Archive for the ‘Detroit Red Wings’ Category

Dissecting the most interesting/obnoxious Cup Finals storylines

May 30, 2009

Update: Check out this very interesting (and odd) SCF preview from Alexander Dubcek.

Let’s take a look at the big storylines of this Finals re-match.

Hossa-gate

Somehow this was the only Pensblog Hossa Photoshop I could find. Arrrrrgh.

Anyone who discounts this as “just a media creation” is totally nuts. When a free agent signing causes people to create Two-Face Photoshops, there is obviously plenty of relevance to the situation.

However, I’m one of those Penguins fans who was happy to see him leave (although strictly from a salary cap stand point). Simply put, Hoser is a great player who is not worth $7 million. We can gnash our teeth debating that point, but there are only a few players who can justify a cap-busting contract. Can you say that Crosby-Malkin-Hossa would be worth having awful depth for the next five years?

Surely, the guy’s face kind of pisses me off. Will I scream to the heavens if Brooks Orpik knocks the shit out of him in the slot? Absolutely.

But Hossa didn’t come to Pittsburgh by choice, he was traded there. People act like Hossa was a long time teammate but he came to the team toward the end of the season, barely played any regular season games and then had a fantastic run in the post-season. It was great to see Sidney Crosby have a great winger for once, but let’s face it: losing Ryan Malone was more of an “emotional” blow than Hossa ever was.

The Penguins: favorites???

Going in to the series, it seemed obvious to me that the Red Wings should be the favorite.

1. They have home ice

2. Let’s face it, they fucking creamed the Penguins last year.

3. Don’t forget, Johan Franzen wasn’t healthy for much of the SCF. So the Red Wings basically are going into this series with the team that beat Pittsburgh plus Marian Hossa AND Johan Franzen.

Yet, a surprising amount of people are predicting the Penguins. I will root relentlessly for Pittsburgh and be depressed if they lose, but if I had to put my (future, imaginary, candy-based) house on the line my pick would be the Red Wings. (Sigh)

Chris Osgood

Penguins fans really don’t like Osgood. I’m on record for calling him a queef.

That being said, watching NHL on the Fly’s press conference coverage Friday night made me realize that Osgood probably has to answer the same goddamn tired questions over and over and over again. Seriously, if you were him, wouldn’t you start douching every one just out of the monotony of the “are you the weak link?” line of questioning?

Jesus I better stop or I’ll start empathizing with the Keebler Elf/non-Blue Smurf looking motherfucker.

(Oh, and PLEASE stop calling him a Hall of Famer. If you barely hold onto a starting goaltending job against Ty fucking Conklin, you’re not worthy of being in the HoF. Sorry, brah.)

The Health Factor

One of the bullet points MSM members have been using is the relative “health advantage” the Penguins have going into this series. I find this to be a heavily overrated idea.

Nicklas Lidstrom isn’t 100 percent but Sergei Gonchar is pretty banged up too. The Hurricanes weren’t able to take advantage of Gonchar’s bum knee, but it was obvious that the Russian veteran couldn’t skate quite as swiftly in a few odd man rush/broken play situations.

Obviously, the Red Wings have some depth guys who are banged up, but teams that make it this deep into the playoffs are almost inevitably beat up. Considering the fact that the Penguin vigorously block shots, we can assume they have some guys playing hurt too.

Don’t get me wrong, the Penguins might be a bit healthier but it’s a tremendously exaggerated advantage.

Star Power

After watching almost every second of the Penguins’ playoff run, I can say that the Penguins have some nice support players who show the ability to maintain a high level of play throughout a game. That being said, when it comes to scoring goals, the team is highly dependent on their two super-duper-stars.

In the salary cap era, that is far from shocking. But the Red Wings can go into this series thinking “if we can hold Malkin-Crosby to a draw, we have a bunch of depth players who can steal a game.”

Hopefully, Sid and Geno have shown skeptical hockey fans that they are worthy of the immense hype they’ve received. Annoying message board people will never go away unless they win a Cup, but the Penguins showed me plenty. Even if they have to settle for the Prince of Wales trophy for a second straight year.

Sadly, Red Wings have defense and team play like no team the Penguins have seen in the playoffs.

Again.

Advertisements

Judging Jordan (and other playoff nuggets)

May 27, 2009

Be careful what you wish for?

Maybe. If you would have told Penguins fans they’d make the SCF in February, most would have looked at you funny and mocked your turtleneck. Yet here they are after a resounding sweep of the Carolina Hurricanes.

