It’s something we as Red Wings fans have known for some time beginning on opening night when Detroit took it to Tampa Bay. Sure they lost, but there was already a different feeling. This wouldn’t be like years past. Between Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider making the team and helping it along, maybe this was year the rebuild started to pivot.
Nearly five months later and just a game below .500, the Red Wings have certainly continued that feeling. They may not be playoff contenders this season, but something is brewing in Hockeytown.
And the Hockey world is beginning to take notice.
“But How about those Red Wings?”
Sportsnet’s Sonny Sachdeva spotlighted Detroit’s 10-7 loss the other night to Toronto but also focused more on how the young Red Wings are beginning their ascent out of the rebuild and into a more prominent standing. He writes:
"While Detroit’s navigating another season of lessons and steady growth rather than making the climb to anywhere near contender status, their potential has been on full display in 2021-22. They’re winning a higher percentage of their games than they have in five seasons. And while their chances at getting back to the post-season for the first time in that span are as slight as can be, there’s no question something is taking shape."
It’s something Red Wings have been enjoying all season, though general manager Steve Yzerman still asks for patience. A lot certainly has to go right, but a whole bunch has already started that way.
Perhaps the most reassuring part of this though is what else is on the way. Sachdeva quotes Darren Pang as saying this about Yzerman’s critical eye:
"“I would have to think that’s been a determining factor in how he’s evaluated so many of these players that maybe other teams wouldn’t touch… He saw something inside them — their soul, their spirit, their competitiveness, their hunger. That’s the way Steve was, the whole time.”"
Again, Red Wings fans know what Yzerman brought to the table as a player. Sure, his talent was at another level, but he played as if he was just another guy on the ice. He learned some hard lessons through injury and some bitter playoff outcomes, but through it all, he kept going for that elusive Stanley Cup. After he finally broke through in 1997, he’d add two more in ’98 and 2002 before hanging his skates up in 2006.
Now, he’s doing what we all hoped and building that spirit back in his current team. The fun part is not only watching it, but finding that the national writers are also seeing it, too.
A Final Note
This will be my last article with Octopus Thrower as I’ve accepted a staff writer position with Detroit Hockey Now. I’ve really enjoyed writing at OT, and am grateful to all of the readers who kept visiting after I started writing solo last January.
I tried to channel my inner Darren McCarty and kept grinding away, especially during some of the lean moments last season. The efforts paid off as I was joined by some fabulously talented writers and human beings in Alex Faber and Chris Giles, and just recently Delaney Rimer and Brendan Boyd.
If you’re reading this, thank you for your support, and returning to read some more. It’s been appreciated, and very humbling. I’m very fortunate to write about Red Wings hockey and I look forward to the new opportunity ahead.