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And then there were 15: Is Detroit’s dynasty on its last legs?

Apr 20, 2012, 10:59 PM EDT

NASHVILLE, TN - APRIL 20: David Legwand #11 of the Nashville Predators passes a puck past Henrik Zetterberg #40 of the Detroit Red Wings in Game Five of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2012 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs at the Bridgestone Arena on April 20, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images) Getty Images

The Detroit Red Wings were the first team to be eliminated from the playoffs with their 2-1 loss to the Nashville Predators in Game 5 on Friday. Detroit has consistently made the playoffs starting with the 1990-91 season and this is the first time they’ve lost in the opening round since 2006.

What happened? Detroit was competitive in every game, but Nashville Predators goaltender Pekka Rinne was superb. On top of that, it was the Predators depth players that stood up in this series and that proved to be a big factor.

Who takes the blame? There’s no single goat on the Red Wings’ side. They largely lost as a team. Their top players were mostly adequate, but not sensational and no one really rose to the occasion to lead this squad. That said, it’s worth noting that Johan Franzen, who just had one goal in five games after leading the team in goals during the regular season, failed to live up to expectations. That’s surprising seeing as he’s typically a great playoff performer.

What will they do about it? Detroit has committed to a long-term plan with most of their key players already signed for next season. The one big exception is Nicklas Lidstrom, who might retire this summer. If he does, the Red Wings might be forced to act out of their comfort zone and make some significant changes to their blueline in the off-season. Short of Lidstrom retiring, Detroit will probably stay the course for better or worse.

  1. hockinj25 - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    Not a chance they are done. They have great prospects coming up (Smith, Nyquist, Tatar, Jarnkrok) and have a ton of cap space to sign big name players (Suter, Parise or Semin). Holmstrom in done but Lidstrom has one more year in my opinion. They ran into a hot goalie this series. For the most part Detroit was better than Nashville but Rinne was incredible. They’ll be back next year, don’t you worry.

    • hines86for6 - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:49 AM

      Why can’t wings fans admit the 2012 Predators are better than the 2012 Wings?

      Not taking anything away from your great franchise, but beating them 6 out of the last 7 times they played this ssn doesn’t lie.

      • johnguelff - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:09 AM

        rinne is better than the wings..not the preds..lol..but hope the preds get to the third round at least ..

      • polegojim - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:18 AM

        Crawl out and read a few other posts…. Many Wings fans have agreed on that and respectfully said so in the first post.

        That said… the ‘you suck’ chant took away just about all ‘earned’ respect. Don’t look for any more kudos. Preds and fans will get more respect when they act respectfully and act like winning is familiar.

      • dangle13x - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:16 AM

        Im a Wings fan, I admit it. Nashville outplayed us, especially tonight. And Pekka Rinne… wow..

      • michflaguy - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:46 AM

        Regular season doesn’t matter (Wings were the better regular season team). The Preds are definitely the better playoff team. I’m a Wings fan and it was frustrating to watch the Wings be dominated in this series. The scores may have been close, but the Preds controlled much of the ice in each game, and their goaltender was FAR better than the Wings’ Howard.
        I love my Wings…but it’s time to make some big changes. We are still too slow, and we need that all-star goalie.
        Congrats Predators…you’ve got a great team and some great fans. Good luck in the next round.

    • polegojim - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:36 AM

      I agree that they’re not done…. but some things need to change.

      They may have been competitive, but TOTALLY reactionary. They played tentative and unsure. Never where they ‘the hunter’, but acted like ‘the prey’. The big guns were quite ‘common’. Nobody lived up to expectations, not even close. It was a poor overall performance on many levels.

      I say Kudos for making it 21 straight years… but time to stop living on that.

    • billyklub - Apr 21, 2012 at 12:41 PM

      As a Predators fan since day one, our goal was to some day measure up to the best team in the NHL, Detroit. It appears that we have finally arrived. It’s like finally beating your big brother at something. I have nothing but respect for the Wings and hope Lidstrom comes back because he is a class act and still has more talent than 90% of the NHL players. That being said, I’m proud of the Preds and hope they don’t feel as though this the summit.

  2. spavs412 - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:12 PM

    One more season nick!! From a pens fan too

  3. islandersfan - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:13 PM

    In all honesty, while Detroit may have been tired and worn down this series (more so by the end of it) The Preds are an elite team. This matchup could’ve (should’ve) happened in the second or third round. This win is more about Nashville than it is about Detroit, Detroit will reload and be back.

