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Dear Bolts Fans...


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Dear Lightning Fans,


From the people who know EXACTLY how you feel, sorry about your Bolts.


Well, as sorry as Red Wings fans can be about the Lightning losing. But trust me when I say, “We know how you feel.”


Even though when it happened to us, we lost in the Conference Finals to the eventual Cup winners—and still, our arch nemesis—and we were depleted by injury, including one of our players being hospitalized for facial fractures!


But those details don’t really matter. The pill you have just swallowed is bitter as hell! We still remember how that tastes, and it was WRETCHED!


@TropicalFruitGirl26 I’m not trying to twist the knife. I’ve enjoyed our hockey conversations. I’m not doing this (much) to give you the business. But I do feel a little sorry for you today.


Not much, but some.


Just know that even Steve Yzerman had to repeatedly taste the bitterness of defeat before he and the assemblage of talent the Wings had back then learned how to win a Cup.


By learning how NOT to win a Cup. Again.


I would say “our deepest sympathies,” but we all know that would be B.S. Just know that you are not alone.


And don’t do anything rash.


If you need someone to talk to about it, we’re here for you! (Can’t totally guarantee it will come without any needling.)




Red Wings Fans



Edited by SpikeDDS
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@SpikeDDS Great write up, I have deliberately not posted about the series because you and I know how it feels, even twenty years later I get a facial tick and my eyes start to bulge and my fists clench in rage at the mention of Claude Freaking Lemieux (his middle name is not freaking but another F word that the site wont let me print) and Paddy roy. God I still hate those guys.


 But @TropicalFruitGirl26 I promise it will pass, kind of like a kidney stone, a beachball size kidney stone to be sure but time heals. We (the Wings) lost to an 8 seed in Yzermans last season against Pronger and the Oilers which was doubly devastating knowing that Stevie was hanging them up, we lost to a very inferior Kings team in 2001 in the first round because we made so many mental errors. You move on, you forgive, you believe again but you never forget.


 My top five realistic reasons the Bolts lost giving an honest assessment would have to be:


1) No Victor Hedman. He was awful in game one, turned around by Savard who is a poor skater at best I knew then and posted in here that they rushed him back, he was clearly laboring. Foligno said in this mornings presser that was the moment the CBJ felt they could win, the best defenseman in the game at 50 percent they ran right at him for two games and hit him every time he touched the puck. Stralman also being out hurt. a lot.


2) Nothing to play for since November. They were more or less locked into the Presidents trophy all year, Columbus had to fight and claw, Tampa had zero adversity and was on cruise control allyear. It is hard to find another gear when all year you didn't have to.


3) The trade deadline they did nothing. Zilch. I cannot stress this enough, yes they were the best team in Hockey and didn't want to mess up the chemistry but truth is they should have added a middle six veteran grit guy and a middle pair defensive zone specialist d-man. I remember when Tampa did nothing at all at the deadline I cringed a bit and thought okay, I get it but I would have been aggressive, you only have so many kicks at the can. 


4) I would not say overconfidence entered into it but I truly believe instead that they overlooked Columbus. The CBJ are not your typical 8 seed Bob truly may be the best goalie in Hockey and after a slow start after the deadline they have been on fire now winning 11 of their last 12. Jumping out 3-0 after the first period was the worst thing that could have happened, they took the foot off the gas as Columbus put theirs on and they were not prepared. It reminded me of the Miracle on Manchester when the upstart Kings upset the mighty Oilers if you are old enough to remember that, if not look it up it is a good read and still considered one of the greatest comebacks in Hockey history.


5) Finally, TFG you know I have mentioned this before many times but they are ultra elite skilled but soft. The Wings were that way when Stevens/Niedermayer knocked us out in a huge upset in the cup finals in 95, we were skilled and soft when Lemieux and Co. Upset us in 96, it was not until we traded for the ultimate power forward Brendan Shanahan in 1997 that we finally won. He led by example, took on all comers and scored 40 goals. The cost was Primeau and Coffey, as regular season elite as the Bolts are they probably need to shake up the chemistry. 

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Funny you guys should say this, because, in the Series thread, I mentioned trying to look for silver linings, but just couldn't at that particular moment when I posted my congrats to the Blue Jackets.

