Then you have the Detroit Red Wings, long the benchmark of NHL excellence with 20 straight playoff appearances. Their season-opening game is as under the radar as I can remember. While my memory isn't great, this is more about the Wings impressing to the point of being taken for granted -- right now, even in home in Hockeytown!
Detroit's attention is elsewhere these days. The Tigers prevailed over the New York Yankees to go on to the American League Championship Series and the once downtrodden Lions are 5-0 for the first time since 1956. Throw in the University of Michigan at 6-0 as it heads for a game against its in-state rival, the Michigan State Spartans, and sports fans in the area have more to cheer about than any others in the country right now.
Sure, the locals showed up at Joe Louis Arena for Friday's perfunctory home opening win over the over-matched Senators. But with everything else going on in the city, please excuse even the diehards if they didn't notice what the Red Wings accomplished next. For that matter, give everyone a pass for failing to measure how impressive the Wings' 3-0 road win the next night in Denver truly was.
Why? Because the Wings have been doing it for so long. We forget that this eastern time zone-based team didn't just win on the road, in a back-to-back situation, it endured the travel, a two-hour time zone recalibration and the energy-sapping thin air of Colorado to prevail over the Avalanche in their home opener.