Unless you bleed Oiler blue, Detroit-Edmonton was not the most entertaining series of the opening round. But if you're a neutral fan who loves an underdog, the final 20 minutes of the final game might have been the most entertaining period of the year - Edmonton's four-goal frenzy slays the all-powerful Red Wings, and the Oilers win their first playoff series in eight years before a feverish hometown crowd.
A Detroit collapse seemed unlikely during the second intermission, when the score was 2-0. But recent playoff history might have predicted it. The Red Wings of this era will go down as an all-or-nothing team, with brilliant regular seasons followed by either a run to the Stanley Cup or an early flameout.
The formula delivered three championships, so not many will feel sorry for grieving Hockeytown loyalists today. (Typical excerpt from Matt at the On The Wings blog: "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH.") But this is the third straight quick exit for a team that routinely earns over 100 points per year. Upsets are no longer an aberration, but a pattern. So who takes the fall? It goes without saying that the goalie is gone. But is this the year the Red Wings finally give up on the Yzerman/Shanahan/Chelios generation, on the assumption that the old guys don't have enough gas left when the real games begin in April and May?
Steve Yzerman will make his own decision, every indication being that he will announce his retirement this summer. The next time we hear from him will likely be when he is elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Simply inviting a player like Yzerman into the Hall seems inadequate somehow. Maybe they should name the place after him.