Some scattered thoughts from the playoffs:

  • It’s not fair to blame Cam Ward and Eric Staal for the series loss. Both had some low moments (Staal being held to a mere sprinkling of points; Ward allowing that ugly Max Talbot goal), but they need some help. Ray Whitney was abysmal. The Hurricanes’ D couldn’t handle Malkin or Crosby. Media members always want storylines, but a lot of times one team is just deeper, meaner and more talented.

The Hurricanes should seriously consider going after a quality offensive free agent to ease some of the burden off of Staal.

  • After witnessing Rob Scuderi limiting Alex Ovechkin toward the end of their second round series and playing very well against the Hurricanes, I was prompted to check his contract status. Rut roh: he’s an unrestricted free agent for 2009-10. Could this be a problem for the Penguins?
  • Rudy Kelly rightly pointed out that the Penguins might have been wrong when they passed up talents like Jonathan Toews and Phil Kessel to draft Jordan Staal. Still, Kessel is injury-prone and Toews might be too great to keep under contract (or as the third banana). Staal’s lack of finishing touch can be really frustrating, but he’s still an extremely impressive player who’s willing to play a lesser role alongside the Penguins other blue chip centers.

His size and defensive instincts give you the impression that he could be an amazing asset going forward. It’s hard to say, really. Would it be better to put a Todd Marchant-type cheaper veteran in Staal’s spot and put the $4 million toward a younger winger who could finish all the great opportunities created by Crosby or Malkin? Or could Staal continue to blossom into a player who could allow the Penguins to more or less roll three great lines all game long?

  • This year’s Penguins team is more of an adventure than last year’s runner-up. Last year, they didn’t even go to a game 6 (until the Red Wings claimed the Cup on Mellon Ice, the bastards). Yet this year’s scrappy bunch almost missed the playoffs, went down 0-2 to the Capitals and won a Game 7 on the road.

This team has really grown on me. Even to the point that I think I like this team more than last year’s version. In 08-09, Ryan Malone played with marshmallows sticking out of his nose, showing an undeniably endearing amount of grit.

This time around, it seems like everyone is willing to put it on the line. Even Miroslav fucking Satan looks like he’s expending energy out on the ice each game. They’re also less “stacked” without Hossa and some other solid supporting players, making them about as close to an underdog as a team with Crosby and Malkin can be.

Will some extra sand paper and an extra year of experience be enough to overcome (probable opponent) Detroit? Probably not. But either way this Penguins team is special.

Staal vs. Staal vs. tired storylines (and other Conference Finals nuggets)

May 18, 2009

  • The Staal brothers clash being a generic storyline has … become a generic storyline. You’ve got to love the way the Internet deep fries cliches. Lazy throwaway crutches get trotted out and then everyone makes fun of those crutches. When calling something a cliche jumps the shark*, then we’ve officially gone a little bit insane.

That being said, the interesting thing is that Staal vs. Staal might be a more “legitimate” matchup than Ovechkin-Crosby for a simple reason: there’s the fairly solid chance that Jordan will actually be given the task of shutting down his big brother’s line. After all, Staal-Matt CookeTyler Kennedy was the forward combination thrown out against Alex Ovechkin.

Could it be that the mainstream media’s cliched headline act might actually decide the series? My head hurts now.

  • Will it even matter who wins Canes-Penguins?

It’s the opinion of myself (and many others) that the team with the best chance of knocking off the defending champions was the Anaheim Ducks. The Blackhawks are a team with a nice combination for a playoff run: young legs, a couple veterans and key contract year performers. But after Sunday’s game, it’s pretty obvious they’ll need more than a couple lucky bounces to make the Red Wings worry.

The only place the remaining three teams can look to for hope is the Red Wings’ penalty kill. The Ducks’ PP outscored the Wings’ PP despite having less chances. The Blackhawks went 1/1 on Sunday, one of the few bright spots in a game Chicago was fortunate to have tied going into the third period.

  • Many people (rightly) complained that Evgeni Malkin has often been unfairly overlooked in all the Crosby-Ovechkin hoopla, but despite a nice 10-point effort, Geno was rightly overshadowed in the second round.

Could Geno have a big round three? The odds are in his favor: home ice, a nice break between rounds and another Southeast Division opponent. That being said, the Carolina Hurricanes seem to be quite a bit scrappier than their division neighbors.

