Tonight we see what this team is truly made of. Games one and two? They were gross. But we lost each by a margin of only one goal. One bounce changed, one shot different, and this is a different series.
Make no mistake. We're facing an uphill climb. But tonight is the night we have the opportunity to show each and every one of the so-called "experts" the value behind veteran leadership. For every lazy writer or ignorant analyst that year-in and year-out criticizes the Red Wings for being too old, too grey, too battle weary - tonight is the night Hockeytown gets to show them exactly why that age and experience is necessary to achieve sustained excellence. Maybe now and again a team full of teenagers and early draft picks can luck their way to success (like a certain team on the other end of Michigan Ave), but to pull off something truly impressive - it takes what the Wings have. That veteran leadership? That wealth of experience? Those fists, heavy with rings? That's what can make the difference in a close series like this.
That's what can overcome all the cheapshots, all the diving, and all of the Californian "work ethic" that's been on display on the West Coast. Is it surprising that the team from an area where success is defined as being the best at playing dress up and pretend attracts the type of play we see from these Sharks? Is anyone shocked to witness the embellishments and cheap plays away from the action from a team that hails from the state that champions blow-hards over hard-work?
They may be flashy. They may be favorites. But here in Detroit?
- We couldn't give less of a shit.
We all know that this Wings team is capable of. We've seen it in flashes. I expect we'll see it tonight. Kris Draper's back in the action, ready to put those values to work. Outhustling. Outworking. Outcaring.
It's what ended the drought in 97. It's what put the Cup in Vladdy's lap in 98. It (and a ton of money) is what cemented Stevie and Scottie's legacy in 02. And it's what showed Gary that there's nothing he can do to stop us in 08.
It's what we've got, and what the Sharks clearly don't. They demonstrate it in every little cross-check when the refs aren't looking. They shower it in Howards face every time they take the extra couple strides and stop extra hard in the blue paint. They put it on display with every embellishment, every dive, every theatrical performance.
Do they have talent? Sure.
Do they have heart?
Not even close to what drives the Motor City.
Chase them back to the left coast tonight, Hockeytown. Scream and yell like there's no tomorrow. Lose your shit like it's going out of style. Show the fans from HP Pavilion what a playoff atmosphere really is. Give it your all.
12 to 12. Bring on the fucking fishies.