Remembering Mr. Ilitch - Part Two: From Dead Things to the Pride of Hockeytown

Cam Lewis
February 24 2017 09:30AM

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© Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

This is part of a three-part series recognizing and reminiscing on the impact that Mike Ilitch had on both the Detroit Red Wings and the city of Detroit as a whole. 

If you’re a Detroit Red Wings fan, you likely owe many of your best memories to Mike Ilitch. 

Though their dynasty is running on its final legs, the Wings had an unprecedented series of success, qualifying for the playoffs 25 seasons in a row — a streak unmatched in major North American professional sport. 

It’s difficult to remember a time in which the Wings weren’t good. I mean, if you were born in the 1990s or later, it’s impossible. But that wasn’t always the case. For a period of time that matches the length of their dominant years, the Wings were the laughing stock of the NHL. 

Mr. Ilitch’s investment, commitment to winning, and strong leadership turned the Dead Things into the Red Wings that won four Stanley Cups, saw multiple Hall of Fame careers, and captured the imagination of the City of Detroit for an entire generation. 

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Top to Bottom — Trade Deadline Edition: Metropolitan Division

Cam Lewis
February 23 2017 07:00AM

This is a four-part series analyzing where each NHL teams stands heading into the trade deadline based on the context of each division, and the short- and long-term implications of buying or selling with the expansion draft around the corner.  

The Metropolitan Division is stacked. At the time this article was written, four of the top five teams in the NHL standings were all from the Metro. The Pittsburgh Penguins look even better than they did when they won it all last year, and the Washington Capitals are gearing up for one final run with this group of players. The Columbus Blue Jackets have come out of nowhere, and the New York Rangers have enjoyed a renaissance. Even the bad teams in the Metro, the Islanders, Devils, Flyers, and Hurricanes aren't pushovers. So, what do you do in order to make yourself work your way out of this division come playoff time? 

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Top to Bottom — Trade Deadline Edition: Atlantic Division

Cam Lewis
February 21 2017 07:00AM

This is a four-part series analyzing where each NHL teams stands heading into the trade deadline based on the context of each division, and the short- and long-term implications of buying or selling with the expansion draft around the corner. 

The Atlantic Division is complete wide open. Every day, depending on who happens to have a game, the standings shuffle up and down, as only a whopping twelve points separates first from last in the division. The Canadiens have a closing window that their general manager will surely try to capitalize on, while the Red Wings, Sabres, and Lightning, have had disappointing seasons and could sell. In the middle are the Senators, who nobody expected to be playing so well, the Leafs who still have their eyes on the future, the Panthers who are finally playing at a high level, and the Bruins who, uh, who knows! 

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Remembering Mr. Ilitch - Part One: Paying Respect to the man who Treated Detroit like Family

Cam Lewis
February 17 2017 08:00AM

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Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

This is part of a three-part series recognizing and reminiscing on the impact that Mike Ilitch had on both the Detroit Red Wings and the city of Detroit as a whole. 

Mike Ilitch treated Detroit like family.

Over the past week, it’s been made clear that the people of Detroit — those who have been touched by his generosity, his spirit, his creativity, his ability to see and strive for greatness, and both his passion and compassion — echoed that sentiment, as hundreds poured into his public funeral to offer sentiments of gratitude to the man who built Hockeytown.

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Top to Bottom — Trade Deadline Edition: Central Division

Cam Lewis
February 16 2017 07:00AM

This is a four-part series analyzing where each NHL teams stands heading into the trade deadline based on the context of each division, and the short- and long-term implications of buying or selling with the expansion draft around the corner. 

The decline of both the St. Louis Blues and Dallas Stars coupled with the Chicago Blackhawks likely being trigger shy due to multiple years of buying at the deadline has given the Minnesota Wild a perfect opportunity to thrust themselves to the top of the Central Division standings. Their biggest competition has been the underachieving Nashville Predators, who are one piece away from being a legitimate contender. And that piece could be held by the worst team in the division, the Colorado Avalanche. 

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