a href="https://hockeybuzz.com/blog/Jeremy--Laura/The-Winged-Wheel-episode-1/275/106128">Episode 1 of “The Winged Wheel” was filled with optimism as prospects seemed to be coming into their own. Episodes two and three look at the preseason game against St. Louis and the first 11 games of the regular season. Episode 4 could be labeled “Elation or Frustration”. There’s no in between. For Episode 5, the word “Oasis” comes to mind.
You see back to back shutouts against New York and Philadelphia and the hunger pains of the season creep back in. Hungry for scoring, hungry for defense, hungry for special teams, hungry for any sign of forward motion. The desert is treacherous and long, and relief comes in the most unlikely of places. A tilt against the Boston Bruins is where the team quenches the appetites of players and fans alike.
Perlini scores, Athansiou scores for the first time in 20 games. More than that, Bernier stops 39 of 40 shots. It is the hard reality that the team needed exceptional goaltending or high scoring (4 goals or more) to be in it on any given night. You could sense the relief as REO Speedwagon’s “Roll with the Changes” was blasting in the locker room post game. A victory song that didn’t see nearly enough air time for Detroit.
“Frustration is a wasted emotion”. That was Jeff Blashill’s mantra at the low point of the season. He’s correct, but the situation is simply overwhelming. Game after game of disappointment takes its toll on players and fans. There aren’t any answers coming. The front office was fairly quiet during this stretch. It felt a bit like a wake that lasted for a month or two. Everyone is broken hearted and trying to remember “the good times”. Fortunately, there are no awkward scenes of “over served” relatives falling off of barstools or walking into walls. For those who’ve experienced it, it’s only funny later. Well, at least 5 minutes later.
The fact that, out of all of this, there are players who want to use this time to propel them forward is inspiring. These are the times in life where someone inevitably gives up or falls off. The ones left standing become battle hardened. This is when losing goes from painful to unbearable, and the hunger to win creates future champions. With careful drafting, trades and development, this could be the foundation for such a conquest.
A good friend had the privilege to travel over to Israel and tour many structures that are thousands of years old. There was an old fortification that had been leveled. A bridge from the shore led to the isolated structure and had been the source of its destruction. My friend looked down and picked up a small shard of pottery. That bridge was made up completely of destroyed artifacts from an older city. Soldiers had ransacked and used everything from housewares to columns and walls to build that bridge.
In short, victory was built using the artifacts of defeat. It takes time, patience and vision. Here’s hoping for such a turnaround in Detroit.