NOTE: You must keep the remote handy in the event that the opponent scores a goal and you need to mute the sound. I don't want to hear about it from the commentators, and I certainly don't want to hear any music and crowd celebration during away games. Likewise, when the Wings score, the volume must go up when Mickey Redmond is giving the color. "Holy Mackerel!"
Tonight, the 11th Stanley Cup championship banner gets hoisted to the rafters of "The Joe" in pre-game festivities. I plan on calling my old high school chum - who now lives in Colorado and is a diehard Avalanche fan, so that he may share in my joy again. Yes, I will rub it in (again) as he has done to me on numerous occasions when the Cholera-ado hAvbeenalanche were talented. Besides, I know he is expecting that call (right Mike?).
Enjoy it while you can, 'cuz this might be San Jose's year (right MonkeyDarts?). You never know. The Detroit Swedes might revolt and give your boys a turn.
OK, enough of my arrogance. I would just ask once again that you not hate us Wings fans because we are perpetually beautiful. Just remember that we also have the Detroit Lions in town. With everything, balance. Can we agree that the Lion's pathetic record is a counterweight for the Wing's success?
Firing Lion's GM, Matt Millen (31-84 record since 2001) after the 0-3 start this season had the same positive effect as the newly printed trillion dollars thrown at the mortgage mess. The Lions lost 34-7 at home to The Bears last week.
The march down the road of futility continues. For the Lions too.
One of my favorite sports writers, Bob Wojnowski of the Detroit News, says "New year, same quest..."
Of course, they're returning almost the entire roster from a team that stomped to the best record in the league, then rolled through the pressure-soaked playoffs. They added the best free agent available, ex-Penguins forward Marian Hossa, who stunned the hockey world by turning down multi-year offers of as much as $80 million to sign for one year at $7.4 million. Hossa made it clear he came here only to win the Cup...Hossa is not the only underpaid player on this team, with player after player signing for less for the privedge to play for Detroit. In fact, the money left on the table, so to speak, would be enough to bail out Wall Street.
I'm a little concerned that the Wings have no official "enforcer" on the roster. Sure, the frequency of fighting is not what it used to be in the NHL, but it never hurts having a tough guy at the end of the bench ready and willing to stick up for the skilled players at a moments notice. The regular season is a long grind and you can bet that at one point or another, frustrated opponents will take liberties on the likes of Zetterberg, Datsyuk, and Lidstrom. Then who ya gonna call, Babcock? Aaron Downey, that's who.
Thankfully, as Downey put it, "Nobody wanted me." He cleared waivers and will be sent to Grand Rapids to start the season. I predict that before too long, Aaron will be skating with the Winged-wheel on his sweater and throwing one-punch haymakers at belligerent passersby.
Come to think of it, I could use an enforcer in the business office. Cartman? You up to it? Pic Pic?
The Wings will miss more than just Downey's fists. He is another one of those "character guys" in the lockerroom that you can never have enough of. Just ask Tigers manager Jim Leyland if he misses firstbaseman Sean Casey, after the disasterous season the Tigers just suffered through (then again, you'd better not ask Leland about that).
The Tigers went into last season with skyhigh expectations, but they quickly found they had lost their lockerroom mojo and team chemistry. Shipping Sean Casey (voted in 2007 as "the friendliest player in baseball" by fellow players) to the Red Sox before last season is just the best example of what went wrong, but certainly not the only one.
But I digress. We were talking about the Red Wings. The good news is that there is no evidence of any team chemistry problems. Their biggest challenge will be fighting the "Stanley hang-over" and staying motivated - hungry to do it again.