The Red Wings’ Season Comes to an End

Detroit Red Wings' goaltender Jimmy Howard consoles defenseman Niklas Kronwall after losing to the Chicago Blackhawks, May 29, 2013.

Detroit Red Wings‘ goaltender Jimmy Howard consoles defenseman Niklas Kronwall after losing to the Chicago Blackhawks, May 29, 2013.

My Detroit Red Wings lost tonight to the Chicago Blackhawks in overtime of Game 7 of the Western Conference Semifinals.

I have to admit I didn’t hold out much hope that the Wings would win this series.  Heck, there was a time I didn’t think they’d make the playoffs.  There were big changes before the start of this lockout-shortened season, most notably the retirement of Norris Trophy-winning defenseman and Perfect Human Nicklas Lidstrom, and the decision by Brad Stuart to play for the San Jose Sharks, because his family lives in SoCal and he wanted to be near them.  A noble reason, and good for him for putting family first, but it stunk for the Wings.

Then once the shortened season got going, it seemed the Wings’ players were making a steady march to the infirmary.  At one point I believe there were nine players out with injuries – nine!  The upside of all these injuries is that a lot of the young players from the farm team in Grand Rapids got invaluable big league experience.    Continue reading

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I Should Be in Traverse City

My vacation started precisely at 4:00 PM Friday, but it should have started 24 hours earlier.  On Friday morning, I was supposed to be in my car headed north to Traverse City, on my way to Red Wings‘ Training Camp, and Friday night I should have been relaxing in my hotel room, getting ready for the first day of camp.  But I’m not.  Not because I couldn’t afford it or didn’t get reservations.

I’m not in Traverse City because there is no hockey.

Back in 2004, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman locked out the players in order to get a new collective bargaining agreement between the players and the league.  The lockout lasted all season – an entire professional hockey league season was lost because the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement.  In the end the players gave in, agreeing to a salary cap, a 24 percent reduction in salaries, and a whole bunch of other stuff, just to avoid having the lockout go into a second season and, ostensibly, to prevent a lockout from happening again in the future.

Yet here we are, eight years later, and we have another lockout.

Continue reading