This version of Mitch Albom’s Game 6 column for the Detroit Free Press appears in “Stanleytown 25 Years Later: The Inside Story of How the Stanley Cup Returned to the Motor City After 41 Frustrating Seasons.”...
from Mitch Albom of the Detroit Free Press,
The game was in the final minute, the Colorado goalie was pulled, and finally … finally … there really was nothing standing between the team and the dream. Brendan Shanahan raced to a loose puck, took good aim and put that baby in the open basket, unleashing a flood of noise that could be heard all the way to the Rocky Mountains.
Guess who’s coming for Stanley — again? From a warm summer Saturday, two years ago, deep in the swamps of New Jersey, the Red Wings had been waiting to get back to this night. Waiting for a chance to redeem their squandered potential, to correct the road they mistakenly turned off when last they journeyed to the Stanley Cup Finals.
“This team has so much character,” said a sweaty but happy Mike Vernon, the goaltending hero of the series, after the Wings dethroned defending champion Colorado with a 3-1 victory that sealed the Western Conference finals, four games to two. “Now we’re going for the big one.”
Well. One big one at a time. This night was already a Game 7 disguised as a Game 6. The Wings dared not blink. They did not blink. They dared not tire. They never tired. They dared not lose. And so they did not lose.