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Detroit in decline/The Red Line

July 5, 2012
By Brandon Veale - DMG Sports Editor (bveale@mininggazette.com) , The Daily Mining Gazette

I got home from a short vacation in Wisconsin last night and I was all ready to write a recap of all the happy things that happened.

From Norichika Aoki's excellent squeeze bunt to win Monday's Brewers-Marlins game, to a tour of the New Glarus Brewery, to Fourth of July with the family on Mehl Lake, I had a lot of fun. And now I'm angry. It seems like I've spent the last week or so watching Detroit sports fall apart around me.

As you'll see elsewhere in today's section, defenseman Ryan Suter and forward Zach Parise agreed to sign with the Minnesota Wild.

The Wings aren't exactly hurting up front (we may have to buy bodyguards for Henrik Zetterberg and Pavel Datsyuk), but with the retirement of Nicklas Lidstrom, this team has basically lost two Hall of Fame defensemen in consecutive years and replaced them with nothing.

Matt Carle, who has never made an All-Star team, was considered the best consolation prize on the market ... until he agreed to a six-year deal with Tampa Bay.

The best thing left in the free agent refrigerator is Carlo Colaiacovo, an average pro with injury issues who has only stood out to me when he slid face-first into the glass in front of a camera during a Red Wings-Blues game two years ago for one of my favorite hockey bloopers. It's on YouTube.

From Feb. 20 on, Detroit went 8-15-4, counting a meek exit from the playoffs in five games at the hands of the Nashville Predators.

Face it folks, this is a team getting worse, not better.

In fact, the Wings did acquire Jordin Tootoo, my least favorite player in the league. It's like they're trying to make me mad.

Meanwhile, the Tigers also seem to enjoy dancing on my last nerve, rocketing to the top of the standings like a standard transmission car being driven by a teenager.

Once every two weeks, they have a series like last weekend's against the Rays, then go out and lose two in a row to the Twins. They've turned more corners than the field in the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Can anyone catch the ball? Who gets hurt next?

Thank God most of the rest of the Central is awful, so maybe a decent second half is enough to lurch over the finish line in first. Though, at some point that will require winning three consecutive games.

Speaking of teams well below .500, just when the Pistons appeared to have hit the utmost in irrelevance, they traded for Corey Maggette, who's made a career out of being the best player on 30-52 teams throughout the last decade.

Youth movement? Their first-round draft pick, Andre Drummond, is a center project who makes 29 percent of his free throws. Shaq laughed at that last statistic. Of course, he went to Connecticut (for a year), home of half the Pistons' roster, a program that was banned from the 2013 NCAA Tournament for its poor academics.

Thank God I'm not a Lions fan, or their offseason hijinks might drive me to drinking ... and driving ... and smoking pot, or in the case of Mikel Leshoure, eating it.

Happy summer, Michigan, your sports teams are going to Hades in a handbasket. Good thing I went to Wisconsin this week. Might have to go there as a sports refugee.

Brandon Veale can be reached at bveale@mininggazette.com. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/redveale.

 
 

 

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