The Compulsory Red Wings Post

First of all, thanks to Sean for the lovely front-page intro; we’re excited to be part of this in every way.

Sean also lamented the fact that our first string of comments did not include discussion of our beloved Detroit Red Wings of the league-formerly-known-as-the-NHL. This should not be seen as a diss of our boys, but rather as an indication that ice would survive less than 30 seconds, given our current local weather.

Regardless, there are some very happy hockey fans around here now. Maybe ‘relieved’ is more accurate; I know it is for me. Having played at (what I thought was) a high level of hockey until college, and being a fanatic of the sport, I’m pretty sure I had a good grasp on the labor situation that had dragged on for 13+ months until a new CBA was reached 2 weeks ago. Clearly, I was wrong.

Why? Because I didn’t realize how badly that players had lost this thing. They were shutout, to use a phrase. They got killed, mercilessly. The owners took them to the cleaners, and got everything they wanted. The players held out and held out, hoping to break the owners.

Well, duh.

That ain’t how it works in a sport with no real TV contract, no household names and a regional following. That kind of crap may have worked before, and maybe still could in other sports, but not here. Not this game.

So, the players are left with at best a 24% reduction in their salaries; at worst, they’re being let go because their contract is too hot for the new $39 Million cap. The Wings had to drop some key players today, including a Detroit institution: Darren McCarty.

Darren probably won’t be reading this, but just in case: not many athletes come along in this town and become both loved and respected. You, my man, are one of them.

People will talk about his Lemieux fight in ’97, but to me, his goal in the 2nd period of Game 4 of the ’97 Finals was the single greatest clutch goal I’ve ever seen. And in deference to the 125,000 people out there that claim they were there — I really was. Cried my eyes out.

Now, the big question is: will Stevie come back for another season? My gut tells me ‘yes’. No brainer. You don’t leave the greatest career in Detroit history bleeding from your eye socket. The man would never do it on purpose, but he deserves his ‘farewell tour’.

Much, much more about this later. I promise.

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