And with that… we say goodnight.

There will be no parade up Woodward this summer.

The Red Wings were eliminated in seven games by the Pacific Division champion San Jose Sharks. We’ll have a full postmortem up in the coming weeks and months, as we dissect everything that was the Red Wings’ brilliant season.

But right now, it’s time for reflection.

Have Drew Miller, Ruslan Salei, and Patrick Eaves played their final games in a Red Wings uniform?

Have Nicklas Lidstrom, Chris Osgood, Mike Modano, and Kris Draper played their final games in the National Hockey League?

Every summer, we’re greeted with hard decisions and tears and joy and confusion. And this summer will be no different. If any of those fine gentlemen decide that, yes, they’d like to spend more time with their families, put hundreds of fewer miles on their legs, and enjoy the game as a fan — well, they’ve earned that right.

Nicklas Lidstrom is still one of the best in the game, and if he’s not the best ever to play that position, he’s certainly in the conversation. We’ve been blessed to have him for two decades. Chris Osgood has always been the little engine that could. Love him or hate him, he got shit done and has several pieces of jewelry to show for it. The day he sits behind the podium is the day that the Hall of Fame conversation begins. Mike Modano is a boyhood hero of anyone born in Michigan in the last three decades. Having “one of us” make it to the league meant the world to us, and all he’s done is go on to become one of the best American-born players ever. Kris Draper is my hero, and always will be. It was clear by the time I was 11 that I wasn’t going to be Steve Yzerman. But I could be Kris Draper — working my ass off, making the best of my situation, and leaving people wondering who that was that just blew by them.

Our boys have — for the second year in a row — called it a season after two rounds of the Stanley Cup playoffs. In Hockeytown, anything less than a Stanley Cup is failure.

But it’s not all bad. There’s much to be proud of this season. By many accounts, 2010-11 was a year of unrivaled successes and beautiful, wonderful memories. The Wings became one of only a handful of teams to rally back from an 0-3 hole to force a Game 7. Alas, they fell just short, but if you’re not proud of these men… perhaps you’ll think differently in the morning.

For the second year in a row, a ragtag group of Wings fans descended upon Detroit: we partied hard, we enjoyed making real-life friends out screennames, and we raised a hefty sum for some deserving, heroic children who need Children’s Hospital to fight – and win – much bigger battles than the ones out on the ice.

We fought the man, or at least “Arby’s,” and got our Curly Fries back, letting anyone that would listen know that — no — we will not go quietly into the night, even when it comes to something as trivial as roast beef sandwiches.

We made noise when the authorities stepped in and said that we can’t toss our octopi onto the ice anymore. Sixty years of tradition cares not for your ridiculous rules, and we’ll throw whatever we goddamn-well please, thank you very much. And if you can’t look the other way and feel the need to fine one of us, the rest of us will band together and happily pay that young man or woman’s bail… and then round after round of Ghettoblaster.

Two players that have gotten a lot of flack from Red Wings fans — this site included — had coming out parties in this playoff season. Niklas Kronwall established himself as a big-game player, chipping in when he needed to and tightening up the defensive mishaps that burned our asses from time to time. Valtteri Filppula solidified his spot on this roster with incredible efforts and dizzying hockey IQ. If casual hockey fans didn’t know their names prior to this week, chances are good they’ve heard of them now.

Jimmy Howard, our very own Tiberius… somehow there were still doubters out there, folks that didn’t think he was  a game-changer, or that he wasn’t able to steal one for the hometown Reds. Here’s hoping they’re silent, because homeboy’s the real (fuckin’) deal.

There were Shirtuzzis. There were breakfasts with Mr. Holland. There were horsecops and Disney princesses and two Duffs.

We’ve got a lot in store for you this summer — more partnerships with Winging it, more Draft analysis, more live chats, and you bet your ass more podcasts. Thank you for being a part of our family and we look forward to having you back for a third season of The Production Line.

On behalf of my partners, Chris Hollis and Rob Discher, congratulations to our Detroit Red Wings — the most memorable non-Cup season of all time.

