Sunday, April 18, 2010

An open letter to the Detroit Red Wings

Dear Red Wings,

How are you? I'm doing okay. It's been an interesting postseason so far, eh? And I don't mean just your series; this whole postseason so far has been strange. I can't tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing. For us Wings fans, it's a bad thing right now, speaking strictly about your series [and maybe Pittsburgh's].

We fans walked into Game One this year not anticipating an easy victory, but not expecting what actually happened; you were out-muscled from the start and you stopped playing after the second period ended and lost because you didn't start playing until the last minute of the third. We know you're not the best physical team, but where was some Kronwalling? Where was Datsyuk throwing his weight around like he always does? Where was The Mule, especially since this is his time of the year? Hell, where was Bertuzzi?

You bounced back somewhat in Game Two and we were thankful, breathing a sigh of relief. You powered through the second period and finally passed Phoenix in goal-scoring and clinched a victory. We happily rejoiced at an early hour in the morning, sacrificing sleep to see you through to a win. We woke up the next morning happy yet tired, anticipating a victory in the next game because you were coming home. You would all be surrounded by your die hard, loving fans that would just empower you, and we all thought to ourselves, "How can they lose?"

But something happened. After a solid first period, there was a change. Fans around the Metro Detroit area cringed as your playing reminded us too much of that final loss back last June, one we all hope to forget. And you never bounced back from it. You found your momentum too late in the third to do much and you couldn't do anything about it. We sat at home and in the arena, unable to look at our team in the eyes.

We've pulled out all of our playoff rituals, all of our playoff superstitions, but it's not doing anything. No matter whether we wear the same shirt through every victory and toss it in the laundry when you lose and switch to another one, or fly a car flag on game days and after victories, or stop shaving to start growing a playoff beard, or make sure we sit in the same spot on the couch for every game, or eat the same snacks during the game, nothing seems to work.

We know these silly little things don't actually have an effect, but we've done them so many times that we can't bring ourselves to stop; we've convinced ourselves that we have an effect on your play, but they don't. We just hope that the message reaches through our television screens, reaches out towards you, either at The Joe or our west at arena or wherever you're playing, and lets you know that we're there with you even when we're not physically present.

It's been a rough season, we know. One of the worsts in recent history. And we understand the sufferings you've gone through, because we've been through them with you whether you realize it or not. The fact that you pulled it together after the Olympic break and rallied from ninth place to sitting neatly in fifth made us ecstatic. We were more excited for the playoffs than we have been in years. Normally, April arrives and all of us have the same bland thought of, "Oh. It's playoffs. Let's not get excited until we make it to the conference finals." Nineteen years of making the postseason will do that. But this year, we were losing sleep the night before Game One, thoroughly happy and too excited that our season hadn't ended three days before.

Us hardcore Wings fans have been through thick and thin with you this season and we will always be here. If you lose fans because you aren't winning, it's the ones that don't care enough about you or the sport. It's not the amount of fans, but the amount of love the fans give you.

We know you can pull through this. After all, it was just one loss in Game Three. Had it been Game Five and we were down 3-2, then we would be a little more concerned. You guys can pull through this. You've done it before and you can do it again. Just know that we're with you.

Our state has gone through some rough times in the past year and we've all had personal struggles that have taken their toll on our well-beings. But to see you, The Red Wings, win a game, even if it isn't important, it makes us feel a little better. It makes us feel as though you won it for us, to make us happier for a little while. Remember the Stanley Cup parade in 2008 and how happy everyone was? Times were bleak then, too, and they aren't much better now. Just think how much it would lift the city, the area, the state, if you could bring the Cup home again.

We love you, Red Wings. We always have and we always will. After all, this is Hockeytown - do you expect any less from us?

All of our love,

Your fans

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