While the Capitals seemed quite sleepy at home, the Canes fed off their rabid fans (and … Bill Cowher) to take some upset victories. Few were impressed by Washington’s unconvincing win against the Rangers in game 7; we don’t need to tell you about their performance against the Pens. Yet on the opposite end of the spectrum, Carolina shocked the Devils in the last minute in Newark, NJ and then managed to out-hustle the Bruins to an OT win.

  • It’s hard to imagine the Penguins taking a playoff foe lightly.

Just look at last year’s playoffs: they finished their Eastern rivals off in 5 games or less, never taking a game off. This year’s edition has had to battle quite a bit more (about to enter their 14th game of the playoffs, which was all they – amazingly – needed to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals last year), but they are lead by the relentlessness of Sidney Crosby and a nice group of character players.

That being said, it also wouldn’t be outrageous if there is a BIT of letdown after the super-hyped second round matchup.

Of course, the Hurricanes might end up being flat-out better than the Penguins …

  • There’s a simple reason that Jonathan Toews and Patrick Kane saw only about 15 minutes of ice time in Game 1: they were awful. Kane, in particular, produced very little beyond turnovers.

Perhaps this comes from missing most of their games, but my impression is that the Hawks’ dynamic duo tends to feed off of advantageous matchups at home. Don’t be surprised if they struggle in Game 2 and then “magically” find their fire** back in the Windy City.

But please don’t make this just about experience. The Red Wings have Nicklas Lidstrom, Brian Rafalski, Johan Franzen and a soul crushingly deep group of quality players to torment any team young, old, hairy or whatever.

It’s fun to make something “the factor” in a playoff series, but sometimes one team just grossly out-classes another.

* – I actually prefer using “Jump the Cheeseburger,” an ode to the seminal Canadian TV comedy “Trailer Park Boys” but feel the reference will be too obscure. Sadly.

** “Find the fire” = “Get a more favorable matchup.”

Karmic battle tied: Hockey 1, Horse racing 1

May 5, 2009

We beat up on NBC all the time. Seriously, we really take out a lot of aggression on the peacock. Seriously.

But let’s give the network a little credit; they stuck with the Anaheim-Detroit game even though it went to three OTs. In fact, the devotion was deep enough to preempt a racing event. Somewhere, Chris Drury is smiling. (Of course, he’s just grinning as he collects his ill-gotten riches). We felt it necessary to provide a subtle hat tip to a network that gets a LOT of abuse from the hockey blogosphere, particularly on this blog. Thanks, NBC. Maybe you’re not so bad after all? (OK, let’s not get ahead of ourselves)

The Anaheim Calling gang did a nice breakdown of Game 2 of Detroit-Anaheim. Be sure to check it out.

Anaheim Calling on the controversial Mike Brown hit on Jiri Hudler

May 2, 2009

It’s not quite a hockey Zapruder film, but Mike Brown‘s (borderline? dirty? suspension-worthy? incidental?) hit on Jiri Hudler caused Hudler to get 10 stitches and hockey fans to debate the merits of the hit. Some compared it to Scott Stevens‘ hit on Paul Kariya. Some said it was like Donald Brashear‘s late hit against the Rangers.

Read about it on the Detroit-Anaheim blog. Where should it land on the Wheel of Misfortune?

Round 2: Who’s under pressure?

April 30, 2009

With the second round set to begin in Vancouver tonight, the stakes are rising for the remaining 8 teams. Still, expectations and future outlooks play a huge role in how a team’s playoff run is evaluated. Taking that into account, which teams have the most to lose (and gain)? Are there any teams “playing with house money”? Let’s take a look.

1. Boston vs. 6. Carolina

Both teams defied expectations this season. For the Bruins, that came early, as Boston went from being a nice little 8th seed last year to a squad good enough to make people wonder if they could go toe-to-toe with San Jose and Detroit. In Carolina, the Hurricanes went through most of the regular season looking like their typical selves (limping through stretches, remaining thoroughly mediocre … the ultimate bubble team) and then all of a sudden became arguably the hottest team in the NHL.

Hockey fans will probably remember the Canes stunning two goals in 1:20 to shock the Devils for years to come. At this point, Carolina is the perfect foil for a number one seed: they’re playing their best hockey of the year and just seem to have everything falling in place. If they lose, no sweat, really. Right?

One thing that stands out for Boston is that they have some tough salary cap decisions to make. David Krejci and Phil Kessel are RFAs this summer. Marc Savard only has one year left on his contract and will certainly command a bigger cap hit than his current $5 million.

