Wings and Prayers

What Hockey Capital Can Learn From Hockeytown

REUTERS/Chad Ziemendorf

It’s not the post I planned on writing today.  It’s not what we hoped for…or even expected.

Sharks 3, Wings 2.

Heartbreak.

Or maybe…not quite.

“There’s a reason why only three teams have successfully recovered from a 0-3 series deficit in the long history of the Stanley Cup playoffs,” writes Drew Sharp in this morning’s Detroit Free Press.  “The desperate can only dip into that pool so often before it’s drained dry.The Red Wings finally found that empty bottom Thursday night — much to their complete surprise.”

And there it is – complete surprise.  The Red Wings team, and with them WingsNation, genuinely believed they would make a little history Thursday night, coming three-off in the series and battling back to clinch it.  And of course, they almost did.

“Our guys came here and we fully expected to go on to Vancouver without any question,” Detroit coach Mike Babcock said.  “Even when we were down 2-0 I told our guys, ‘Stay with it, we’ll get one here.’”

David Guralnick / The Detroit News

They played all out – as did the Sharks.  But there was something about the Wings play that made you actually believe they were going to do it.  Said the thoroughly amazing Captain Nicklas Lidstrom:

“I thought we battled hard.  But it’s disappointing losing no matter how you cut it. Coming back the way we did, playing real hard, believing in ourselves and finding a way to force it a to a Game 7, and just coming up short — it’s hard.”

There it is again.  Believing in ourselves.

We’re not going to hammer this point home too hard.  Thor or no, we’re not in the hammering mood.  But watching the Wings battle San Jose in these playoffs was not like watching the Caps and Tampa.  Hockey Capital played like they knew they’d lose; Hockeytown fought like they believed they’d win.

Yes, the result was the same, but there’s no comparing the Caps sweep with the Wings scrap.

“Our boys have — for the second year in a row — called it a season after two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs. In Hockeytown, anything less than a Stanley Cup is failure,” say our pals over at The Production Line:

“But it’s not all bad. There’s much to be proud of this season. By many accounts, 2010-11 was a year of unrivaled successes and beautiful, wonderful memories. The Wings became one of only a handful of teams to rally back from an 0-3 hole to force a Game 7. Alas, they fell just short, but if you’re not proud of these men… perhaps you’ll think differently in the morning.”

Whether Caps or Wings, we’re both Red-blooded hockey fans.  Perhaps next season we can import a little Hockeytown into Hockey Capital.

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