As some of the hardcore (and/or stalkers) around here know, I grew up a Bears' fan. Yes, it seems that I have a thing for teams that have a hard time winning the big games. But a great moment in recent Chicago Bears' history was the signing of Lovie Smith as the head coach. I thought he'd be a great fit due to his defense-first mentality and the defense-first roster of the Bears.
But I knew it was a good move when he said in his very first press conference that he had three goals:
1. Beat the Packers.
2. Win the Division.
3. Win a Super Bowl.
Wow. Is that the best, most succinct mission statement ever? Now the Blues' owner has been saying a lot of great things, too. I like his initial plan (build through the system, sign key players at appropriate times). I like the types of players he's talking about needing (a mix of vets, heart-and-soul guys, young talent). I like that he won't commit to keeping the present management in place (pack your trash, boys).
But I would love it if someone from the organization would come out and steal a quote from Lovie. The owner, the new GM, new coach, whoever. I'd just love to have a guy who is in a position to influence these things come out and say:
"We won't consider a season a success unless we win the season series against Detroit. After that, we want to win the Central Division every year. Lastly, we expect to bring a Stanley Cup to St. Louis within five years."
I'm flexible on the last two parts, but I'd love to see someone come out and just admit what we all know is true: this team has a complex about the freakin' Red Wings, and until the franchise gets over that, they can't even begin to think about other goals. Even when the Blues won the President's Trophy for best record in the whole league. That year, even the most optimistic of blue-bleeders we're saying (or thinking) "please let someone else knock off Detroit".
That kind of defeatist thinking cuts to the heart of the Blues' failure to win a Cup despite being in the playoffs for 25 straight years. Until the Blues exercise the demon of Detroit, they don't stand a chance of winning anything significant. If they have a great year, but still lose the season series to Detroit, the seed of doubt is in their heads.
Do like Lovie. Say it, then do it. Build a team to specifically beat the Red Wings. Get players who have no respect for that stupid flying wheel. Give them no quarter and expect none in return. Defend our building at all costs. Take a piss on Joe Louis Arena. Beat those guys definitively and the rest will follow. Division championships are available for those who can beat Detroit head-to-head. The confidence that comes from that bolsters a team in the playoffs.
Get someone to say it. We hate Detroit and we know that the most important thing is to beat them.
Bears fans have a saying that if the team went 2-14, but beat Green Bay twice, that's a winning season.
Can we just admit that beating Detroit has become more important than anything else? If the Blues went 8-74, but swept the Wings, I think I could get through the summer just coming up with witty comebacks for the next time I see a bunch of Yzerman-wearing bandwagoners streaming into our rink.