    • bensawesomeness - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:15 PM

      I gave you an upvote i just wanted to say that i couldnt have said it better myself – Nashville’s elite, people just havent seen that yet

  4. sigep316 - Apr 20, 2012 at 11:39 PM

    I’m seeing a Nashville vs St Louis western conference final! That will be a great series! GO BLUES!!!

  5. bobhpine - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:00 AM

    Exactly who in this free agent class is that good?

    • johnguelff - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:11 AM

      parise..suter weber..semin-

      • hockeyflow33 - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:33 AM

        those guys are terrible, no one will want them

      • dangle13x - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:17 AM

        those guys are terrible? well you just proved your incompetence.

  6. jdmix - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:08 AM

    No way Suter would go to the Wings now that the Preds owned them this season! Wings fans need to quit living in the past. They are a good team, but Preds are in charge now.

    • polegojim - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:26 AM

      What exactly are the Pred’s in charge of? The ‘almost won a Cup Club’? Oh wait, they’ve never even REACHED the Finals… let alone WIN.

      I think they’re good enough this year to be the Champs…. but until then and until they’ve even remotely proven to be a perennial dynasty…. they’re not in charge of anything – they’re just good.

    • billyklub - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:47 PM

      We split 6 games with Detroit during the season and just now beat them in a playoff series on the 3rd attempt. Both teams were wild card entries, so I’d say neither is “in charge”.

  7. jdmix - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:26 AM

    The only reason a lot of teams hate the Wings is because of their fans not the actual team. All you guys want to talk about is how many cups you have and not the fact that your team is under achieving. Your fan base created the “you suck” .. Enjoy your golf this summer while we keep playing in Nashville “Honkytown”

    • polegojim - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:43 AM

      The only time Wings Fans typically use the Stanley Cup Championships and 21 years of playoff success.success as a BAT, is when upstarts ‘self proclaim’ and show disrespect before the deed is done.

      Stay humble and celebrate when it’s been earned. Nothings been earned except one series. Get past the next three, THEN start talking. Until then, hate all you want, you won’t bother us a bit.

    • dangle13x - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:19 AM

      yea epic snide comment guy. I will happily admit the Preds were the better team. You just come off like a buttplug.

      • polegojim - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:39 AM

        Just a fact, nothing snide intended or offered. I have even less patience for arrogance without evidence.

    • 3yardsandacloud - Apr 21, 2012 at 4:12 AM

      Your comment proves the point. “Honkytown”? Really? Gee, what is that a play off of? I seem to remember a few years back Sabres fans (I believe) tried to challenge Detroit that they were the real “Hockeytown”. Didn’t work. Especially when their team has been irrelevant. Add in that team in Illinois that added “Hawkeytown”, making the same silly play on words that Nashville is now employing.

      DRW is the bar for all NHL franchises. No one has been as dominate over the past 20 years. Certainly no one has won more championships, which is how you measure true success. I’ve grown up watching the Wings and at no point do I recall Detroit starting a “you suck” chant. It seems to be the Colorado’s and Chicago’s of the world that pulled the “Detroit sucks” stunts.

      Regardless, Nashville played well enough to win and Rinne really stood on his head the whole series. He outplayed Howard and Nashville fans should be happy your team won. However, the position that “Detroit sucks” or whatever other ridiculous chants I’ve heard throughout this series, is untenable and exudes classlessness. Detroit didn’t deserve to win this series, and so they didn’t. It’s a huge leap to say they’re done, etc.

      As for whether this is the end of a Dynasty, the short answer is no. 1) Datsyuk, Zetterberg and Franzen are back for sure; 2) Lidstrom is probably going to play another season; 3) The Wings have money to spend on a top 6 forward and a top 4 defensemen; 4) Helm, Eaves, Tatar, Nyquist, Smith will be regulars in the lineup next year; and 5) Ownership is committed to winning year after year. A few years ago, DRW fell off a little bit and ownership went out and improved the team. They’ll do the same thing again. There won’t be a fire sale; they won’t be closing up shop. The roster will improve and DRW will be competing for the cup next season.

  8. frankiesweep - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:33 AM

    This was an easy series to pick… I’m not a fan of either team, but I picked Nashville in 5.. Wings are old and need to start trading some of those older guys for prospects… And don’t give me that they had a 100 points during the regular season… They are not strong enough to have an impact in the playoffs.

  9. jdmix - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:39 AM

    Thanks polegojim for proving my point! keep living in the past and hold on to those “old cups” cause it’s gonna be a while. Say what ever you want but the Wings got cooked! You did get 1st in one category! First team to get sent home from the 2012 NHL playoffs.

    • polegojim - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:45 AM

      Yawn…

    • dangle13x - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:21 AM

      tya good one. Obviosuly you Nashville fans don’t have much practice, but learn to win with class. I’ll happily admit the Preds were the better team, but white trash losers like you are an embarassment to your fan base. Maybe you hicks will figure out hockey eventually.

