Wednesday, March 25, 2009

If the Detroit Red Wings were an NBA team, they would be ...

The Detroit Red Wings are the NHL's version of the LA Lakers.


1. American institutions

When you think of the top teams in their respective sports, the Red Wings and Lakers are among the five team a casual sports fan would blurt out. The New York Knicks and New York Rangers might compare to these teams in terms of value, but neither of those Big Apple franchises can match the dominance of these two storied American sports franchises.

2. Multiple eras of dominance

Although the Red Wings had the "Dead Things" Era, Detroit dominated multiple generations of hockey. From the days of Gordie Howe to the Steve Yzerman age to the current Zetterberg-Datsyuk dynasty, Detroit justifies the stupid "We Don't Rebuild, We Re-Load" slogan on the back of my eight grade football team T-shirt. (Wildcats for life motherfugees)

The LA Lakers might not have as many championships as the Boston Celtics, but even with Kevin Garnett's greatness, the Lakers has been more successful in recent years. The Lakers have arguably an even more dominant lineage than the Red Wings as Jerry West, Elgin Baylor and Wilt Chamberlain passed the torch to Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul Jabbar who then made way for the Shaq-Kobe three-peat and now the "Europeans plus Kobe" gang.

3. Dominant Coaches

The Lakers had Pat "My hair is a daily Valdez spill" Reilly and now employ the league's hippie-tastic answer to Red Auerbach, Phil Jackson. Detroit employed Scotty Bowman, almost undoubtedly the greatest coach in hockey history, as well as Mike Babcock (the coach of the decade, according to certain geniuses).

4. Shrewd, heart breaking and borderline unfair moves
The list of amazing players the Detroit Red Wings found in the lower depths of the NHL draft is a thing of mind blowing genius. Just take a look at some examples of their Tom Brady-like bargains: Pavel Datsyuk - 6th round; Henrik Zetterberg - 7th round; Tomas Holmstrom - 10th round; Nicklas Lidstrom - third round; Sergei Fedorov - fourth round.

While the Red Wings made the rest of the league look stupid with brilliant drafting, the Lakers made their biggest moves mostly through trades. Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul Jabbar came over to the Lakers in lopsided Gretzky-like deals. Kobe was drafted with a pick the Lakers acquired in a trade; Shaq came to LA after starting his career with the Orlando Magic. The deal to bring Pau Gasol to LA was so lopsided that some NBA figures hinted at foul play.

The Lakers and Red Wings are proof that the rich get richer.

5. Infrequent, yet sometimes extreme tragedy
That's not to say these teams never fell on hard times. Magic Johnson became HIV-positive. Steve Yzerman was forced to retire after a grizzly eye injury. Few hockey fans could forget the awful limo accident that nearly took the life of Vladimir Konstantinov.

6. A bunch of championships
The Red Wings have the third most Stanley Cup championships (behind Montreal and Toronto) with 11 while the Lakes have the second most NBA titles with 14 (behind Boston's 17).

But just to play the devil's advocate:

  • The Red Wings lack a polarizing star like Kobe, despite what some Penguins fans will tell you about Marian Hossa.
  • Los Angeles is a West Coast, sun-baked city full of fake breasts and false hopes; Detroit is full of blue-collar workers living in fear for their jobs.
  • The Lakers were awesome in the Eighties while the Red Wings were the Dead Things.
  • To our knowledge, a coked-out Jack Nicholson never showed up to Red Wings games.


Stevens8204 said...

I love #4....I am almost curious to see what NBA franchise the Devils are compared to.

Vance said...

I'd have to compare the Devils to the Spurs.

They've always had a dominant linchpin anchoring the team (Brodeur, David Robinson, Tim Duncan)while consistently being a contender year in and year out, sprinkle in a few championships and coaches that do it their own way, and boom. Game over.

jamestobrien said...

Hey, Vance. STFU. :)

Vance said...

I was bein' serious! Shit son.

Do we have issues with the Spurs? Does the sight of Tony Parker gallivanting about the Texas countryside with Eva Longoria bother you?

Do we have issues with the Devils? Does the sight of Marty Brodeur closing down Golden Corral when Steak is on the buffet bother you?

No but seriously. Brodeur is fat.

jamestobrien said...

The sight of Tony Parker always bothers me. From banging Eva Langoria to that insanely accurate and agonizing teardrop shot of his ... ugh. Can't stand that guy.

Plus he looks like a frog.