It’s been over two years - since October, 2019, that the Blues have visited the Detroit Red Wings. The two were locked in a division rivalry for decades that was only eclipsed by the Blues’ rivalry with the Blackhawks, and while there was an element of little brother/big brother to each of them, those two rivalries formed the core of divisional excitement.
And then the Atlanta Thrashers had to go and muck everything up.
Their relocation to Winnipeg forced a divisional re-alignment, so the Red Wings were headed east. They, along with the Columbus Blue Jackets, were both in the Eastern Time Zone, so it fit, but the Central Division as fans knew it was no more. Over the near decade since the realignment, the traditional hatred waned. Gone were the days of epic goalie fights. Gone were the bench clearers. Gone was “Fuck Detroit.”
Let’s admit it, between the realignment and then the downward sipral of the Red Wings’ future, there’s not much to get worked up about. The Wings welcomed back Steve Yzerman, who left the Tampa Bay Lightning to be the same kind of miracle worker where his career was spent. It looks like it’s working - the Red Wings are 8-9-3, in fourth in the Atlantic Division and ahead of the Boston Bruins.
It’s not a complete 180 from their fortunes the last few seasons, but I think that most Wings fans would be happy with a complete 90.
The Blues have been up and down recently. Their 5-2 win over the Vegas Golden Knights on Monday night was spurred on by two quick first period goals against that were the equivalent of a dunk in a barrel of cold water. The game before, a disinterested 4-1 loss to the Dallas Stars, was a follow up to a statement 4-1 win over the Sharks, which was a follow-up to a disinterested 3-2 loss to the worst team in the NHL. the Arizona Coyotes.
I think you get my drift - the Blues need consistency, in defense, in production, in special teams, and in wins. Monday night against Vegas was great, but it was also against a depleted Golden Knights squad.
Lucas Raymond, Tyler Bertuzzi, and Dylan Larkin - one, two, and three in points - will be who the Blues need to focus on tonight, but maybe spending a little time on former Blue Robby Fabbri wouldn’t be an awful idea. Former Blues do tend to score on their old team.