  10. saintez - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:10 AM

    @polegojim. You have plenty of time now to think up more reasons why your wings are better than the preds while the preds and their fans get set for round 2 and wings pack their bags and tuck their tale and go home.

    • dangle13x - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:22 AM

      haha loser. you don’t know a thing about hockey. \so pathetic. good luck in the future when all your stars leave that white trash disgrace of a hockey city.

      • billyklub - Apr 21, 2012 at 1:18 PM

        Easy with all of them name calling. A lot of Preds fans respect the Wings. Detroit has just as many white trash fans as Nashville and hockey in NOT physics. Saintez does NOT speak for all
        Predators fans….thank God…

    • polegojim - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:43 AM

      Really Saintez? I don’t remember saying that even one time. Read my other posts – I said “Congrats to the Preds, they were the better team.”

      Forget the emotional melt downs. Try sticking with facts. You can talk all you want about ‘tuck tail and go home’ after ONE year when… the Preds don’t before the end.

  11. ven9898 - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:36 AM

    Dude, i’m from neither town, but to call Nashville a hick town over Detroit, come dude, at least Nashville isn’t all white trash.

  12. underwoodsbeard - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:45 AM

    Hi, Preds fan here…

    LET IT GO. Any Preds fan coming over to this thread to trash talk is a troll. Do it on the story about the game and the Preds, not on a story about the Wings and Wings only.

    That being said, Dangle, polegojim, you guys lost. You gotta sit there and take it. Don’t resort to low blow stereotypical insults to feel better about yourself, big guy.

    We’ve had hockey here for over 50 years. Not taking a jab but it started when car companies moved jobs from DETROIT to TENNESSEE. You of all folks should know this.

    I grew up playing my whole life. Probably took it farther than some or most of you. Don’t know and don’t care because it doesn’t matter. You don’t know what everyone knows about hockey. And even if ‘some yokels don’t know a lick about hockey’, doesn’t mean ya gotta put em down. This ain’t Polo, you ain’t gotta be elite society to enjoy hockey.

    In short, keep it clean, take your whooping, and Preds fans stop being lame trolls looking to pick fight with Wings fans wherever you can. Good Night.

    • polegojim - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:47 AM

      AMEN!

  13. cbush1018 - Apr 21, 2012 at 4:04 AM

    Okay just wanted to throw in my two cents. I am a wings fan, I like many things about the team and it’s history. However Nashville has an all out better team than us right now and I said that from the beginning. I had Nashville winning in 5 or 6 on my bracket. And this was not simply due to pekka rinne. No it was their whole team better defenseman kept many shots rinne faced savable. Their team has a ton of talent and deserves to go far this year. However I’d also like to point out even as a wings fan I feel we have a strong need to obtain stable veteran or proven defenseman to either play along lidstrom or whomever may be on our top line. We need to make some major changes as many players in our lines seem to be just bodies to fill the roster. Hockeytown it’s time to develop and change.

  14. paperkid96 - Apr 21, 2012 at 8:46 AM

    Its hard to win a cup. Really hard, ask 29 teams every June. As a wings fan I no longer get mad when I see the headline of “this is the end of the Dynasty” or the “wings are old and tired” blah, blah, blah. This year as well as, 11 of the last 15 years the Wings exited the playoffs without drinking beer from the cup, but that’s okay because you can’t win it every year. With the Wings Management I have confidence that they’ll reload and be back next year.

    Here’s a look at what the Wings have done in the playoffs the last 15 years:
    97 – Stanley Cup
    98 – Stanley Cup
    99 – lost 2nd Rd
    00 – lost 2nd Rd
    01 – Lost 1st Rd
    02 – Cup
    03 – Lost 1st Rd
    04 – Lost 2nd Rd
    06 – Lost 1st Rd
    07 – Lost in WCF
    08 – Cup
    09 – Lost in SCF
    10 – Lost in 2nd Rd
    11 – Lost in 2nd Rd
    12 – Lost in 1st Rd

    Note that when they lose in the 1st round it doesn’t mean there done. It means they go back to work and work harder than ever before and come back and win another cup. Holland didn’t make a move at the deadline because he was going to mortgage the future for a long shot at a cup that he knew his team wasn’t good enough to win. He’s going to go out and get good free agents and the young guys will be ready over the next two years.

    As for Free Agents not wanting to come to Detroit. Ha, I laugh at that. We are talking the Redwings, not the Pistons, Lions, or Tigers. Hockey players love the idea of playing for an original six team. For Preds fans you can google that and understand since Hockey is new to you. In this sport it seems to be important to the players.

