The rumors are getting louder. Time is getting shorter. The men in suits keep talking. Yet all the Detroit Red Wings fans seem to want is one thing: to watch hockey this fall.
There is still no new collective bargaining agreement in place and less than 30 days before time runs out. This could cause a lockout and prevent hockey from being played in the NHL for the third time in two decades. All this talk, all this squabble over money and rights ends up hurting those who seem to care about the sport the most: the fans.
In Detroit all summer there have been rumors of Hockeytown’s impending doom. Around the league there are solid arguments being made that the boys in the winged wheel will finally miss the postseason. The defense appears greatly shaken: There was the trade of Brad Stuart and the huge retirement loss of Nick Lidstrom. Although they may be all star players, Pavel Datsyuk and Henrik Zetterberg are one year older, not younger. There were the missed signings of Zach Parise and Ryan Suter. There was story after rumored story about Detroit this offseason, but one all too solidified rumor makes Red Wings fans more terrified than ever – a lockout.
We in Detroit love our sports. We have stood by our Lions, Tigers, and Pistons through highs and lows, and over the past 20 years there has always been a huge amount of pride we put behind the Red Wings franchise. No matter what is happening in the other sports, we always have our Red Wings to cheer on and root for another title. The thought of not having the Red Wings skating again this fall would be crushing to Hockeytown’s fans.
After all, why do you think we call it Hockeytown?
The Wings took third place last year in the division. They were fifth in the conference. The perennial Detroit power was knocked out too easily by a division rival that has never before knocked out the Wings in the playoffs. In Detroit we were already predicting a rough season. We were already toughening up our skin for the bumps and bruises that would come. Clawing and scratching for a 7th or 8th conference finish was going to be acceptable for transitioning Red Wings team. We were ready for all that.
Taking away our hockey? No. We are not ready for that.