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The Dead Things era


Guest yave1964
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The Wings are slipping in to mediocrity now, Lidstrom and Homer, the last two members of the 97 and 98 cup winning teams are gone, (I know, Knuble is still playing 3 minutes a night for the Flyers, but that don't count) and as average as the Wings are, it does nothing to compare to the Wings of my youth.

I am 48, have been a hockey fan for forty years, saw my first few games at the old Olympia stadium, I can remember Red Berenson, I remember my grandfather telling me that Marcel Dionne was going to restore the Wings to glory. I just missed Gordie Howe, he retired the year before my first game.

My first hockey hero was Danny Grant, a winger who could shoot lights out that we had acquired from the North Stars for head band wearing Henry Boucha. Grant netted fifty goals one year, before his back went out, and Dionne pouted his way out of town and was no longer there to set him up. It was a hell of a difference to have passes coming from Dionne and then having them come your way from Guy Charron.

Reed Larson, Paul Woods and Dale McCourt were supposed to save the franchise. Rogie Vachon came from the Kings. Nothing worked. For two decades, the seventies and eighties the Wings were half a step from unwatchable.

I remember the Wings drafting Yzerman the year I joined the army, and being crushed that we had missed out on local boy Pat Lafontaine. I remember getting out of the army, and the team being bad still, but at least Probie and Kocur would beat people up to make the game watchable. Harold Snepts with his big cheesy mustache and long stringy hair. Then Jacques Demers came and gave the team a real coach and started a run that has continued for a quarter of a century of the the team being relevant.

Just wanted to let Wings fans know, look up the team in hockeydb.com or hockeyreference.com and you will see just how bad thse guys were and maybe have a little more appreciation for the current roster. Greg Stefan, Eddie Mio, Jody Gage, Joe Patterson, Brent Peterson, Barry Long. The names roll on like a bad train wreck, and how bad they were makes me appreciate how good the team has been for the past 25 years. To both groups, both good and bad, thanks for the memories.

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I had a relative who knew Glen Hanlon. We had lunch with him one time when I was very young (I had not yet really paid attention to hockey). I remember being completely star-struck when I saw him. I had no idea he was a lousy goalie....

I remember one time Hanlon took a hard slapshot right in the cup that actually fractured his cup! He survived, and so did "the boys!" But it sure was an ugly moment to watch...and rewatch...and rewatch...cringing the entire time and curling up into fetal position...but unable to NOT watch it again! they must have reshown that play 5 or 6 times! I'm still cringing thinking about it!

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Getting back to the tiltle of the thread....funny, how the Dead Wings era abruptly ended with the drafting of Stevie Y. It's not an oversimplification either, he gave the city, team and community hope after years and years of fultility. After teams/players started to see what type of an individual and player Stevie Y was, players wanted to come to Detroit all of a sudden. That's why Devellano is so highly regarded to this day, he was the man behind drafting Stevie, the *real* driving force behind the rebuild and renewal.

One pick, that's all it takes. Yeah, it has to be the right guy in the right year, but that is why the draft is held in such high regard. With the high end guys in the top 5 this year and the new rules regarding the lottery make this a really attractive year to suck. Not saying there is a Stevie Y out there for the grabbing, but a few true stars are certainly there for the taking...and for the first time, you don't have to be last to snag them.

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After last night's game against Calgary, I'm starting to gain a full perspective of the term....

Gus wasn't good (better in the 2nd, I thought) but let's be honest--his team let him down and out to dry more thAn a couple times. Yes, he clearly would want one or two of those back, but the biggest deficiency wasn't Gus. It was the team D. This is a systemic problem. At least Babs is finally admitting it. It is about time he did. Now he better follow through with some discipline and shifting things around until he finds the right combination of players who can at least compete without handing 2 goals (and how many more golden opportunities) per game to teams on a silver platter. Admitting the problem is step ONE. The next few steps require resolve.

Let's be honest: We can feel good about Fils scoring that PP goal. It was a good goal for a scorer who was in good position with his stick down. Mickey noticed that also. However, he also missed an assignment on one of the gimme goals in the 3rd. That lapse was just as bad as his goal was good.

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Getting back to the tiltle of the thread....funny, how the Dead Wings era abruptly ended with the drafting of Stevie Y. It's not an oversimplification either, he gave the city, team and community hope after years and years of fultility. After teams/players started to see what type of an individual and player Stevie Y was, players wanted to come to Detroit all of a sudden. That's why Devellano is so highly regarded to this day, he was the man behind drafting Stevie, the *real* driving force behind the rebuild and renewal.

One pick, that's all it takes. Yeah, it has to be the right guy in the right year, but that is why the draft is held in such high regard. With the high end guys in the top 5 this year and the new rules regarding the lottery make this a really attractive year to suck. Not saying there is a Stevie Y out there for the grabbing, but a few true stars are certainly there for the taking...and for the first time, you don't have to be last to snag them.

