The Detroit Red Wings and their fans have had four days off since their 4-1 thrashing via the Islanders on Monday night. Hopefully both groups have put the last ten games behind, because it’s important for the Wings to play one game at a time and not let the weight of the recent past drag them down by the shoulders, because they’re already in the basement and if they go down any farther the only logical place they will end up is some sort of living hell.
I’m sorry, that was a heavy-handed joke. And a bad one.
And of course, it’s helpful for the fans to have a short memory right now. For me, it always helps to just think about sitting down and watching a night of hockey instead of thinking I’m watching an episode in the larger tapestry of the season. When the Wings were dominant, I was always excited to analyze the larger picture that they found themselves in, to squeeze the arm rests knowing that the next goal is so important because Detroit has to beat St. Louis tonight in regulation to get home ice advantage against San Jose in two months and it all matters so damn much! But now, now it’s different. It has to be. For the die hards, I really think you have to learn to be a different kind of fan during these times if you want to keep loving the sport, because white knuckling every game in a 0-8-2 stretch isn’t good for anybody’s blood pressure. But that’s just my two cents.
For their part, the Pens will be coming into Detroit looking like a team their fans can white knuckle over every night, because they’re 16-9-4 with 36 points and sitting in the first wild card spot in the East, with Carolina one point behind and Philadelphia only one point ahead. If Pittsburgh wins tonight, they’re going to be on what’s called a winning streak. The older fans here might remember what that is, so if you’re unsure, ask them. What’s scarier is that they’ve shut out both the Blues and the Coyotes (in Kessel’s emotional return to Pittsburgh) and haven’t let in a goal in a week. But if we go back to November 27th, they were in a barn-burner against Vancouver that ended 8-6 in their favor. If the Wings’ stars above the LCA are wrong tonight, let’s at least hope we get an outing like that.