The B’s are a nice story, but the startling depth that made them such a juggernaut won’t last forever.

Bruins have way, way WAY more to lose than the Hurricanes.

2. Detroit vs. 8. Anaheim

The second of two “behemoth vs. Cinderella” match-ups, although the Ducks have more to lose than the Hurricanes (and the Red Wings are probably yawning at the pressure of being heavy favorites).

Anaheim will have a lot of questions to answer this off-season, particularly when it comes to Scott Niedermayer. Could this be the last year of the Norris brothers?

Still, the Ducks can’t sweat it too much when they look at their young forward trifecta: Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Bobby Ryan make up quite the nice group of sub-25 threats. With Getzlaf and Perry wrapped up for a long time at a low cap hit, Anaheim isn’t crazy to wonder if the sky is the limit.

And if they get bounced, it will at least make Jonas Hiller easier to re-sign.

It’s difficult, however, to muster much fervor for the Red Wings. Yes, it would be a letdown if Detroit blows this series but they won the Cup last year. They have a mountain of talent wrapped up for below market value prices. If they screw up this year, they’ll be a top-3 seed for the next decade anyway.

Ugh.

Detroit has more to lose than Anaheim, but they both have bright futures.

2. Washington vs. 4. Pittsburgh

No doubt about it, Sidney Crosby and Alex Ovechkin have a lot to lose in this series. They are the two faces of the league and will suffer from harsh Photoshops, mouth-breathers in comments and a predictable “I TOLD YOU SO!!!!!11” mentality. Evgeni Malkin can obviously swoop in and show that perhaps he should be the Hart trophy winner instead of Ovechkin.

Hell, even Alex Semin has plenty to prove after his “Kane over Crosby” comments from earlier this year.

If you had to choose, the slight edge in pressure might go to the Capitals. They are the higher seed with home ice advantage. After barely beating the Rangers in a 7-game series – and getting, honestly, severely out-played at times in that decisive game – the Capitals need to show that they’re not just a weak willed collection of gorgeously talented Europeans.

The Penguins have “been there” before, putting up a cute little fight against the Red Wings in the SCF last year. In some ways, that means that they have quite a bit to lose, as they don’t have the excuse of inexperience.

The Capitals and Penguins face extreme pressure to deliver on all the media hype, with a slight bit more on the Caps’ shoulders. Either way, someone’s getting flamed in a message board before this one is done.

3. Vancouver vs. 4. Chicago

The Canucks are an odd story this season. On one hand, you have disappointments like Mats Sundin and the hot button issue of re-signing the Sedin twins. There’s also the oddness of Roberto Luongo being the first goalie to be a team captain since the railroad industry was thriving.

That being said, there’s the “aha!” season of Alex Burrows and the assorted flavors of hard scrabble two-way forwards this team provides. Will Kyle Wellwood make you pay for that fat joke? Shall Ryan Kesler show us why he’s a Selke finalist? Lots of sneaky good guys on this team.

One story I promise to beat to the ground is that the Chicago Blackhawks shouldn’t be so loosey goosey this year. Everyone seems to think that the BLACKHAWKS ARE A TEAM OF THE FUTURE. While that would be great, it might not be so easy.

Martin Havlat and Nik Bulin are all but gone, barring some crazy hypnosis-based contract signings. As I wrote before, the team might have a devil of a time re-signing its talented trio of Kane-Toews-Keith between now and the 2010 summer.

Yes, the Hawks are still in their cliched “losing to learn how to win” season, but they might want to think about skipping that process altogether. Things might get a lot tougher for this team in the future.

The Canucks are under more pressure, but the Blackhawks are under more pressure than you’d think.

Pronger: kryptonite for the Super Wings?

April 30, 2009

Great stuff from Joe at the Detroit-Anaheim blog: taking a look at everyone’s favorite gap-toothed, elbow-throwing defenseman’s effect on the Red Wings. Make sure to check it out.

Five Questions: Detroit vs. Columbus

April 16, 2009

Everyone, welcome Joe, our Columbus-Detroit blog editor. You might know him as “IAMJoe,” a frequent and quality commenter at Battle of California and Mirtle’s From the Rink. He wrote a 5 Questions post from the Red Wings perspective. Here’s a slice of it:

“Detroit has a rich history, but part of that history over the last several years is walking a goalie out in front of a firing squad, when his defense may be more to blame for a playoff loss than he is. This was the case with Curtis Joseph in 2003, and with Manny Legace in 2006. Both goalies may not have played their absolute best (though CuJo did better than Legace, I think), but the problem was more to do with the Wings complete inability to score goals, combined with allowing opponents to own the front of their own net.”

