Detroit Red Wings
Clear Bag Policy Follow @DetroitRedWings on Twitter! Follow the Red Wings on Facebook! Follow @DetroitRedWings on Instagram! Follow OfficialDRW on Snapchat! Get Red Wings Email Updates Get Red Wings Text Updates Get the Detroit Red Wings Official Mobile App
 

 
  • PRINT
  • RSS

Not taken lightly, playoffs are expected

Wings appreciate team-record 21 straight playoff appearances

Tuesday, 03.27.2012 / 3:45 PM ET / News
By Bill Roose  - Managing Editor | DetroitRedWings.com
X
Share with your Friends


Not taken lightly, playoffs are expected
Red Wings fans have grown used to see their favorite team in the playoffs for more than two decades. (Photo by Getty Images)
DETROIT – The return of robins in the front yard, daffodils and tulips in bloom, and longer sun-drenched days with a slight hint of a chill in the air are all signs that spring has arrived in Michigan.

So too is the return of the Stanley Cup playoffs, especially for college-aged fans, who have grown accustom to the Red Wings competing in the postseason each year of their 20-something lives.

Think about it for a moment …

While the Wings prep for the start of their 21st straight run at the Stanley Cup next month, there are 23 other NHL teams that haven’t qualified for 21 straight playoff berths – combined.

Often taken for granted around these parts, even referred to as “The Second Season”, the consistency of reaching the playoffs is serious business for the players in the Wings’ locker room.

“It’s expected from fans, players, everybody. But it’s a good thing to expect,” forward Danny Cleary said.

For Cleary, like six of his current teammates, he knows the negativity of not playing in the postseason. The Wings’ forward played three NHL seasons before he played in his first playoff series with the Edmonton Oilers in 2000. That season the Oilers were swept by Dallas in a first-round series.

The pain of not playing for the league championship is indescribable, Cleary said. The pursuit of the Cup is the only driving factor for many guys and the primary reason that they work as hard as they do all year-long.

During the current streak, the Wings have reached the Cup finals six times and won four of them. The Wings are the sixth team to qualify for 21 straight NHL postseasons, equaling the Montreal Canadiens, who went to 21 consecutive playoffs between 1949-69.

So when players don’t make the playoffs, or worse yet, make a habit of it, the feeling is torturous.
 
“If anybody tells you that they’re happy with going home and not be in the playoffs, then that’s crazy,” Cleary said. “For me it happened when I was a young player and I don’t know if it hits you as much as you get older when you’ve been through it. But I think everybody dreams of being in the playoffs growing up because all of your vivid memories are of playoff hockey.”

In a franchise that has been so dominant over the decades, it’s truly amazing that defenseman Nicklas Lidstrom is the only Wings’ player to play in every playoff series in one of the club’s two 20-season runs. The Wings also strung together 20 straight postseason appearance from 1939-58.

“I've always made it so I don't know how it feels not to make it,” Lidstrom said. “I'm very happy and fortunate to have experienced it every year in my career. I'm sure it's disappointing not playing in the postseason. It's a relief to make it, but it's always something we come to expect here as an organization. We've done it for 21 straight years. The bar is set high here. And we expect a lot out of ourselves.

“The first goal and stepping stone is making the playoffs. The Stanley Cup is the ultimate goal, but to get there you have to make the playoffs and that's our first goal. After the regular-season is done you want to make the playoffs.”

Besides Cleary, other Wings to miss the playoffs with other franchises through their careers include forward Todd Bertuzzi, goalies Ty Conklin and Joey MacDonald, and defensemen Brad Stuart and Ian White.

White’s lone playoff experience finally occurred last season as a member of the San Jose Sharks, who bounced the Wings out of the Western Conference semifinals in seven games.

Bertuzzi endured five NHL seasons with the New York Islanders and Vancouver before he got a taste of the playoffs with the Canucks in 2001.

Stuart has missed two playoff seasons, once in San Jose, when he missed the second half of the season with a concussion, and in Boston when the Bruins finished 18-points out of the Eastern Conference race in 2006.

“When you’re not in it for the last month or so and just kind of playing out the year, that’s tough, but you still have to play,” Stuart said. “You’re playing for your pride and you never know who’s watching so you always want to go out there and always give it your best effort, but it is tough. It’s definitely not a good feeling.”

It’s quite the contrary for the Wings, especially guys who have spent their entire careers in Detroit and won four Stanley Cup titles, like Lidstrom and forward Tomas Holmstrom.

“I hope I never have to know that feeling,” Holmstrom said. “We have pretty high standards here. First it's the playoffs then win the Stanley Cup. There's nothing else.”

Follow Bill Roose on Twitter | @RooseBill

 

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

EASTERN CONFERENCE
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 WSH 50 37 9 4 163 112 78
2 FLA 51 31 15 5 141 112 67
3 NYR 52 29 18 5 148 134 63
4 TBL 51 29 18 4 137 118 62
5 BOS 51 27 18 6 149 136 60
6 DET 52 26 18 8 130 131 60
7 NJD 53 26 20 7 119 120 59
8 NYI 50 26 18 6 135 126 58
9 PIT 50 25 18 7 129 128 57
10 CAR 53 24 21 8 129 141 56
11 PHI 50 23 18 9 119 130 55
12 MTL 53 25 24 4 142 142 54
13 OTT 52 23 23 6 142 164 52
14 TOR 50 19 22 9 116 134 47
15 BUF 52 21 26 5 119 137 47
16 CBJ 54 21 28 5 135 168 47

STATS

2015-2016 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
D. Larkin 51 18 19 25 37
H. Zetterberg 52 9 25 2 34
T. Tatar 51 15 17 -2 32
G. Nyquist 52 14 15 -2 29
J. Abdelkader 52 14 12 -4 26
P. Datsyuk 37 6 20 11 26
M. Green 46 4 17 -7 21
N. Kronwall 45 3 14 -10 17
B. Richards 38 5 10 6 15
D. DeKeyser 48 6 8 12 14
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
P. Mrazek 19 10 4 .932 2.03
J. Howard 7 8 4 .904 2.89