There is a popular misconception that the Red Wings are the oldest team in the NHL. In fact, they are not: the New Jersey Devils edge them with an average age of 31.3 years to Detroit's 30.7. But it's understandable why it's such a commonly-held notion. Certainly, no team that has 47-year-old
And that's not even mentioning center
"Pavel's a Hart Trophy candidate," Detroit head coach
The ability to foster and develop talent at the lower levels has long been a trademark of the Red Wings organization. Abdelkader, Ericsson and Helm all started the season in Grand Rapids with Detroit's AHL affiliate, and when they were called upon this postseason, they've slipped in seamlessly, chipping in 13 points.
"You've had a management team here in place... since the early 90s. So we have one philosophy and we haven't changed our philosophy," GM
Third-year center Filppula, another 25-and-under player, scored the winner on a sweet backhander off a bouncing puck from a bad angle on Sunday, another piece of evidence to prove that the face of the Red Wings is starting to get younger.
The youth movement is even paying off in more ways than just on the score sheet. Ericsson, who had an appendectomy performed last week, recovered quickly enough to play four days after the procedure, and back-to-back games don't faze the weekend warriors of the AHL.
"For me, it wasn't difficult because I've been doing it all year in Grand Rapids," said Abdelkader, who scored at almost the exact same time he scored in Game 1. "Sometimes [we played] three in three. We're used to that down in the AHL."
That's normal for them, as is playing a bigger part with every passing game.
"Their younger players are a product of being around their older players," Penguins winger
With 11 Stanley Cup Championships, and four in the last 12 years, you can bet they're turning into winners.