The Detroit Red Wings have the longest active playoff-appearance streak– twenty-one years– in all of professional sports. With two games to go in the regular season, they barely are hanging on to the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The way this season has gone, failing to make the playoffs couldn’t be called a surprise, but the end of their postseason streak would be monumental for a historically great franchise.
As big as that seems, even bigger changes may be on the horizon for Detroit. Buried at the bottom of the ESPN.com story on last night’s win over the Los Angeles Kings was this note:
Chris Ilitch, president and CEO of Ilitch Holdings, which owns the Red Wings, said progress is being made on a new arena for the team.
(By way of background, Chris Ilitch is the son of Mike Ilitch, owner of the Detroit Tigers and the Little Caesar’s Pizza empire.)
I have been fortunate enough to see the Red Wings play in person three times– at Colorado, at Nashville, and at Chicago, plus the Red & White game in Grand Rapids— but never in the epicenter of Hockeytown: the legendary Joe Louis Arena.
I can’t imagine most fans will be happy to hear this news. For me, knowing that little is likely to stand in the way of the winged wheel of Progress, all I can do is redouble my efforts to make it to the Joe before time runs out.
[Cross-posted at Winging It In Motown. -Ed.]
Here are the scenarios under which the Wings keep their streak alive and make the playoffs:
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