Detroit Red Wings fans do not realize how lucky they are

San Jose Sharks v Detroit Red Wings
San Jose Sharks v Detroit Red Wings / Nic Antaya/GettyImages

Back in 1982, Olivia Newton-John's song "Physical" topped the charts. My parents married and promptly went on their honeymoon. My dad's" oldest brother, affectionately called Aunt Ron, accompanied them. For some reason, my sister had once called him aunt instead of uncle, and it forever stuck.

Captivated with Pac-Man and pinball, the guys didn’t notice the car being towed. Meanwhile, the Detroit Red Wings were sold to Mr. And Mrs. Ilitch. A new era of Red Wings hockey was born.

Since then, I could see how people argue that the Detroit Red Wings had the deck stacked against them. Between officiating, the draft, and the National Hockey League's (NHL) player safety, to name a few, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth, to say the least.

It's hard not to think about the sheer luck of the Detroit Red Wings.

From the Ilitch’s purchasing the Red Wings and sticking with them for over a decade without winning to getting the consolation prize of the 1983 NHL draft (so happened to be Steve Yzerman), to Jimmy Devellano coming aboard and sticking with everything, to Keith Gave and his efforts with the Russian Five, to just the Russian Five, the Grind Line, the broadcast team, the social media team, and everything else I can’t mention because it’s already way too long.

To make a short story long, one of the most recent people I’m grateful for is 2024 all-star Alex DeBrincat. 

Though DeBrincat’s an all-star at the expense of Dylan Larkin, unless Larkin’s voted in, I couldn’t be happier with the selection. I can’t speak for Larkin, but seeing his reaction for his teammates on the ice and in media interactions, I imagine he’s ecstatic as well. Also, some downtime might be best for Larkin.

Larkin has gone through a lot in his NHL career.

I flashback to Larkin last year. He was so emotional when all of his friends left, but Tyler Bertuzzi seemed to unleash his emotions. It’s interesting to me when people say Larkin’s emotions make him less of a man, immature, weak, or he should keep those feelings private.

Elaborating on some of the emotions that might be involved, Larkin arrived in Detroit in 2014. Arguably, Larkin has faced the toughest challenge in the organization since Yzerman was in his playing days for the Red Wings. Larkin lost his captain abruptly because of injury. Next, alternate captain Niklas Kronwall retired. The Red Wings fell off the proverbial cliff, dragging Larkin with the rest of the team.

As the plummet continued, essential members of the team left. Noted best friends left Detroit, and, in turn, Larkin stayed. Whether it was by choice or out of their control, it doesn’t change the impact on Larkin.

Larkin could have easily been traded. It seems common for players in his position to request one. Sometimes, it’s more understandable to ask to leave than to stay.

Larkin’s dedication to the Red Wings’ illustrates his mental toughness.

Since Yzerman took over in 2019, things have looked better (minus the actual 2019-20 season because that was the worst season of hockey I’ve witnessed). However, it couldn’t have been easy and still isn’t easy for Larkin.

If the 2019-20 season was the bottoming out, drafting Moritz Seider and Lucas Raymond (among others) was the methodical ascension, and DeBrincat is the catalyst, the jetpack to the climb upwards. NHL draft odds be damned.

DeBrincat’s impact is felt throughout the lineup, on the power play, and off the ice. His infectious attitude flawlessly fits with the personalities in the Detroit Red Wings dressing room, which is matched by his hard work on the ice—Oncemore, DeBrincat opened doors that never seemed possible before.

It is incredible to see Larkin go from tears last season to him remarking how weird it was seeing Patrick Kane in a Red Wings jersey for the first time. We get to watch a real-life movie play out before our eyes, and no one can convince me otherwise.

Would the Detroit Red Wings land Patrick Kane without Alex DeBrincat?

Regardless of my feelings for Kane, it’s wild to think a player with the number of teams he could have chosen from would pick the Red Wings. I’m not sure if Kane plans to stay long-term, but DeBrincat alone has opened the door to show the Red Wings are on their upswing. 

There’s renewed hope whenever I see Alex DeBrincat grin ear to ear. His team-leading 17 goals and 38 points doesn’t hurt either. Heck, he might even score 40 goals at this rate.

For a 5’8” Farmington Hills native in his first season with his hometown team, not too shabby. He would have my vote as an all-star, too (with all due respect to Larkin).

It's great to be a Red Wings fan and you can celebrate with a guaranteed win waiting for you at BetMGM! Just sign up, deposit $10 or more and then bet $5 or more on Red Wings vs. Oilers. You'll win $158 in instant bonus bets! Sign up with BetMGM today.