Around the Rink – “Why not us?” Edition

“Why not us?”

As rough as the ending to Game 3 might have been, Jimmy Howard said it best.

“Other teams have done it before, not only in hockey but in other sports,” Howard said. “Like I was telling everyone else, we’ve got to have the mentality of ‘why not us?”

Teams have come back from a 3-0 deficit before. Heck, it almost happened a week ago to the top seed in the Western Conference, against a team that backed into the playoffs on the final day of the regular season.

It isn’t easy, but it isn’t impossible either. It just takes the right idiot. Someone too ignorant to read the papers, watch TV, or listen to what the talking heads are saying.

“Why not us?”

Then a sophomore at Boston College, Patrick Eaves was at Fenway Park for Game 3 of the 2004 American League Championship Series, a game that saw the New York Yankees take a commanding 3-0 series lead over the Boston Red Sox with a 19-8 thrashing of the home team.

He’s been there. He knows what our fans are going through right now.

“Even in the crowd it was like, ‘oh, what is going on here’, but they were able to capitalize on the opportunity to create something great,” Eaves said. “They went on to win the series and do something special for their fans.”

Jimmy Howard was still a student at the University of Maine, a Red Sox fan simply to irk off his good friends, most of whom were die-hard Yankee fans. The ‘why not us?’ mantra was the same used by Curt Schilling in that series and throughout their postseason run.

Can the Wings take a chapter from that playbook?

“You just got to go out there and do your thing,” Howard said. “Just play. It’s the beauty of sports because anything really can happen.

On the night of Game 4 of that 2004 ALCS, a little used infielder named Kevin Millar gave his team a motivational spark with his attitude, not just his play. He was the loose, if not uber-loose, leader of a merry brand of self-dubbed ‘idiots’. And between Millar, Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz, you couldn’t tell if the Red Sox were down 3-0, or up 3-0. They were almost too dumb to know any better, or as one writer asked Mike Babcock during his press conference this afternoon, they had the right case of ‘selective amnesia.’

“If there is a group of idiots that can do it, it’s us,” Millar told a Boston writer before Game 4.

He went on …

“Don’t let us win Game 4, because in Game 5 they get Pedy (Pedro Martinez), Game 6 is (Curt) Schilling and in Game 7, anything can happen.”

Now that statement is the stuff of legend, like when Joe Namath guaranteed a Super Bowl, or when Mark Messier said his team would win Game 6 at the Meadowlands back in 1994.

As for the fans in Boston, most had thrown in the towel. In all my years of attending games at Fenway Park, there was no cheaper ticket than Game 4 of the 2004 American League Championship Series. Upon buying a $125 ticket on the street for $20, I called my friend at Northeastern and implored him to join me.

“I don’t want to see my team get swept,” he said.

I’ve never let him forget it.

Why shouldn’t the Red Wings believe they can win four games in a row? Any athlete should have that mentality coming to the rink. After all, the Wings swept the Phoenix Coyotes out of the playoffs less than a month ago.

It has been done before. It will be done again. Whether that is the 2010 Philadelphia Flyers, who came back from 3-0 against the Boston Bruins, or the 2004 Boston Red Sox.

“Just being around the atmosphere from going to school there, you see some of the lessons from that team and try and play off of it,” Howard said.

That starts with a loose team and one win. If wishful thinking prevails and we’re playing a Game 6 at Joe Louis Arena, things will really get crazy.

“You take it one game at a time,” Eaves said. “Win the next one and we’ll go from there.”

Just don’t let the Wings win on Friday.

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About Jake Duhaime

Social Networking Manager for the Detroit Red Wings
This entry was posted in Around the Rink, Detroit Red Wings, Fan Lifestyles, Hockey, Mike Babcock, NHL, Red Wings. Bookmark the permalink.

19 Responses to Around the Rink – “Why not us?” Edition

  1. Mary Ann Derbin says:

    Why not believe. One turn of the puck & it’s a whole new series. Go Wings!!!!!!

  2. Mike says:

    That’s what I want to hear you can do it. Go wings

  3. megan says:

    just take it one step at a time! things happen and very quickly the wings coul have the puck in the back of san jose net. just watch the game unfold and u never no u could be in for a big surprise!! 🙂 LETS GO WINGS 🙂

  4. Sharon says:

    I know we can do it!!! We’ve done it before, RED WINGS RULE !!!!!! Just believe and know that we are behind you 100%…GO WINGS !!!!!

  5. Alan Jenkins says:

    I’ll tell you “why not us”. Because the Sharks are the better team. And the Wings have a few players who need to go…such as Jonathan Ericsson, who wouldn’t make a college team.

