In all the four major sports, no team has had a longer streak of consecutive playoff appearances than the Detroit Red Wings.
The last 25 years, Red Wings fans have enjoyed playoff hockey in the spring, but that could be coming to an end.
Entering this past weekend, the Wings found themselves at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, with a pair of extremely difficult games ahead of them. They hosted the Washington Capitals at Joe Louis Arena, then hopped on a plane to take on the Pittsburgh Penguins in a nationally televised game on Sunday afternoon.
Despite being in last place, the Red Wings surprised many by winning both games, and because of the parity that exists in the NHL, they are now seven points out of the last playoff spot with 23 games to play.
Michigan Radio's sports commentator John U. Bacon joined Stateside to talk about the Red Wings and their chances of keeping their playoff streak alive. Unfortunately, according to Bacon, it's not looking good.
"Twenty-five years is a hell of a run," said Bacon. "It is the NHL record, so hats off to the Red Wings, but it's almost certain to end this year, says me. If it doesn't, I'll eat crow on your show, very happily."
According to Bacon, the timing of the Red Wings' struggles couldn't be worse. They are moving into the brand-new Little Caesars Arena next year, and whenever a franchise owner opens a new arena, they'd prefer to have an exciting team on the ice.
One saving grace for a bad season is the NHL Draft. If you finish toward the bottom of the standings, you get a higher draft pick. According to Bacon, next year's draft class isn't expected to be strong. There are no franchise-changing players like a Sidney Crosby, or last year's No. 1 pick Auston Matthews, who has been a star from the very first game of the season (when he scored four goals) for the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Listen to the full interview above to hear why the Wings have struggled this year, and to hear Bacon's evaluation of second-year head coach Jeff Blashill.
HIGHLIGHTS: Red Wings 5, Penguins 2