Ah, August is here and in full-swing. The baseball pennant races are starting to heat up while NFL teams are running their month-long exhibition of Pros-Vs-Joes. The weather is getting... well, more weathery, I guess, and hockey writers are left with little to do aside from swallowing copious amounts of dish soap and laxatives in the hopes of being able to fart bubbles. One such of these bubbles is the yearly talk among writers that the Red Wings are getting too old to keep competing. Cutesy nicknames like the Gray Wings get tossed about and fans of the teams who are tired of looking up at Detroit in the standings at the end of the season get hopeful that maybe this will be the year that the predictions of their demise will come true.
Right now, the Wings' average age sits at about 30.5 years. The average-aged Red Wing turned old enough to watch an R-rated movie by himself just in time to go see 'Starship Troopers' and learn that being an adult is maybe not so cool after all. Our average-aged Wing remembers the Space Shuttle Challenger incident and the Berlin Wall falling. He's been around for all of Van Halen's lead singers and for both New Coke and Crystal Pepsi. Provided he hasn't erased it from his memory, our average-aged Red Wing remembers FoxTrax. In short, he's seen and experienced a lot of awful things. Apparently, this makes him unfit for the rigors of a full NHL season. Some confused writers last year loved to point out that the Wings' age had caught up with them during the black times when there seemed to be as many man-games lost to injury as there were man-games actually played. When confronted with the fact that the average age of an injured Red Wings player last season was below the team average, even the most hard-headed of writers ignored that and continued relating the Wings' injury problems with their age, as though Kris Draper himself, mind lost to the ravages of age and the madness of jealousy was injuring his younger teammates himself in some sort of Birthday-Bandit-Gone-Wrong nightmare scenario.
While it's true that right now that the Wings are the oldest club in the NHL in terms of average age, I don't think it's that big a hurdle anymore. Some things get better as they age, like certain cheeses, fine wines, puck-moving defensemen, Patrick Kane's playoff beard (hopefully) and Chris Chelios' tan. There are tons of things out there older than the Red Wings that still go strong for one reason or another. Join me after the jump for a list of things older than the Red Wings that still have plenty of miles left in the tank.
1. Optical-Disk Movie Storage: Laserdisc debuted in 1978, eventually became DVD, minidisc, and Blu-Ray. Much like the Wings, the concept of burning things with lasers has evolved over the years and still remains the standard for physical storage that won't get ruined when you get that stupid antivirus virus that wipes out your system and every single film you've ever stolen.
2. Every Single U.S. President Ever: The average-aged Red Wings player couldn't even run for U.S. President right now. There are three reasons for this. 1) It's not an election year, silly. 2) The average Red Wing is probably not a naturally-born U.S. Citizen, and finally 3) The average Red Wing is not 35 years old, the minimum-required age for the position. It really is too bad on all of those counts, as I'd follow Valtteri Filppula's hair anywhere.
3. The BMW 3-Series: Introduced in the Seventies and without much going on with it through the Eighties (like the Red Wings), this car has enjoyed 19 straight years of being on Car & Driver's Ten Best list. Hmmm... 19 straight years, you say?
4. Kathy Griffin's Jokes: Yet she somehow keeps getting on television...
5. The Actual Articles about how the Red Wings are too Old: I'm sure somewhere out there is a cave painting depicting the Red Wings wheezing and stuttering on a Hoveround whie the younger tribes hunted game. Farther down that wall is a buffalo choking in the playoffs and sabretoothed tiger who can't make the 2nd round, but that's not the important part. What is important is that year after year, members of the mainstream media write about how the Wings are done because their aging core has finally past their prime and the young guys aren't enough to step up and year after year, the Wings prove that their detractors should stick with the fart-bubbles that they know.