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Wings on an unbelievable roll

I love hockey. I grew up in Muskegon, Michigan on the east coast of Lake Michigan.
I lived here until I was 12. My whole neighborhood loved hockey. We pulled for the Tigers in the summer and for the Lions in the fall. But we played hockey. I learned to skate when I was about 4 so I could play on skates. When we had our first real cold spell, my neighbor who had a big side yard build our ‘rink.’ We’d shovel off the snow, run the water for hours and let it freeze. Then we would put another layer of water on so it would get relatively smooth. We would play, on skates, for hours. When the weather warmed we would play on the street with balls. If a car came, we’d grab the nets ’til the car passed, then continue.

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This was the late 1960s. The time of Gordie Howe, Mr. Hockey, and the Production Line in Detroit. Before “The Great One,” Wayne Gretzky. I moved around 1971 or 1972 to Indiana where basketball is the religion. But this time was also hell for Wings fans. They sucked until they drafted Steve Yzerman in 1983. Then they had a real star player to take over from Gordie. But they still sucked until the early 1990s when trades, drafts and a hall of fame coach came on board. Since then they have won 3 Stanley Cups and are the winningest sports franchise in modern time. The time of free agents and outrageous player salaries. I have been a subscriber to DirecTV’s Center Ice for may years, all so I can see the Wings play. I got my first DVR when I moved to California because I was missing games when my roommate would change the channel and I would end up taping whatever he was watching. Also since Detroit is on eastern time most of the games started before I got home from work.
What this all boils down to is that I have probably seen something like 90% or more of the games the Wings have played since the early 1990s. Plus with Center Ice I have seen many, many games of other teams as well. This year’s Wings have been special. They weren’t supposed to be any good last year, but they got beat by the Ducks, in the West Finals and the Ducks won the Cup. Since the Wings won the Cup in 2002 the team that knocked them out of the playoffs was always the team that represented the west in the Cup Finals and often won the championship and the Cup. But this year’s team impresses me more than any of the others. Any the stats bear that out. They won 30 of their 41 games (half season). An NHL record. They are not winning like President Trophy Wings teams in the past few years. They are winning gritty, they don’t let an early deficit deter them. They have yet to lose more than three games in a row. They have had several longish winning streaks though. They have a 19 point lead over the 2nd place team in the division, 13 points on the 2nd place team in the Western Conference and 7 points over Ottawa, the best team in the eastern conference.
The smoothness of their play is a joy to watch and their control of the puck and dominance of shot totals is astounding. Better yet they have spent many game stretches without top players. They have recently been without their 2 top scores and barely slowed. Lost maybe 2 games in this period and winning 6. The only question now is can they keep it up. Can they get past the hot team in the playoffs. Can they avoid season ending injuries. These are all why they play the game instead of handing the cup over today. Should be a fun run up to the cup for Wings fans.
As a side note, the post has inspired me. I just bought 2 tickets to the Kings/Wings game on the 22nd. Go Wings!

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