The Red Wings are this league’s greatest asset. There is no Jeremy Lin coming around the corner to save the day. The NHL’s Jeremy Lin is in street clothes in Pittsburgh. Without Sidney Crosby what does the NHL truly have? It has the Red Wings, a barnstorming team from coast to coast. If you’ve ever been in an opposing arena you will know what I’m talking about. You feel at home on the road with the Red Wings because arena’s are usually filled with your homies who root for them.
I am sure the plan was in place many months ago, but I find it curious that this area gets the Winter Classic when Crosby is shut down and may never be the same. It seems as if the league is giving the Wings something it should have had a long time ago — a home Winter Classic. The game will be played at Michigan Stadium so the league can break attendance records. I’m not a big fan of it because downtown is the right spot for the game.
However, Comerica Park won’t sit empty because of a number of other games and festivities which hopefully will make downtown jump.
The Wings also made their own history by winning their 21st consecutive home game at Joe Louis Arena. Players skated around the ice and gave fans a 21-win salute. They also sent a message to New York. Shove it Mr. Commissioner. The Red Wings along with a handful of other Midwest teams have the most difficult and mind bending schedule in the NHL.
The Wings should not be a team winning 21 straight home games simply because they travel longer distances than anybody. Fans don’t understand how difficult it is to perform at home on a Tuesday night after playing back to back weekend games in Vancouver and Edmonton. It wears on you.
I went through several 82-game seasons with the Pistons and some nights you don’t who you are, let alone where you are. The Pistons schedule was grueling but it was not Red Wings grueling because at least they played in the Eastern Conference. Teams like New York, Philadelphia and Washington should enjoy long home winning streaks. They can take the subway to some away games.
The Wings should be in the East. Most of us want that and most of us realize that is the right place for them to be. But the Wings sent a strong message to Bettman. You can play your games but you cannot stop us.