SI – Michiganders Don’t Care About the Wings


Not a bad week to be a Detroit sports fan eh?  Tigers are in the ALCS, winning last night’s game in convincing fashion, and the Lions are 5-0 (it looks weird just typing that) and just dominated Chicago on Monday Night Football.  And, oh yeah, that one hockey team, what was their name again, the Red Wings?  Yeah, they started their season too, but no one seems to care. Well at least according to Darren Elliot at SI:

Then you have the Detroit Red Wings, long the benchmark of NHL excellence with 20 straight playoff appearances. Their season-opening game is as under the radar as I can remember. While my memory isn’t great, this is more about the Wings impressing to the point of being taken for granted, right now, even in home in Hockeytown!

Detroit‘s attention is elsewhere these days. The Tigers prevailed over the New York Yankees to reach the American League Championship Series and the once downtrodden Lions are 5-0 for the first time since 1956. Throw in the University of Michigan at 6-0 as it heads for a game against its in-state rival, the Michigan State Spartans, and sports fans in the area have more to cheer about than any others in the country right now.

Sure, the locals showed up at Joe Louis Arena for Friday’s perfunctory home opening win against the over-matched Senators. But with everything else going on in the city, please excuse even the diehards if they didn’t notice what the Red Wings accomplished next. For that matter, give everyone a pass for failing to measure how impressive the Wings’ 3-0 road win the next night in Denver truly was.

Now, where exactly Elliot got this idea that no one in Detroit is paying attention is a good question.  The Wings filled the Joe to 100% capacity for their season opener.  And Saturday’s game was in Colorado, a late night game against a bad team.  Were the ratings down?  I have no idea and neither does Elliot.  Did the fact that they won not get top billing on the Free Press sports page make you think so?   That’s all I can think of.

So basically, we have a writer who doesn’t even live in Michigan writing about how Michigan folk feel about the Wings, without any sort of stat to back it up.  All I know is that I saw quite a few Wings fans at the Pepsi Center McNichols Arena that sure looked like they cared.

You know what it seems like noone cares about though?  The fact that the Pistons won’t be playing for a while.

Courtesy of the best morning show around, the Free Beer and Hot Wings Show.

And what do you expect Elliot?  The Tigers are one series away from the World Series and the Lions are historically good (for them, that is) right now.  These are big deals for any city.  It’s a fun time to be a Detroit sports fan and I don’t blame them if a few folk don’t pay quite as much attention to the Wings as they would if they were the only game in town.

Hell, even the Wings themselves are getting into this:

Several Red Wings went to the Lions-Bears “Monday Night Football” game and planned on attending Tigers playoff games this week.

Red Wings forwards Pavel Datsyuk and Fabian Brunnstrom didn’t follow baseball or football in their respective countries, Russia and Sweden, but both are caught up in the excitementDatsyuk said he had fun at the Lions game.

“It was fun game to watch. Awesome,” Datsyuk said. “Everybody feel better, more people happy. I want to see smiles on faces.”

Datsyuk has been putting smiles on Michiganders faces for 10 years now.  It’s ok with me if we let the Lions and Tigs return the favor for a little bit.