The NHL should be synonymous with speed, strength, skill and grace. Not economic minutia and financial brinksmanship. But, at 9:23 pm on October 23, 2012, matters of dollars and cents continue to dominate hockey headlines. This absolutely sucks. There is no elegant way to describe it. Fans of the other sports get to watch games and we get to watch snakes in suits point wrinkly and chubby fingers at each other. The only people who find pleasure in lengthy discussions regarding wealth are those who have an unhealthy lust for it. So, this being the case, let’s have some adolescent fun.
It’s hard to believe that Detroit’s 2002 Stanley Cup Championship was over 10 years ago. This cup marked the unofficial end of the “Yzerman Era”, even though Yzerman played for Detroit until the end of the 2006 season. Although the Wings have suffered set backs since the captain’s departure, they still have remained the premier squad in the NHL, clearly demonstrated by another cup added to the collection in 2008. Some fine, fine players have suited up for Detroit since Yzerman called it a career, and I thought it might be fun to take a break from our routine of having hopes dashed by stale press conferences and long sighs.
So, in this spirit of jollification, I put together a dream team for Detroiters, comprised of players who filled Yzerman’s skates admirably.
Line 1a: Holmstrom-Datsyuk-Hossa
Line 1b: Hudler-Zetterberg-Franzen
Line 3: Samuelsson-Filppula-Cleary
Line 4: Draper-Helm-Maltby
Defense 1: Rafalski-Lidstrom
Defense 2: Schneider-Kronwall
Defense 3: Chelios-Stuart
Goaltenders: Dominik Hasek, Jimmy Howard
Personally, I think the “Yzerman-Fedorov Era” would be a more appropriate title. Reverse 19 and you have a player just as valuable, if not more so. But, the Detroit brass delivered a steady supply of the NHL’s elite long after the centers who carried the city had departed. While leaving Osgood off the list of goaltenders might raise some eyebrows (and it shouldn’t), consider that Ozzie was never even nominated for the Vezina Trophy in his career, and claiming that his impressive numbers are the result of anything other than the team in front of him is foolish. The best answer to the claim that “Osgood won two Stanely Cups” has always been a quick production of a golden roster sheet, and a reminder that hockey is a team sport.
It will be some time before we see a team like the one above in Detroit again. The roster above is scarcely different from the one that fell one goal short of winning a consecutive cup in 2009. But at 10:25 pm on October 23, 2o12, any Red Wings team would suffice.