next year! The only drawback is that I am a spectator & have no control over what happens. I do wish I was an NHL'er for the Wings right now & my target is CryBaby & the Pens.

    This site is better than listening to those hacks from the media. Fantastic!!!

    PS. I just heard that Obama might hold the next G20 meeting in….wait for it……..you guessed it Pittsburgh. Now it seems to me that if there was a conspiracy going on it would have to have the series go to 7, because I am sure the NHL & its cronies new of the severity of injuries to the Wings & the freshness of its Posterboy & his team. Steelers & Pens, City of Champions, on the way up; Lions, Tigers, Wings, Detroit & the auto sector on the way down.

    Just a really deep thought.

  21. Garth says:

    @Seriously?

     

    Nice semantics argument.  When your player hits someone and that someone can skate away, you can cheer.  I didn't cheer when Havlat didn't get up after Kronwall's hit on him, but Sid didn't stay down.

     

    He didn't cry about it, so why are you?

  22. Kyle says:

    The thing about the Crosby hit is that initially, though I didn't cheer it, I didn't find it surprising that people did. It's a little bit of "the boy who cried wolf." Because he laid on the ice for so long after that Maltby slash and hobbled off like his leg was broken, it didn't even occur to me that he was seriously hurt until his next shift when he didn't come out on the ice. From where I was sitting, I thought initially Franzen might have clipped him up high so I just figured he was trying to sell the call. It doesn't completely excuse everyone from cheering the hit, but come on.

    I'm sure if he was really and honestly seriously injured (not saying he isn't right now, because I haven't heard anything about his status) to the point where he couldn't get off the ice, there's no way I would tolerate booing. But he just skated over all hunched over the same way he did when Maltby slashed him, and then he was on the ice chirping the next shift. I didn't feel sorry for him at the time.

    I feel the same way when Kirk Maltby or Mikael Samuelsson hobbles off the ice for Detroit. My first instinct is never think they're hurt. I always think they're trying to sell a call so the next time something happens, the ref is more likely to put an arm up.

  23. John W. says:

    "It’s a little bit of “the boy who cried wolf.” Because he laid on the ice for so long after that Maltby slash and hobbled off like his leg was broken, it didn’t even occur to me that he was seriously hurt until his next shift when he didn’t come out on the ice."

    Exactly.

  24. Baroque says:

    Cheering for a hit that results in an apparent injury doesn't bother me if a guy leaves the ice under his own power – often no matter how bad he looks, he just gets the wind knocked out of him and is right back out after missing only a shift or two.

     

    What I find classless and inexcusable is cheering when someone is motionless on the ice and clearly needs a lot of help.  And I haven't yet seen anyone cheer when an injured player needs a trainer and assisstance (or, rarely, a stretcher) to leave the ice.  That would bother me much more than cheering for a big hit on a disliked player that may or may not (at the time of the hit) cause an injury.

     

    And for the record, as long as he can leave under his own power, it doesn't bother me a lot when opposing fans cheer a hit on one of my favorite team's players, either.  To me it's as natural as cheering a goal for your own team and booing a penalty against your own guys.

  25. ludmesiter says:

    Thank you Matt for all the hard work you put into this site.  Looking forward to continued Wings greatness (both from them and your coverage) next season.

     

    Since, you know, this ending just can't stand. ;-)

  26. Brian says:

    Baroque,

    The one time I've seen fans cheer when a guy was down on the ice and a trainer was out to help him was when Tie Domi sucker punched Ulf Samuelsson (and he deserved it) in Toronto.Ulf had a history of taking guys knees out and the Toronto fans applauded Domi for doing what he did. Even the announcers on CBC said "well, if you live by the sword then you die by the sword."

  27. Keith says:

    Yes I did cheer. He whines all the time. The NHL made him their poster boy when he should be what's wrong with the league (skilled players that whine and complain). Crosby is turning the NHL into the NBA, where a touch is a foul on stars and the average players can be hacked.

     

    He laid on the ice for about 45 seconds from a tiny slash. Real players (like Havlat) only stay down when they are really hurt. Real players and real injuries don't get booed, a player diving or faking the extent of the injury do.

     

    Fine call me classless. I'm loads better than Washington, Calgary, Chicago, and Pittsburgh fans. At least I don't make jokes about Detroit's economic situation (people losing jobs and not able to support their family) or a player becoming paralyzed like Pittsburgh fans do. It's amazing because 10 years ago Pittsburgh was the worst city in the country economically. You'd think they'd remember that now and be the first ones to support us now.

  28. Megan Saler says:

    You’d think they’d remember that now and be the first ones to support us now.

     

    The only problem with that, Keith, is that most of them were not alive or old enough to understand then. Seriously, do the pit "fans" you run into on line sound any older than 12?

     

    In my opinion, it won't be long before players in the entire league really start to resent Crosby. We already see it on the Wings. Zetter staying out to glare toward Crosby? The Wings don't have an issue with any other player on the Penguins, but you can really start to see them having a low opinion of that whiner. He was already voted whiniest player in the league in an SI poll of half the players in the league. He got over 50%. If he keeps diving and trying to get calls (which he gets a lot of the time because of who he is), guys are really gonna lose any and all respect for him. It doesn't matter how talented you are. If you do that kind of thing on a consistant basis, no one's gonna wanna play with or against you. If he goes on believing the league that he's perfect, it will be even worse. If he refuses to admit when he made a mistake, like with not shaking Nick's hand, people will treat him like a kid forever. And since the fans follow their captain, they will become the most hated fans in all of the league (even if they aren't the reigning champions). If he continues to act like he's bigger than the game, and every other player is only there to support him, he'll become the largest blemish on the game we've ever seen.

  29. Keith says:

    Your right Megan.

     

    My roommate is a die hard Rangers fan and loves Avery (I know what your thinking) but apparently Avery still likes Detroit and said somewhere that he can't wait to make Crosby really go down. I can't wait until Avery, Chara or Cote start trying to fight Crosby.

    Unfortunately, I think Malkin is worse than Crosby. Crosby whines. Malkin whines and is cheap, which is 10x worse.

  30. Baroque says:

    I wonder how much of Sean Avery's act is him actually being a jackass and how much is him acting like a jackass because everyone expects it of him now.  Just on the ice, and not the Brodeur stick thing, he's a good skater, has better hands than some people give him credit for, and despite the diving and stuff I've never heard anyone question his effort.  He just has such an enormous load of off-ice baggage that he hauls around with him.

     

    I'm not surprised he'd want to take down Crosby – instant attention.  It's lucky for The Penguins they play in the Eastern conference for them – otherwise, I could see a Pronger elbow encounter in his future.  Because, you know, he's shorter than Pronger. 

  31. Eduardo says:

    Thanks to you Matt! Love this blog, I don't comment very often because my English is horrible.

    Always WINGS!

     

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