  6. Hey Jimmy . Tell your defense to stop putting their sticks in the way. I’ve seen 2 OT goals by Sharks re-directed off Wings sticks. If you can’t get the body in the way stop putting your sticks in the way. Isn’t that what Holmstrom makes a living doing. Why do it to your own goaltender. If you can’t block with the body move so he can see the shot and just clear the damn rebound if there is one but god forsakes STOP putting the sticks in the way.

  7. Justin says:

    Mike Babcock is a jackass and they deserve to lose tonight for what they’ve done to Modano.

  8. Can't watch it - wish we could. says:

    Are we the only ones feeling left out in the cold? Why aren’t tonight’s and Sundays games on Fox? Versus is a premium channel we can’t get or afford. We wish the Wings well but at this point who cares?

  9. Steve Mannino says:

    I saw a lot of quotes from guys in the dressing room the last couple days saying there’s still a lot of fight left in them and I’m really liking the “why not us” mentality.

    As for the no line-up changes, I don’t think its a huge deal, there have been times in the last couple games where we’ve had constant pressure in the Sharks zone. It all comes down to finishing and beating Niemi. Gotta give it to the guy, hes getting a piece of everything out there, just look at Datsyuk’s goal in game 3. Niemi got his body in front of the puck but luckily it went in.

    Huge game tonight to say the least, just need to take it one at a time and see how this one plays out.
    http://detroitsportsdonks.com

  10. Dan Rozén says:

    Lidstrom leading the way tonight!

  11. JON CONN says:

    Support the wings with this song by Baby G, A Detroit Native, and huge wings fan!

  12. Justin says:

    Nice win… I really enjoyed Abdelkader’s timely penalty late in the game… again… am I the only one here that actually watches the games? The Wings are the best team in the league, and they need to start playing like it. They seem to have lost their passion to win. Hopefully Modano is in for Franzen in game 6… and hopefully Abdelkader finally becomes a healthy scratch for anyone…

    • Peter says:

      The disadvantage to being consistently the best team in the league is that you can’t depend on drafting outstanding talent, and you have to rely on training and mentorship. Yeah he takes bad penalties but he’s a big guy and he’s learning. He’s gotten better every year.

      • Justin says:

        You’re exactly right about the draft, except for the fact that it doesn’t matter where Detroit drafts, they usually seem to find at least one diamond in the rough year after year. Detroit made their decision on Abdelkader when they opted not to resign Ville Leino. Yeah, that worked out well… 😦 Teams would kill to have a guy like Leino on their team, especially in the playoffs. Abdelkader is garbage, and just because the Wings drafted him, doesn’t mean he’s any good. As for your second point, isn’t that why they signed Mike Modano? One of the greatest players/mentors in NHL history is sitting on his ass in the press box because Mike Babcock has lost control of this team. Listen to the way he talks about Franzen, “he’ll play next game if he tells me he can go.” That sounds more like someone on the outside rather than a coach. YOU tell him if HE plays or not, this isn’t some country club, this is the Detroit Red Wings, and this team isn’t going to win with Abdelkader in the line-up. End of story.

        • Peter says:

          Ok, first of all that’s comparing apples to oranges. Leino is a play-maker and the last thing the Wings need is another playoff scorer. They need a physical presence more than anything. The biggest problem the Sharks have posed is that they’re a big, physical team.
          Secondly, Leino was great last year and this year? Not so much…
          I’ll take another Abdelkater or a Bertuzzi any day.

          • Justin says:

            I’m sorry, what wins games? Putting the puck in the net, or hitting someone behind it? The Wings absolutely need more scoring. Last time I checked they lost every game in this series by 1 goal. Yah the Sharks are a big physical team, but if we do end up winning this series, you can’t argue that it was because of Abdelkader’s stellar play. All he does is take dumb penalties. Secondly, Leino was great last year and looks like he was pretty good this year. Let’s compare apples to apples here. In 11 playoff games this year, Leino had 3 goals, 2 assists, and no penalties. In 9 games for the Wings, Abdelkader has no goals, no assists, and 20 penalty minutes. They’re both 6’1″ and are only separated by 20 pounds. I’ll take Leino over Abdelkader every time.

            • Justin says:

              All criticism aside, I think Modano looked fantastic out there. You could tell he had some rust to shake off, but he shot the puck well, delivered some good solid checks, and even showed some old magic dangling accross the Sharks blue-line late in the game. Class act all the way. Well played Sir… well played.

              • Peter says:

                Here’s hoping he gets to play game 7. It’d be a shame for him to sit out on what might be the last game of his career, and he didn’t look out of place. He’ll be in game shape for Thursday.

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