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. That being the case, episode 6 is a trip back to Death Valley.
A 4 game losing streak out east, trading Athanasiou and Green, acquiring Timashov and Gagner. There weren’t many breaks for fans after the all star break. Athanasiou was a beloved home grown player for several reason. His hands seemed to have caught up to his feet last season, and there was reason to think he would hit the 30 goal mark again. Instead he managed just 10 goals and 14 assists. There was the knee jerk reaction to think that A.A. Would explode in Edmonton. In 9 games he had 1 goal and 1 assist, even seeing some ice time with Connor McDavid.
Most of us want the best for all of these players, whether here or somewhere else. Athanasiou may well have been in his own head a bit during a contract year. The state of the team was difficult for anyone to put together career numbers. The speedy winger will be missed.
It was also at this time that Yzerman began to hold more pressers and give some more insight into the organization. His feeling that two second round picks were good value for Double A, as well as his assessment on who to keep and who to move were candid. No flowery language or canned answers. It was refreshing, but the sting of the season was still fresh.
With only one more episode to go, we are inching toward the next precipice. Where will Detroit pick this year? The Draft lottery on Friday is the next piece of the puzzle. From there, free agents. There are still nearly 20 expiring deals. Yzerman’s place on the board discussions for the AHL will help him to navigate those free agent waters. If there is no AHL season, the club has even more decisions to make. While the KHL and other leagues are still working toward a semi normal season start, DEL seems to be pushing off. That’s one less landing spot, for now.
Even now, as I type this, it feels a bit like a stop on Route 66. The arenas are empty, but look like any minute they could be filled and jumping again. It’s sad to hear the deafening silence. And, much like the shop keepers who are keeping the lights on, my eyes well up with tears as I think, “You should have seen it in it’s heyday. It was something to behold”. Here’s to the roar of the crowd, and the return of the joy that has been Red Wings hockey to so many of us for so long.