I get it.
Watching the NHL bend over backwards to promote Trevor Zegras is frustrating.
It’s even more frustrating when you realize that the Red Wings’ rookies lead in just about every statistical category. Zegras sets up one cool goal and scores one and hockey media trips over itself to fawn over him. They’ve even gone as far as changing the All Star Game rules so that Zegras can participate in the skills competition!
I’m gonna let you in on a little secret:
The constant coverage isn’t going to stop until Zegras stops scoring cool goals.
No matter how good Lucas Raymond and Moritz Seider play, they won’t receive the coverage that Zegras has. Flashy goals and highlight reel-worthy plays are much easier to market than a good transition in a defensive zone. You have every right to be upset about this unbalanced coverage, but, unfortunately, there’s no sign of it changing anytime soon. The NHL is ultimately trying to make money, and the best way for them to do that is to promote young, flashy faces.
That’s why I implore you now: just take the high road.
Ducks fans are excited about their rookie. We can relate — after all, we’ve got not one, not two, but three rookies full of promise. Seider is playing major minutes while quite literally carrying his defensive partner. Raymond is producing points at an astonishing rate. Alex Nedeljkovic leads in every rookie goaltender category. Why worry about what someone else is doing?
If the Calder is what concerns you, I have some bad news: a Detroit rookie hasn’t won the Calder since 1965.
The last 5 times a Red Wings rookie was up for the calder…
09-10: Jimmy Howard lost to Tyler Myers
02-03: Henrik Zetterberg lost to Barret Jackman
91-92: Nick Lidstrom lost to Pavel Bure
90-91: Sergei Fedorov lost to Ed Belfour
83-84: Steve Yzerman lost to Tom Barrasso
— Ryan (@RC_Tendy) January 24, 2022
Yes, you read that correctly: they gave the Rookie of the Year nominee to Barrett Jackman over Henrik Zetterberg. Zetterberg led all rookies in scoring. Jackman wasn’t anywhere near that record!
Having Raymond or Seider win the Calder would be huge. It’d be a boon for the league and a boon for the Red Wings to have a Rookie of the Year on their roster. But, ultimately, those awards aren’t what win Stanley Cups. Losing the award to a guy who scores flashy goals isn’t the end of the world. It’s frustrating, sure, but it’s not to say that one player will have a better career than the other. Jackman may have won the Calder, but Zetterberg won the Cup. It’s a marathon, not a 5K.
Consider the following
We’re only 45 games into the season. There’s no telling what may happen between now and the season closer. This is the part of the season where the good players truly show off their greatness. It might seem like the media and the hockey world is hyping up Zegras (and, trust me, they are), but that’s because he’s got easily-digestible highlights anyone can access.
If you’re still hoping that one of Detroit’s rookies wins the Calder, consider that there’s about half a season of hockey left. There’s plenty of time for Raymond to go on a gigantic points streak, or Seider to Kronwall someone. No matter what an NHL poll might tell you, the results aren’t in yet. Nothing matters until the final votes are tallied.
If we want to call ourselves the best fanbase in the NHL, we need to act like it. That means we can’t engage with Ducks fans that are attempting to take pot shots at Detroit. I realize this will take a lot of work — after all, I’m just as guilty of this as everybody else — but we need to do the right thing here.
They’re excited about their rookie and probably feel a little insecure. After all, the Ducks haven’t had legitimate success in over a decade — and, until Zegras, it looked like things were only going to get worse. It’s understandable why they’re feeling a little cocky right now. But, rather than chirp them back or make them feel bad, let’s let our rookie accomplishments speak for themselves.
After all, the only highlight reel that ultimately matters is the Cup-lifting montage.