Draper and Ozzie retire. Era ending?


Kris Draper has retired. Chris Osgood has also hung up his skates. BAM! JUST LIKE THAT, an Era has transition to near completion.  This is nearly all of the core from back in the original Championship days, save for two. The mighty C Niklas Lidstrom and the fine Agitator, Tomas Holmstrom.

You remember those days, eh? When the Wings were starting to get really good. The days right after the Wizard Scotty Bowman came to coach the Winged Wheels. Then we went to a Cup Final, but lost to the Devils. The next year  we soared back  with one of the greatest regular seasons, but were bested by our new arch rival, Colorado. We finally hoisted Lord Stanley’s prize in 1997, only to have the community spirit absolutely crushed with the tragic limo accident that occurred just six short days after ending a 42 year drought of the Cup. The next year we proved to be like steel as we repeated as Cup champs to honor our fallen teammates.  The Early Yzerman years. The Russian Five. The Grind Line. The Wizard of Oz. YES! Do you remember THOSE times?

Well, those times  are nearly ended, now, with the sad retirement of two truly great community assets.  No longer will we see the blazing red of Draper’s  beard come playoff time. No longer will we feel his passion seething out of the tv screen. We won’t see any classic Ozzie saves or even hear a classic Ozzie media blurb anymore. After Lidstom and Holmstrom retire, that is it. There will be no more remaining players from that roster. Their faces slowly faded from the Red Wings over the years. We lost Federov, as you all can remember that, I’m sure. Larionov called it quits after a while. The Great Captain Stevie Y retired. McCarty, Kocur, Shanny, Maltby, Murphy, Ward and the rest have all ended their time as Red Wing players.

This really saddens me because it feels like the End of an Era. I started getting into the Wings in 1987. I was 10. I remember Yzerman at a young age. I remember our coach Jacques Demers. He used to do the Ford commercials with all the other pro coaches in town like Sparky, Fontes, and Chuck Daly. As my interest in hockey and the Red Wings progressed, so did the team. They retooled every year and kept fighting until they won Back to Back Cups. That era was special to us Red Wings fans. Those were the gentlemen that vindicated 42 years of frustrations. Those were the players that won Mr Ilitch his first hockey title. MAny of us got to see our team march down Woodward in a Victory Parade for the first time.

I think about it further, and cheer up a bit. My thoughts wander and I realize that the Era hasn’t Ended, but rather the torches are being passed to the new generation of motor city bloodline. The Red Wings brass has always done this transition masterfully. This is a positive testament to the bossman, Mike Ilitch and Jimmy D’s  running of this franchise. Bowman and Holland should be included here, too. They killed the Dead Things Era and brought back to life, like a phoenix, the greatest American hockey franchise in the NHL. But, as I was saying previously, the Red Wings brass has done transitions masterfully. the Captaincy transitioned well between Yzerman and Lidstrom. This was a seamless transition. Elder statesmen of the Wings have always passed down the stories, the legacy, the winning culture. Hull mentored Dats and Z on the Two Kids and an Old Goat line. Draper has mentored Helm, Ozzie mentored Jimmy Howard. In this way, the Legacy of the Originals will continue as those mentored players will in return pass down their Legacy once more, when they retire into the shadows and pass on the stories of glory.

 


About MotorCitySportsGuru

Thank You very much for taking the time to stop by and read my commentary on professional and college sports here in our great state of Michigan. We have such a storied history and rich tradition of both professional and college sports, that I am sure to have many journal entries! My hope is that you find each entry well reasoned, well researched, well written, and from the heart. You may not always agree with my analysis, but I hope my commentary is discussed frequently around the water cooler, while amongst family and friends and even while playing Euchre, eh! Loyalty. Passion. History. I have been following Detroit and local college sports with enthusiasm for over 30 years! I have watched our teams triumph, fall, rebuild and hold us captive as we have rooted for them to win the big game. Well, in the Lion's case, just ONE game! I have seen our beloved players come and go and come back again for round two. Players like Gibby, DMac, Big Ben, Dominik Hasek and Dan Petry rank in that category. I have watched our state groom successful high school  like Magic Johnson, CWebb,  Mike Modano, Justin Abdelkader, Brian Rafalski and Tim Thomas. We have also produced successful college athletes such as  Tom Brady, Charles Woodson, Desmond Howard, Andre Rison, and Rod Brind'Amor, to name just a few. The thrill of victory and the agony of defeat have touched and shaped my life!  I have had the pleasure of  seeing this region host a Super Bowl, World Series, and an All Star Game. I have seen Michigan win National Championships in football, hockey and basketball. I watched as Izzo and Michigan State won a National Title in basketball. I have seen the Tigers win a World Series and go to another one. Our Bad Boys have won three World Championships while appearing at five. I got the esteemed pleasure of watching the greatest running back  in Barry Sanders turn on a dime week in and week out for a decade.  I love my teams and I am happy to have created this outlet to share my thoughts and analyzations with you. Interactive and Engaging Please, feel free to visit my journals frequently. I am just starting this site and will continue to look for new and exciting ways to improve upon it. I plan on engaging my readers and offering a high level of interactivity to help you keep coming back for more commentary.

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