For the second year in a row the Red Wings were eliminated in the first round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs; this time it was at the hands of division foe Tampa Bay Lightning. After missing two opportunities to close out the Lightning, the Wings went down in seven games to the team with the best offense in the NHL.
“It’s really tiring,” captain Henrik Zetterberg said in his post game press conference. “This year, we had a good team. We had a good chance. But unfortunately we couldn’t get it done. I couldn’t really produce the way I wanted. No goals.”
Twenty-four consecutive playoff appearances is definitely something the Red Wings and their fans should be proud of. One of the great things about the NHL is that almost every team has the opportunity to make the chase for the cup each year just like every team who made it the previous year has the opportunity to miss. The Los Angeles Kings, who were the 2014 Stanley Cup Champions, did not make the playoffs this year, as well as the 2013-2014 President’s Trophy winners, Boston Bruins. Being able to consistently make the playoffs when some of the other NHL powerhouses miss is part of the reason the Wings are among the most impressive organizations in all of sports.
But the truth of the matter is, the Wings haven’t brought a cup back to Detroit since 2008 and have not made a Stanley Cup final since 2009. Having a chance to win the cup every year is a great luxury to have, but it starts to get a little disappointing when you fail to bring a one home to a city that is desperately searching.
It doesn’t matter what sport it is, winning matters more than anything. People don’t remember the teams who gave a good effort and still came up short, they remember the winners. They remember the teams who find a way to get it done even when all odds are against them.
Fox Sports Detroit posted an interesting graphic before the start of the Wings’ series with the Lightning began. 11 out of 11 ESPN.com experts picked Tampa to win the series, 10 out of 10 experts from NHL.com picked Tampa, two experts from CBS Sports picked Tampa and experts from Hockey News and USA Today all picked Tampa to eliminate the Wings. There used to be a time where all the experts would have had the Wings taking this series, but when you haven’t won a cup in seven years things change.
Regardless of all this, the Detroit Red Wings do have a promising future. General manager Ken Holland and the rest of the Red Wing front office are excellent at drafting young talent. Current Red Wings such as Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar, Riley Sheahan and Petr Mrazek all gained much needed playoff experience this year, and will play a key role in getting this franchise back to the top. But it doesn’t end there, star prospects like Anthony Mantha, Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi and Landon Ferraro will also be called upon to restore faith in fans of hockeytown.
There is a Latin phrase on the flag for the city of Detroit that reads “Speramus Meliora, Resurget Cineribus”, which translated to English means “We hope for better things, it will arise from the ashes.”
If there is one thing known about Detroit, it is that we will keep on fighting through any of the struggles we may have. With dreams of Lord Stanley returning to Detroit, these young stars are the kind of hope this city needs.