But there are....somewhere....and I looked back on history, and whaddya know, the FIRST team I thought of was the 90's Red Wings.
Who were upset on more than one occasion, even that Det team the Bolts tied in wins (62), didn't win that year either, albeit, they didn't get knocked out in the first round (or swept...dammit), but still, they didn't win.....

But the Red Wings during the 90's ultimately had the last laugh as I believe there were three Cups that were won over the course of the next 5 or 6 seasons following the 62-win Red Wings team loss in the playoffs.


And much like those Red Wings teams, thanks to Steve Yzerman, the Lightning are built for the long haul...built to be a contender for several years, not just all in for one or two.


Yes, the pill of what happened is bitter indeed.....I mentioned if actually caused me to not want to follow hockey for a day or two while thing set in my mind...wondering what went wrong, what could have been done differently, etc.

But fact is, record season aside,
---the Bolts have many young players, many of which are locked in long term, who are either elite now, or will soon be, at every position.
---The team has established a culture of winning.....FA players actually want to come to TB, and star players have taken less money to stay there.
--- The infrastructure with regards to coaching, management, and ownership IS committed to winning, will do what is necessary, AND is not above admitting when things weren't done right and will look to rectify things moving forward....again, just like the old Wings teams did.
--- Players themselves were NOT happy about the way this series ended, and that is a good thing, because you show me a player who is "ok" with how things went down, and I will show you a guy I do NOT want playing for my team!


I appreciate the sentiments, especially coming from an arch rival, and while I wouldn't expect anyone to feel too sorry for the Bolts (they say it can be lonely at the top after all), the parallels between how this team has progressed and the great Wings teams of old is uncanny.

I can only try to hang my hat on that, because NO ONE knows yet how this current TB core will eventually turn out..... will they really be like the 90's Wings, or will they be like the Capitals, great regular season after another, but may have to wait a LONG time before finally winning it all?

Or will they be like the San Jose Sharks or St. Louis Blues...full of promise every season, great regular seasons, even favored to win, but ultimately do nothing of the sort in the playoffs (Yikes!!).

Given the pedigree of who built this team, who his understudy and current GM is (Brisbois), I will say and hope, that the answer lies in the team being a modern Red Wings clone.

At the very least, I can look at this team come next season and think, "These guys HAVE to have a chip on their shoulders now....and they might even have to PO a few people during the season in order to get to where they need to get to."

We will see.

But during all of this, I honestly do NOT want to take away anything from Columbus. They just played just about PERFECT hockey...and as Nikita Kucherov put it in one of his post series interviews, "They are one hell of team and played like it."


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And you just hit the nail on the head for why hockey is the greatest sport out there. Because unlike, say, the NBA, where you pretty much—with a very high degree of likelihood—KNOW the two teams that are going to play in the NBA Finals before the playoffs start because the most talented teams are almost always there, in hockey you don’t have to be the most talented team to win. All you need is a team that decides to play structurally sound hockey and a goalie that hits a hot streak. You can be an 8-seed and still win the Cup if you time it and play your strategy right.


There isn’t a Wings fan from the 90’s that doesn’t remember Khabibulin’s name. We had no business losing to that Sharks team—on paper. But we did on the ice. It was beautifully ugly.


This was beautifully ugly too. It’ll take some time to get over this. The best remedy is a determined team that has found new mettle forged from the burning of a bitter defeat.


As the bitter pill goes down, just remember that this is part of what makes this game the best freaking sport out there.


Even better than curling! ;-D


And I have a feeling that your guys will end up figuring things out. And it won’t surprise me if it happens in the short shadow of this season.


Experience can be a BRUTAL teacher.


But take heart. As I so often like to say:


History has a tendency to repeat itself. History has a tendency to repeat itself.


And the Red Wings history speaks volumes.


Then again, I did say “tendency.”



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23 minutes ago, mojo1917 said:

this is a nice "turn of a phrase" are your feet Longfellows ?


Was actually reading some Malcolm Muggeridge. That dude was the master of turning a phrase. It may have rubbed off a little.


Having said that, we Wings fans know how LONG that shadow can look/feel when you are living in it. It seemed like it took FOREVER for that day when we would play the Avs and avenge Lepieux’s assault on Draper to arrive after the Avs eliminated us in 1996. That was a LONG offseason for Wings fans.


But looking back on it, it really wasn’t long before we got out of that shadow and into glory!


(And P.S. my “Longfellow” isn’t my feet! ;-D )

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