That is good enough to make a "good" hockey team. And I agree that he DID start the process and made Detroit a city and team that players wanted to come to and play for. However, Yzerman didn't REALLY become the great leader and captain he is known for until Scotty Bowman broke him. Until he committed to Scotty's left-wing lock system and made the commitment to the defensive side of the game--to some extent at the expense of personal stats and also to a degree money--he gave up some salary to get and keep good players around him. That is when they went from a good hockey team to a great one, and he from a good captain to "The Captain." But it took many years of "good" hockey which ended up in defeat, frustration, and disappointment before he became the legendary Captain that he is renown for being. If you'll recall, the summer before he made that commitment, the Wings were actually thinking of moving him. I think that added the element of fear to his hunger for being a champion that pushed him to commit. And like they had all of his career, his team followed his lead. It lead to 15 years of "great" hockey. And legend status.

If Babs and Holland have any sense about them, they need to also motivate a number of their "good" players be it with threats to move 'em or sit 'em and/or actually doing so to put the fear and drive into the other players. The good news is that we have some young talent that we can evaluate while others who need to be sat sit. IMHO, I would rather see us lose the playoff streak and "find our team" than wallow in mediocrity for the sake of "keeping the nucleus together." Obviously I'm not talking about Pav or Z here. That IS the nucleus to build around. Who DOESN'T want to be on Pav's line? I think it's time to seriously commit to rebuild around these guys, band if it means being out of the playoffs this year, but then seriously competing in the next couple of years, I say do it and do it now.

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@SpikeDDS That's all I was really saying, Stevie (and Jimmy D) started the process. It was amazing how spotless Stevie's career was, both on and off the ice....esp off. In this day and age, where media vultures lurk around every corner, Steve was squeaky clean, from start to finish....even now....lol. So was Isiah Thomas, until the press got word of the gambling, man did they have a field day with that. Regardless of how nice a guy Steve is, the same cruel fate awaited him had he screwed up in any way, be it gambling, drugs, perfrormance enhancing, women, drinking etc.., but he never gave them the chance....a testament to the man he was/is. A guy who was obviously raised properly.

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The big thing with the pick of Yzerman as any Wing fan old enough to remember will tell you, we were sitting at number four in the draft, and everyone was hoping against hope that local boy Pat Lafontaine would somehow fall in our laps. When Lafontaine went to the Islanders at number three getting Yzerman was a mild disappointment to put it mildly.

Jimmy D was a master, his role in the building of the Islanders before coming to Detroit alone would have made him a hall of famer in the builder category, but turning around an organization that habitually missed the playoffs in an era that 16 of 21 teams made it, turning the Wings in to the standard of excellence for a quarter of a century was his master stroke.

And lets not forget the role of Mike Ilitch, who bought the team from a disinterested Norris family. Ilitch was smart enough to hire Jimmy D and stay out of the way, letting him put a team together.

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@yave1964 Lafontaine got a LOT of coverage in the Detroit press days and weeks leading up to that draft. Everybody and their mother wanted Pat in the Winged Wheel....funny how those kinda things work out. Lafontaine still went on to have a great career, but nowhere near the icon status of Stevie.Y.

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@yave1964 I went to the 1984 draft that was held in Detroit, a year before I graduated high school. The whole arena was shouting and whooping it up, hoping the Wings would draft local product Adam Burt (who slipped to the late 2nd to Hartford).....Wings ended up taking Yves Racine....and in the process passed on Joe Sakic.....lol. A nice draft to have attended live, Turgeon first, Shanny was in there, among many others.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1987_NHL_Entry_Draft

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@SpikeDDS Regardless of how nice a guy Steve is, the same cruel fate awaited him had he screwed up in any way, be it gambling, drugs, perfrormance enhancing, women, drinking etc.., but he never gave them the chance....a testament to the man he was/is. A guy who was obviously raised properly.

Our upbringing only takes us so far. It only provides the foundation for where we start. We eventually choose who we are. Steve Yzerman focused on winning and excellence in hockey and did not let anything distract him from those things, including injury--which is probably the thing which made him the most unique in hockey history--no one played hurt so well as hurt as he was...ever. Although it did take him a number of years to figure out that individual statistics came secondary to commitment to the team system, he did both choose and learn that himself. His parents didn't teach him that. His example demonstrated the lesson to everyone around him.

And yet some never really got it. Federov didn't. He left for individual glory and never approached the level he played in Detroit.

I saw a lot of that same focus in Lidstrom, but channeled differently. His was channeled in routine. I thought the NHL piece they did on him showed that aspect of Lidstrom pretty well. He is another who never let distractions take him away from his goals.

This kind of focus is rare indeed. You can see it in Pavel. His work ethic. Good night! The last person on that team that needs to work on stick moves is Datsyuk, and yet he is almost always the first and last guy on the ice, because every day he is practicing old ones and new ones.

Only thing is it can't just be one or two guys. The team's gotta follow for the most part.

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