So Detroit’s in town and you know what that means: listening to everyone talk about how great they are.
Here’s a brief list of things about the Red Wings that people actually believe:
1. Boy isn’t Chris Osgood wonderful? One of the best goalies ever. He’s got 400 wins or probably even more than that now! What a guy! Three Stanley Cups, two as a starter. Bang-on Hall of Famer. Guy just loves the game. Gotta love him!
2. And oh jeez isn’t Tomas Holmstrom just one of the toughest customers goin’? You can’t move him in front of the net and he just cleans up all the garbage. Rock solid player. The kind of guy you want a whole roster of.
3. Ken Holland sure is a genius. Look at this roster he assembled. Wow! All those Stanley Cups are certainly because of him.
4. Their European scouting is second to none. No one digs up megastar players in Europe like the Wings. They make every other organization look like blithering morons.
5. Their fans are some of the best in the league.
None of these are especially true. Not one. Let’s take this point by point.
1. Chris Osgood is actually a pretty goddamn terrible goalie that happened to fall ass backwards into playing for the best team of the last 20 years. His career stats are on par with those of Marc Denis, who is a) terrible and b) not fortunate enough to have been on the Red Wings. Would Denis have flamed out with the Wings? Probably, but guess what: Osgood did too. He’s lost the No. 1 job for that team like four times. Honestly, four. And that’s not to denigrate Jimmy Howard, who’s a perfectly good NHL goaltender. But hell, Osgood lost his job to Manny Legace, and Manny Legace’s career numbers are almost as bad as Chris Osgood’s. Osgood is also an insufferable moron who got the piss beat out of him by Patrick Roy.
2. Tomas Holmstrom sucks. If he was on any team other than the Red Wings, the single most loyal-to-a-fault organization in all of professional sports, he’d have been out of this league a long-ass time ago. What does he actually do? Go to the front of the net? Lots of guys do that. Obstruct the goalie and never get called for it? Okay, maybe that’s a unique skill. Hit the ice with the force of 10 atomic bombs whenever someone touches him? Lots of guys do that, and everyone calls them on it. Lots of guys don’t do that and get the label anyway. How does Holmstrom skate on that when he can’t even skate in real life.
3. Ken Holland has had the easiest job in the NHL forever. Prior to the lockout, it was "Give Lidstrom, Shanahan, Fedorov and Yzerman whatever they wanted, and then use the leftover money to sign whoever you feel like." He also accidentally picked one of the skillsiest players ever in the seventh round in 1999 and one of the best all-around players in the league in the sixth in 2000. Then the cycle got to repeat all over again. And I can say he picked them accidentally because the rest of his history at the draft is almost Darryl Sutter-levels of badness. You can build a team around four players if they’re at the top of their game, so after the lockout, his strategy reverted to "Give Lidstrom, Datsyuk and Zetterberg whatever they want, then use the leftover money to sign one- or two-and-done free agents, and trade all your first-round picks."
4. Detroit has the reputation for drafting Euro players like they’re finding gold in piles of bear crap. Since 2001, how many European players have the Leafs taken outside the first two rounds that have made an even slight impact at the NHL level? The answer is two: Johan Franzen and Valtteri Filppula. Now I know what you’re thinking: Those guys are pretty good! And sure they are. But the problem is the Red Wings believe their own hype, and draft an insane amount of Euros despite their relatively low success rate. Of their 51 picks outside the first two rounds since 2001, they’ve taken 30 from European teams, and just four have made the NHL. Yeah, they’re great alright.
5. Their fans are all mutants who don’t go to games.
In summary, blah.