In Red Wings Land
You can’t spell “historically bad” without “history.”
It’s time, then, to pour one out for each of the teams done playing this season. What went wrong? What went right? What happens next?
We start with the Detroit Red Wings (17-49-5), who posted the lowest points percentage since the 1999-00 Atlanta Thrashers. Year 1 under new GM Steve Yzerman was a true tank job, with the Wings keeping most of their top prospects vacuum-sealed in the minors.
Around the NHL
You’d have to be living under a rock to not know what has been going on in Minneapolis and cities throughout the country.
In the last day or two, players and teams have released statements, some trite and vague, some introspective and raw.
NHL players and teams made strong statements against racial inequality over the weekend, using social media to address the killing of George Floyd and the protests that followed.
Floyd died last week in Minneapolis after Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for more than eight minutes. He was 46. Chauvin, fired last Tuesday, was charged Friday with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Three other officers were also fired, but have not been charged. The death of Floyd, who was black, was the catalyst for protests around the world over the weekend.
The flood of messages on Twitter and Instagram started after San Jose Sharks star Evander Kane called out his peers in the NHL to break their silence.
Unlike many times, athletes speaking out are not just athletes of color. While Jonathan Toews the player is someone many Red Wings fans don’t have a lot of fond feelings for, his statement is one of the best I’ve seen.
I could write a lot here, but I don’t want to make this about me. I’ll repeat what Toews says near the end of his post: Open our eyes and our hearts.
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A lot of people may claim these riots and acts of destruction are a terrible response. I’ll be the first to admit that as a white male that was also my first reaction. But who am I to tell someone that their pain is not real? Especially when it is at a boiling point and impossible to hold in anymore. It’s obviously coming from a place of truth. This reaction isn’t coming out of thin air. I’m not condoning or approving the looting, but are we really going to sit here and say that peaceful protesting is the only answer? There has been plenty of time for that, and if it was the answer we would’ve given it our full attention long ago. Listen to these two men debate. They are lost, they are in pain. They strived for a better future but as they get older they realize their efforts may be futile. They don’t know the answer of how to solve this problem for the next generation of black women and men. This breaks my heart. I can’t pretend for a second that I know what it feels like to walk in a black man’s shoes. However, seeing the video of George Floyd’s death and the violent reaction across the country moved me to tears. It has pushed me to think, how much pain are black people and other minorities really feeling? What have Native American people dealt with in both Canada and US? What is it really like to grow up in their world? Where am I ignorant about the privileges that I may have that others don’t? Compassion to me is at least trying to FEEL and UNDERSTAND what someone else is going through. For just a moment maybe I can try to see the world through their eyes. Covid has been rough but it has given us the opportunity to be much less preoccupied with our busy lives. We can no longer distract ourselves from the truth of what is going on. My message isn’t for black people and what they should do going forward. My message is to white people to open our eyes and our hearts. That’s the only choice we have, otherwise this will continue. Let’s choose to fight hate and fear with love and awareness. Ask not what can you do for me, but what can I do for you? Be the one to make the first move. In the end, love conquers all. #blacklivesmatter
As of press time, neither the Red Wings nor any individual associated with the team have said anything publicly, even with mass protests happening in their city and surrounding area.