To be honest, the Detroit sports scene is pretty bleak these days. After a promising start, the Tigers are hovering around .500, and before long they may be hunting for an apartment in the cellar of the AL Central. The Pistons made it to the playoffs but were obliterated in four games, after drawing the best team in the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks. Maybe they’ll get a better seed next year. The Lions are anxiously awaiting their annual “Super Bowl”, the NFL Draft. Where the next victims of one of the longest running championship droughts in sports history, will be brought into the fold. And, to top it all off, the Red Wings finished the season with the 4th worst record in the NHL. Ugh!
However, last week there was a ray of hope in this otherwise bleak April. There are few sports figures in Detroit who are spoken of with more reverence than Steve Yzerman. His soft-spoken demeanor and performance on the ice have placed him near the top of the list as one of the greatest NHL players of all time. After retiring from the Red Wings as a player, he took off for Tampa, and as General Manager turned one of the worst teams in the NHL into the very best. They finished the Regular Season with an unheard of 128 points, and are the odds on favorite to win The Stanley Cup this year. Last week, we found out that Stevie Y will be bringing his magic home to the pathetic Red Wings, as the new GM. If he can do half of what he has done for the Lightning, it shouldn’t be long before the Winged Wheel is once again one of the most feared logos in the NHL.
Our family has a special connection to the Red Wings. My sister, Cynthia Lambert, was the Red Wings beat writer for the Detroit News for twelve seasons. She wrote a great book about the experience. Cyndy would get our family into Red Wings practices, where Stevie, Sergei, Vlady, Lids, Ozzie, and the rest of the Wings, would be tuning up for the next game. After a while, I took having up close access to the players for granted. Just like many other Detroiters took the Red Wings streak of making the playoffs for 25 straight years for granted. Not anymore. Hopefully, now that we have the right guy in the front office, the Wings will be hoisting the Stanley Cup in the air in a few years. Hopefully, after taking his victory lap, the next Captain of the Red Wings will have the common sense to hand The Cup to The Captain, Steve Yzerman. Circle complete. Fingers crossed.
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