If his posts and comments are any indication, running the mini-blog might bring Joe into the vortex of full-on hockey blogging. It’s a disease, Joe, but it’s one that might end up being as fun as anything you’ve ever done. Well, almost anything.

Hockey Orphan: IAMJoe on the Detroit Red Wings

April 14, 2009

So you’re sitting on your couch. You’re probably in your underwear. It’s sticky, because somewhere along the line last night, you spilled your beer. On the table in front of you, beer cans surround a bag from Taco Bell. It was a harsh night, coming to grips with the fact that your team won’t be making the playoffs this year. You love the NHL playoffs, but its just not the same without having a team to root for. You stumble to the computer, and find yourself at Cycle Like The Sedins, where your NHL playoffs are about to change. You’re about to join the ranks of Red Wings fans across the world.

So why would you root for the Wings? Well, let’s count the reasons:

A History Unmatched By Any Other American Franchise

The Detroit Red Wings have been around since 1926 as a franchise, and in their current incarnation since 1933. In that time, they have 11 Stanley Cups. The Jack Adams trophy (coach of the year) is named after Jack Adams, former Red Wings coach and general manager, and the Norris trophy (defenseman of the year) is named after James Norris, long-time owner of the Red Wings. 39 people are in the Hockey Hall of Fame, having played or staffed with the Red Wings, 35 of which served multiple years with the organization. Of course, that’s not counting at least 4 more sure-fire HoF’ers in Yzerman, Fedorov, Shanahan, and Lidstrom, or the benefactors of the Adopt-A-Star program, like Hasek, Chelios, Hull, and Robitaille.

With a history like that, the Red Wings set a pretty high standard. They don’t retire someone’s number even though they only spent two seasons there (Nice Bourque banner, Denver!). They don’t retire someone’s number just because they didn’t have any other banners up there. They don’t have to do gimmicks, like retiring a number for the fans. They set the bar really, really high, and then they ask every player that enters the organization to try to meet that standard. Even the other American Original Six franchises (the Rangers, Bruins and Blackhawks), hard as they try, can’t even come close to holding a candle to the history of the Detroit Red Wings. As for the Canadian franchises, well, they’re dirty anyways, and have rarely been relevant for the last couple decades.

Friends Are Everywhere

No NHL team is more popular on the road than the Red Wings. No matter where you go, you’ll find some friends to share a drink and harass opposing fans with. From the thousands of Michigan expatriates (including myself), to the casual fans who get hooked by what amounts to an all-star team, there are Red Wings fans everywhere you go. No matter where you go, you can be sure you’ll find fellow Red Wings fans, and together, you can have a couple drinks, and bust the balls of any fans who get in your way. Clad in red and white, surrounded by an aura of self-righteousness, we’re even easy to identify. That reminds me…

A Sense of Entitlement


Being the most successful franchise in the NHL for bordering on 15 years now, you’d think the Wings wouldn’t have much to complain about. But you have to remember, nobody likes a dynasty, and no matter what, everyone is out to get the Red Wings. They’re an eastern timezone team playing in the Western Conference. They get suspended for not showing up to the All-Star game. They even made a salary cap to try and hamstring the Red Wings and allow the rest of the league to catch up… and they still won another Cup. No matter what obstacles the NHL throws at them, the Big Red Machine just keeps plowing through them. I’d say thats pretty admirable, that no matter how the deck is stacked against them, they keep winning. As a freshly minted Red Wings fan, you get to complain about how the league wants to screw you over, and as fans of other teams call you a crybaby, you can just point out to them that you beat them before, and that you’re still beating them, no matter what they throw in the way. They’re just sore losers anyway.

Classic Cool

A lot of teams out there think its cool to have “alternate” jerseys. But really, only about 4 teams have anything even remotely cool for an alternate jersey (Good on you, St. Louis). Instead of having to go and buy the latest alternate jersey, or the newest redesign, you can rest safe knowing that when you buy a Red Wings jersey today, not only will it be cooler and better looking than nearly any other team’s jersey, but that the team will still be wearing the same jersey 20 years from now. Home Improvement and Ferris Bueller both featured prominent Red Wings jerseys, and you can still watch either one and the jersey itself doesn’t look dated at all. When you’ve had nearly the same exact jersey, with minor changes, for the last 75+ years, you’re kickin’ it old school.

