How 'bout them Pistons?
End of an era, indeed.
Age catches us up with us all, and it finally did with the Wings, where it counted this series--the scoring forwards. Hull, Shanahan, Lang--to name but three--couldn't bury the chances when they counted. Yes, injuries played a role, but they always do this time of year. Kiprusoff was good, but hardly great--he saw virtually every shot.
Hard to blame Joseph, who was spectacular in spots. But here's the book on CuJo--he has a distressing tendency to make one less crucial save than the opposition in the playoffs. But he really isn't at fault in this one--the team that pumped in the pucks in the regular season wasn't able to buy a single one over the last two games.
That, frankly, is inexcusable. As a result, we've probably seen the last of Hull and Shanahan in the Winged Wheel.
Then there's the defense corps. First, every Wings fan who ever called Larry Murphy "the Human Pylon" needs to issue a retraction--that title now rightfully belongs to Derian Hatcher. Good Lord, the most memorable thing the man did was throw an elbow in last night's game six. Yes, he was still coming back from an injury, but see above.
Nik Lidstrom, white courtesy phone. Mr. Niklas Lidstrom, you have a call at the white courtesy phone. Mr. Lidstrom....?
If Jiri Fischer is the great hope for the future on the blue line, it's time to succumb to despair. Ironically, for all the problems with age, the best guy on the ice for the Wings for long stretches was 42 year old Chris Chelios. Schneider wasn't bad either.
He's a nice guy, great in the regular season, and his coaching skills were hampered by injuries during the playoffs, but here's the bottom line on Dave Lewis: a playoff record of 6-10, with another too-early exit. A re-do of the Bryan Murray era isn't what we had in mind.
Now, with the labor shortage, I can pop in the DVDs and watch ESPN Classic if I hope to see any good Wings hockey for the next year or so.
Meanwhile, Gary Bettman is about to go on suicide watch--the prospect of a Calgary-Tampa Bay Cup final looms closer....