The year was 1997, “Un-Break My Heart” by Toni Braxton was topping the Billboard Charts, “Titanic” was shattering box office records around the world, and Eddie Murphy was generously offering late night rides to “women” in Hollywood. It was also the last time that the Detroit Red Wings won a regular season game in Philadelphia.
As hard as it may to be digest this fact, it is indeed a fact.
Fast forward 14 years to the present, and it would seem going into tonight’s game against the Flyers that the Red Wings were long overdue for a 2 point victory in the city of brotherly love. Well, it seemed like they were due at least.
Mickey Redmond summarized tonight’s game perfectly in one word sometime around the halfway mark by calling the contest “fractured”. The entire first twenty minutes of play were littered by the sound of whistles and matching penalties being handed out by the guys in black and white stripes. The scoring was opened up on a power play goal by Scott “Hartnell Down” Hartnell after a very weak cross-checking call on Danny Dekeyser. On the opposite side of the special teams coin, the Red Wings continued to struggle with the man advantage, and were unable to capitalize on any of their 4 chances, including a 4 on 3 opportunity at one point. After Hartnell’s opening tally, the Flyers never looked back, and the Wings never found the back of the net.
The bottom line is the Red Wings got outplayed by a team that had lost their last 4 games, and have successfully defended their home ice against Detroit for almost the last 20 years. I won’t take anything away from the Flyers, their big name guys produced, Mason was a wall between the pipes, and they carried the momentum for basically the whole game. It was a tough and ugly 2 points to lose, especially in such a close points race in the Eastern Conference, but there’s no time and no reason to dwell on the negative.
There are some very big/helpful/important names close to coming off the seemingly never-ending injury list for the Red Wings (Remember that Datsyuk guy?!), and with an approaching home and home series coming up with Alex Ovechkin and the rest of the Washington Capitals this weekend, there’s a lot of work for Babcock and the boys to do to earn some much-needed points before the Sochi break.
Oh yeah, and a couple of more interesting things happened in 1997. A young Slovakian boy named Tomas Tatar turned 7 years old, and the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup.
Don’t stop believing Hockeytown.