Early summer vacation for the Redwings as we all look forward to a 24th consecutive appearance in the Stanley Cup Playoffs. ??? The team played hard but, to me, something was missing. Wait a minute, an epiphany I just had! The Michigan Wolverines of college football fame (with a similar circumstance) visited Pasadena, California (my favorite city in California) many a New Year’s Day to play in the Granddaddy of them all : The Rose Bowl. Rarely, the prize was brought home bringing me to conclude they were more concerned with getting to Southern California in the dead of winter then winning (my opinion not the teams). Now, I am a Redwings fan as my blood is RED but Detroit appeared to have played their best hockey as the regular season wound down and then upon securing a 23rd Stanley Cup Playoff appearance just stopped playing. There were hard hits, missed goals, power plays, and other opportunities to score but they just didn’t seem to be firing on all cylinders.
Boston and Montreal, a classic matchup, will be a playoff round just as fast, furious, and fun as in previous years. When I think of this fierce rivalry the “Too Many Men on the Ice” game from the 1979 Playoffs comes to mind when Don Cherry coached the Bruins. As it goes the Bruins lead in the final minutes of regulation of the seventh game but Montreal not knowing the meaning of elimination, as they dominated the 1970’s, presses on. Then the infamous Boston too many men on the ice penalty put Montreal on the power play with forward Guy Lafleur winding up and shooting the frozen biscuit past Boston goalie Gilles Gilbert who falls backwards as if the puck a chainsaw and Gilbert a felled tree. The game went into overtime, Montreal won and then beat the New York Rangers to win their 22nd cup. Amazing what can happen when the opportunity door opens as in the case of the 2001 NFL playoffs between the New England Patriots and the Oakland Raiders highlighted by inundating snow. Late in the game NE was trailing and with the ball driving downfield when quarterback Tom Brady appeared to fumble, Oakland recovered and they felt the game won. Hold on though the fumble was overturned, NE continued their drive to the end zone and eventually won the game and the Super Bowl.
Both Boston and Montreal have proved the ability to win in the postseason and I for one will be listening reveling in the excitement shouted into the microphones not sure who will win.
Here’s to next season and a hopeful 24th straight playoff appearance for the Redwings and a deeper run into them!