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Shoe now on other foot for Wings

by Paul Kukla
I've been sick for the last nine days or so, but not sick enough to stop watching and following our great game.

When I feel a cold or flu coming on, I attempt to halt they symptoms by increasing my vitamin C intake and also use some home-brewed remedies that at times, put me in a state of "Where the heck am I?"

I'd like to blame that semi-hallucinogenic state when talking about this year's Detroit Red Wings, but I can't. I have to face the facts head-on and address them with a straight-on view.

These are not the Detroit Red Wings of the recent past. These are not the Red Wings who could win a game on talent alone. These are not the Wings who, on an off night, could still pull out a victory.

Nope, this year's version of the Wings is far different than what I have witnessed for the past 18 years. Every game is a challenge and those challenges will continue throughout the season.

I now know how the vast majority of hockey fans feel.

Not knowing how your team will perform on any given night is nerve-wracking and, at times, just plain depressing. As a fan of the Wings, I expected a win every single night they took the ice. Now, all I am looking forward to is a complete game played by every player, which will give them a slight edge and hopefully one more 'W' in the left column.

Yes, I am counting wins, counting points, looking at the teams the Wings may be competing against for a playoff position. I now feel like a fan of any other team, squirming as I watch my team play, knowing every point counts and calculating a number that will assure it a playoff position.

I have to admit, it is tough, but I have been there before.

I've been a Wings fan for almost 50 years and I have seen it all. I've witnessed the highest highs and the lowest lows and I look at this year as a growing experience. Sometimes it is good for the body and mind to go through what us Detroit fans will be facing this season.

Some of you may be laughing at me right about now; some may be muttering phrases like "It is about time, the Wings have been on a high horse for a long time, good to see them get knocked down a peg or two." Others may be jumping for joy, knowing the Wings are on a down slope -- at least for this season.

I understand all of those feelings, but it is still hard for me to take. You see, when you have been to a place where not many have been and you enjoy it, you want to stay there for as long as possible and don't want anyone else to discover it.

But, maybe, it is time to let others in, to allow them to experience what Wings fans have in the past two decades.

But be forewarned, it is not all good. Your expectations will make the losses even more unbearable, your high hopes may turn into depressing days, sleepless nights and long summers. I know, I've been there and maybe others should be, too.

Oh wait, the homebrew medical concoction is wearing off but I don't have enough space to write what I really feel.

Maybe next time...

To those of you who will be celebrating Thanksgiving on Thursday, enjoy the day and stay safe.

Have a comment, complaint or just want to talk hockey, feel free to email me at or follow me on Twitter.

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