    As for being old, just stop. Average age on the team is 29.5. Brought up significantly by one Nick Lidtrom who at 41 is still better than 95% of the players in the league. The Wings don’t need to play teenagers and kids that can’t drink without getting a fake ID from one of their 22 yr old team mates. Why? They aren’t desperate, they can let them develop in the AHL, oh, that and they never draft in the top have of the draft, because that means you lose a lot of games.

    So, Nashville enjoy your victory. And Who ever wins the cup Enjoy it. Because the Wings now have a few extra weeks to do their home work. They will reload. They will be back for the Cup. They’ll take it back home.

  15. steelerhypocrite - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:15 AM

    Hey wings fans, before you start ripping on other fans take a look in the mirror. You are the same bunch of retards that stand up and waive into the camera as the play is going by…you act like amateurs…

    • polegojim - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:45 AM

      …and it took you ALL NIGHT to think of THAT post?

  16. mcmuskie79 - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:21 AM

    Ha Ha Take that “Hockey Town” USA!

  17. howardforvezina - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:30 AM

    Dont you have something better to write Ryan like the playoff scenarios who the Preds could play in round two.

  18. howardforvezina - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    As long as Ken Holland is there they will keep winning.

  19. howardforvezina - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:38 AM

    Hey Dangle13 people with your attitude make all the other Wings fans look bad. Nashville is a great city and most people are intellegent there.

  20. dchockeydna - Apr 21, 2012 at 9:55 AM

    Why the wings have had an early playoff exit the last four years? It’s been in the works for a while. This happens when you have the same type of player across the board, too many similar players on the same team. There needs to be a combination of size, play making, quick, fast, tough, grinding, age and sharp shooters. Go up and down the Wings line up and what you will find from the top line to the fourth line will be for the most part the exact same body type and style of player. I will never question a player’s heart or effort, but when you have a team with most players that are my stature 5’11” 190 lbs. grinding against the average NHL player 6’1” 205 lbs. for 82 games is too much to endure going into the playoffs. Your body can only give and take so much and you don’t even realize it, you feel as if you’re putting forth you best effort (which you are) you coaches and team mates feel the same way, but at some point the body just can’t produce results.

    After all the regular season grinding here come the playoffs and you can’t stay out of the penalty box and who are your best penalty killers??? Your best offensive players…that’s just great. Penalty killing is some of the hardest work on the ice and your best offensive players are exhausting themselves killing penalties for literally half the game and now you expect them to score? C’mon Man! (Thanks Keyshawn)

    Now goaltending, hmm let’s think about that…Detroit scored 9 goals in five games, folks you’re not going to win many games averaging less than two goals a game. Anyway, it’s not about your save percentage or the numbers of shots or how many saves you make. It’s about timely saves, saves to keep your team in the game or saves to maintain a lead. A goaltender gets paid to do exactly that, make saves especially when your team is struggling to score, make that all important save and give your team a chance to win!

    I can review the entire roster and tell you what I think about each player’s regular season and playoff performance; I can tell you what and why their short comings were in the playoffs. Not right now though, this pot is long enough however if anyone is interested on my perspective let me know.

    Oh yeah, last but not least. I need to talk to someone at the NHL headquarters about the officiating and the directives they have been given; they are destroying the game I love. I have a different perspective then they do and I believe I can make the game better, if interested please contact me!

  21. chad615 - Apr 21, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    To all you wings fan go crawl back into that $hit hole you crawled out of. You can claim hockey town all you want but all I can say is I’m sorry that’s where you come from nothing but wife beaters and flat bills. For all you saying hick town red necks and so on go look it up 10th wealthiest county in the us these rednecks can actually afford to live in a nice place unlike all the white trash wings fan go back to your $hitty city!!!!

  22. jdmix - Apr 21, 2012 at 2:58 PM

    I think the biggest problem Preds fans have are the annoying Wings fans who always state the following: ” we have X amount of cups. how many do you have, don’t talk till you win a cup, you don’t get respect till you earn a cup.” cup this cup that blah blah blah.. After beating the wings 6 times in the last 7 meeting and winning a playoff series 4-1 I am pretty sure we have your TEAM’S respect and that is all we want.
    Some wings fans don’t realize you are comparing a team that started in the 1920s to a team that started in 1998. A team in a town where hockey is everywhere to a town where hockey is just started and growing.
    Being the face of the NHL had made some wings fans too cocky with any and everything. That’s why so many teams around the league hate the wings. I really enjoy watching the wings and like most of their players. Its some fans that I don’t like.

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