It’s an unsettling fact, that calamity can at times be followed by good fortune. For a historical example, much of the planet lay in ruins after the Second World War. Who remained untouched and was thrust to the top of the chain of power because of this? We did. Of course, this is a very unpopular and controversial observation to make. Just noticing it and pointing it out myself, makes me uncomfortable. Shortly after the pain of the Lokomotiv disaster faded, I was reminded of how all of Hockeytown rallied together after the limousine accident that ended the careers of Vladimir Konstantinov and Sergei Mnatsakanov. Seeing our most valuable player, Pavel Datsyuk, switch to number “24” for training camp and the pre-season, made the similarities even more eerie. A silver lining cannot be found when good men and women lose their lives. All we can do, is conduct ourselves in ways that we can imagine would make the lost proud. All we can do, is do it for Rusty, Brad and Stefan.
During the lockout, the Red Wings released a dvd set containing some of our finest wins, and our 3 (at the time) Cup commemorating films. Nicklas Lidstrom said of the limousine accident that victimized his former teammates: “You almost just wanted to give the Cup back.” It’s almost as if the wounding of the two Russians was some sort of perverse sacrifice that a Stanley Cup Championship demanded. Now I do not believe in fate, or destiny, or anything of the sort. The world is filled with too many incidents that leave us asking “why”, for any of these notions to be taken seriously. However, this is not a reason to despair. Along with hockey, I have an equally strong love for cinema. “No fate but what we make”, is a theme in the action masterpiece, Terminator 2. I can only speak for myself, but making our own “fate” by using what is given to us, sounds like much more a recipe for happiness than any other alternative.
So, as I step down off my soapbox, where are we left now? During the 97-98 season, the team had rocks with “believe” inscribed in them as an homage to their injured comrades. We shouldn’t be surprised if we see something similar from the team this season. Now of course, life is not a movie, and putting dramatic expectations on oneself is risky, to say the least. However, all of us at times need inspiration to simply keep moving, and inspiration can come from pretty much anything. So if the thought has crossed any of the players minds, and I’m certain it has, that this season is for Rusty, Brad and Stefan, than so be it. As I said before, I am nowhere near being at ease thinking this way, let alone writing about it for others. Perhaps it is too soon. But I owe it to myself, to the readers, and the craft of writing, to be honest. So think and say what you will about this piece. I’ll simply end by saying once more, that we should do it for our fallen Wings, Rusty, Brad, and Stefan. Go Wings.