The Hat Trick is sad to say that the Red Wings official season has ended with a loss to the San Jose Sharks in Game 5. Not surprising but still sad after seeing the Wings make the Stanley Cup Finals the past two years. The Hat Trick is just happy they made the playoffs (which looked shaky last winter) and made it to the second round. They also didn't get swept in four games which is good for the pride of the Hat Trick.
Unlike past years in the early 2000s when the Wings got knocked out when they had a lot more talent on the team, I'm okay with this ending of the season. We knew the salary cap was going to be an issue. The Hat Trick is also clear on another issue: Goalie Jimmy Howard has the talent to be a great goalie in the NHL...however he lacks the same thing that other great playoff goalies lack...experience. He can't get it if he doesn't experience it and sometimes the end result of that isn't what the fans want. The fans also didn't want the collapse of the Wings after the 1995-96 season but the result of that was back-to-back Stanley Cup wins in '97 and '98. The bottom line is that losing this year could be good for Howard, as well as the entire team. You can't win them all and Wings fans are really blessed to have had the run we have had this decade, minus the lockout.
There are always things that can improve, personnel moves that can be made, talent that can be signed. But ultimately you have to be realistic in what you can expect from a squad in a certain year and I think the Wings did well for what was possible. The Hat Trick feels strongly this will be a good learning year for the Wings (and their fans) and puts us in good position for the 2010-11 season.
Thanks again Wings for a great season. Let's Go Red Wings!