It's a bit of a watered down term in sports nowadays: "Dynasty." Guys like John Wooden and Bill Russell probably laugh when they hear the Patriots being declared a dynasty after three Super Bowls in four years. They shake their heads with amusement when the Spurs are crowned a dynasty after four championships in nine years. Hell, the term dynasty gets thrown around in regards to USC football, and they only have one crystal football in their possession, and only have claim to one other title. Yeah, seven straight 11+ win seasons. Seven straight Pac-10 championships. Six BCS bowl victories.
Wooden and Russell think all of that is chump change. Bill Russell says 11 NBA championships in 13 years is a dynasty. John Wooden says 10 NCAA championships in 12 years is a dynasty.
Of course, that was a different era. Those kind of standards will never be met ever again, and it's unrealistic to expect them to be. So debates rage on. It's pretty much a consensus that the Patriots were a dynasty. Winning back to back Super Bowls, let alone three in four years, in a salary cap league is astonishing. There's a bit more debate with the Spurs, as they never won back to back titles, which seems to be one of the cornerstone prerequisites for "dynasty" status nowadays.
So now we come to the Detroit Red Wings. Since 1995:
- 6 50-win seasons
- 11 100-point seasons
- 6 Presidents Trophies
- 8 final fours
- 6 conference championships
- 4 Stanley Cups
Closing time draws near. Whether it be tonight or Friday night back in Detroit. It was Rudy Tomjanovich who coined the phrase, "Don't ever underestimate the heart of a champion." When did he say that? In the aftermath of the Houston Rockets winning their second straight NBA championship. Saturday night, we saw the heart of a champion. We watched the Red Wings get beaten around in Games 3 and especially 4 in Pittsburgh. We all watched what we believed to be a fatigued, laboring team that had hit a wall. We watched the media start to size up the Penguins' fingers for Stanley Cup rings. And we watched them laugh in everyone's faces Saturday night, a 5-0 wipeout that showed us all what the Wings are made of. They're made of grit, and passion, and determination, and will. And heart.
Tonight or Friday, the bell will toll, destiny will call, and a dynasty will be crowned. Because this team isn't going to accept anything else.