And, just to take the edge off…

The stunning Irina Shayk

...and her boyfriend Cristiano Ronaldo

12 thoughts on “And with that… we say goodnight.”

  1. Drew Miller better be coming back..for a casual “leino lounge” regular,  the guy still shows up and gives his all.  I could see him being the next Drapes…..Guy has heart.

  2. It was a fantastic season, and I don’t regret the time I’ve spent watching all 82 games (making it to the Joe for one) and the playoffs were a wild ride, with a comeback attempt that showed the Wings weren’t ready to lay down and die. I’ve added a Shirtuzzi to my roster of Wings shirts, I’ve met a number of wonderful Wings fans through the awesomeness of the Internet and Twitter, and I got to bond with my sister and dad over the best sport in the world.

    While the playoffs might be over, the Spirit of Hockeytown will still live on. We laughed, we cried, and we’ll do it all again as soon as the puck drops once again in October – be it with familiar, aging faces on the roster, or with fresh, new, young blood. I know myself, Metro Detroit, and every person that the Wings has touched throughout the years will still tune in and chant the 4 words that will ring eternal in the Joe:

    “LET’S GO RED WINGS!”

    Good luck to the Tampa Bay Lightning in the run for the Cup.

  3.  Fuck yes. Thanks for this – it was beautiful. Perhaps its because we were just living on borrowed time, but I don’t think I’m going to jail tonight. That’s a pretty good thing. 

    Also… I’m sure you’ll love this Petrella, but how clear is it that Howard is our new Wizzard? Doing enough in the regular season to keep us strong, but still seeming shaky here and there. Then coming out and proving to be the best damn goaltender in the playoffs. Since last year, Howard’s made me happier about being so damn wrong than I could have imagined. I’m pumped.

    This wasn’t Nick’s last game. That’ll end with 35 pounds of silver being hoisted over his head. There’ll be shakeups this summer, and I’m into it. Kenny will make his move, and we’ll land another 30 goal scorer. It’s gotta happen.

    Here comes the long, miserable summer. Keep the TP60 coming to make it bearable. Let the countdown begin.

    …is it October yet?

      1. Unfortunately, just a shitty speller. Also, I sincerely hope you feel better very soon. If for no other reason than you should be allowed to drown this bullshit in an ocean of booze.  

  4. I wanted the Wings to win tonight.  Badly.  I don’t *want* to golf you all next week (Monday 9:43 tee time) (please, you know this is true), but Hay-zus Cristo, tonight’s game was intense.  I so wanted the Wings to put it in the bag.  Yes, I took a moment away from the kids tonight and furrowed my brows and may or may not have uttered a four letter word or ten.  I do wanted a Wings v Canucks conference final.  I expected it.  San Jose?  Meh.

    What you may or may not know: My hockey fanship dates back to just 14 months ago–The Olympics.  That was my introduction to a hockey puck and Mike Babcock and the start of me cheering for the better team (Team Canada, in that case).  You must know I haven’t technical knowledge of hockey (I’ll get there, eventually), but I know good hockey when I see it, and no matter your criticisms of your Wings, they almost always played Good Hockey this year.

    TPL, your blog is like no other.  I have other favorite teams, but none of them publish a blog as detailed, committed, informative, and entertaining as yours.  I know your team only insofar as you funnel me the details–your knowledge and willingness to share are what compelled me to follow your team, and eventually to adore it.  It was a pleasure meeting you, and thank you for welcoming a fan of your enemy(ies).  Your professionalism–in person and in your podcasts–is remarkable.

    I hate that your season is ended already.  This blows big hairy goat balls.  But I dry my tears on the assumption that you’re busy planning H2H3 already.

    Signed, like, your third biggest fan.

    p.s. Do I get extra points for using insofar in a sentence?

    1. i, for one, most certainly give you points for using insofar in a sentence. i’ll see YOU for conference finals! go vancouver go!

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  6. Crater from SoCal

     It was indeed a great season. There were highs and lows, unfortunately it ended on a low. I must confess I do feel that great unknowing feeling about what the outcome would have been had Babcock not fiddled with the lines from the dominant Game 6 play. But alas we’ll never know.. and I’m not calling for a head on a stick. 

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