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Wings’ new NHL mark impressive

February 19, 2012
By CRAIG REMSBURG - Senior Sports Writer ( , The Mining Journal

Opened for play in December 1979, Joe Louis Arena in Detroit is no doubt beginning to show its age.

The Joe is one of the oldest venues in the NHL in a league that likes to be current with the times.

But if I were Detroit Red Wings owner Mike Ilitch, I'd put any plans on replacing JLA on hold, at least for the time being.

The team has won 22 straight games at The Joe, setting an NHL record for consecutive home victories during one season.

The Wings have not lost in Detroit since Nov. 3 when they dropped a 4-1 decision to the Calgary Flames, extending a winless streak to six games overall.

The old mark of 20 straight wins was held by the 1929-30 Boston Bruins - who then began the 1930-31 campaign with two more home ice triumphs - and the 1975-76 Philadelphia Flyers.

Considering the NHL is even older than I am, it's amazing only three teams in the league's history have managed to win 20 consecutive games or more on home ice.

Some have downplayed the Wings' accomplishment, noting shootouts in the NHL now end any tie games at the end of regulation and overtime. What may have been an unbeaten streak has now become a winning streak.

"There's no way to combat that argument," Wings veteran defenseman Brad Stuart said. "But still, it's an incredible accomplishment ...."

The Wings won one game in overtime and three in shootouts during the streak, but obviously, are just playing within the league's rules.

The accomplishment is particularly impressive considering the parity among teams in the NHL. Only Columbus with 40 points heading into the weekend appears out of playoff contention.

Any NHL team can beat any other on any given night. If you don't bring your "A" game, you can easily lose.

A bad bounce, an untimely penalty or a defensive mistake can mean the difference between a win and a loss.

For the Wings to do everything right to win 22 straight home games is impressive. It says a lot about the players, head coach Mike Babcock and his staff, and the entire Red Wings' organization.

It's not the same as winning the Stanley Cup, the Holy Grail of the NHL. Nothing in the league equals that, unless a team happens to win all of its 80 games during the regular season.

That's never going to happen, of course.

But what the Wings did should bring some accolades. Even some of the nation's most critical sports pundits have had only good things to say about the record.

The Wings' goal this season is to - duh - win the Stanley Cup. But until that quest is either met or ended prematurely, the club can take some pride in setting the NHL record.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251. His email address is



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