Fighting For Equality

The Red Wings have been fighting to end racism for years now. They were one of the first organizations to aggressively scout overseas in Europe, and that allowed them to draft several Russian and European stars that no one else wanted to take a chance on. They became the first team to play an entire line of Russians. Lidstrom became the European born and trained captain to win a Cup. By embracing these players, even though they looked different, talked funny, and had funny names with lots of extra vowels, the Red Wings helped break down the walls of racism in the NHL. Quite frankly, if you’re a fan of people who talk funny, you’re already a Red Wings fan. If you’re a fan of guys whose names you couldn’t spell to save your life, you’re already a Red Wings fan. If your name is James O’Brienov or Earl Sleekski or even James Miiirtle, you’re already a Red Wings fan.

Welcome to Red Wings fan-dom. Your life just got a whole lot better. Now go take a shower, clean up the beer cans, and put on some pants.

If the Detroit Red Wings were an NBA team, they would be …

March 25, 2009
=

The Detroit Red Wings are the NHL’s version of the LA Lakers.

Why?

1. American institutions

When you think of the top teams in their respective sports, the Red Wings and Lakers are among the five team a casual sports fan would blurt out. The New York Knicks and New York Rangers might compare to these teams in terms of value, but neither of those Big Apple franchises can match the dominance of these two storied American sports franchises.

2. Multiple eras of dominance


Although the Red Wings had the “Dead Things” Era, Detroit dominated multiple generations of hockey. From the days of Gordie Howe to the Steve Yzerman age to the current ZetterbergDatsyuk dynasty, Detroit justifies the stupid “We Don’t Rebuild, We Re-Load” slogan on the back of my eight grade football team T-shirt. (Wildcats for life motherfugees)

The LA Lakers might not have as many championships as the Boston Celtics, but even with Kevin Garnett‘s greatness, the Lakers has been more successful in recent years. The Lakers have arguably an even more dominant lineage than the Red Wings as Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain passed the torch to Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar who then made way for the Shaq-Kobe three-peat and now the “Europeans plus Kobe” gang.

3. Dominant Coaches

The Lakers had Pat “My hair is a daily Valdez spill” Reilly and now employ the league’s hippie-tastic answer to Red Auerbach, Phil Jackson. Detroit employed Scotty Bowman, almost undoubtedly the greatest coach in hockey history, as well as Mike Babcock (the coach of the decade, according to certain geniuses).

4. Shrewd, heart breaking and borderline unfair moves
The list of amazing players the Detroit Red Wings found in the lower depths of the NHL draft is a thing of mind blowing genius. Just take a look at some examples of their Tom Brady-like bargains: Pavel Datsyuk – 6th round; Henrik Zetterberg – 7th round; Tomas Holmstrom10th round; Nicklas Lidstrom – third round; Sergei Fedorov – fourth round.

While the Red Wings made the rest of the league look stupid with brilliant drafting, the Lakers made their biggest moves mostly through trades. Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul Jabbar came over to the Lakers in lopsided Gretzky-like deals. Kobe was drafted with a pick the Lakers acquired in a trade; Shaq came to LA after starting his career with the Orlando Magic. The deal to bring Pau Gasol to LA was so lopsided that some NBA figures hinted at foul play.

The Lakers and Red Wings are proof that the rich get richer.

5. Infrequent, yet sometimes extreme tragedy
That’s not to say these teams never fell on hard times. Magic Johnson became HIV-positive. Steve Yzerman was forced to retire after a grizzly eye injury. Few hockey fans could forget the awful limo accident that nearly took the life of Vladimir Konstantinov.

6. A bunch of championships
The Red Wings have the third most Stanley Cup championships (behind Montreal and Toronto) with 11 while the Lakes have the second most NBA titles with 14 (behind Boston’s 17).

But just to play the devil’s advocate:

  • The Red Wings lack a polarizing star like Kobe, despite what some Penguins fans will tell you about Marian Hossa.
  • Los Angeles is a West Coast, sun-baked city full of fake breasts and false hopes; Detroit is full of blue-collar workers living in fear for their jobs.
  • The Lakers were awesome in the Eighties while the Red Wings were the Dead Things.
  • To our knowledge, a coked-out Jack Nicholson never showed up to Red Wings games.